Changing Sydney


Sydney is known as one of the most populated, developed and multicultural cities in the world. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the average growth rate of population in Sydney has been near 5% over the last 8 years since 2011. In this project, simple spatial 3D visualisation techniques are used to demonstrate how population and employment density of Sydney have been changing over a decade, 2006 to 2016. The goal of the project is to improve our understanding of Sydney, as an evolving living system of people and acitivities, and to provide data-driven insights into urban design and planning.


Sydney's population is estimated to reach 5.73 million in 2019. People move in and out of Sydney frequently, but it seems that the number of newcomers constantly exceeds the number of people who leave, particularly in the metropolitan area. The 3D map below shows the change of population density in each mesh block in Sydney between 2006 (left) and 2016 (right). Mesh block is the smallest geographical area defined by the ABS. Population density has increased dramatically in many of the mesh blocks over the study period. The overall increase in pupulation density in Sydney is about 43.03 p/ The top 5 locations with the highest increase in population density are Parramatta - Rosehill (+7433 p/hectare); Potts Point - Woolloomooloo (+4893 p/hectare); Coogee - Clovelly (+3823 p/hectare); Dee Why - North Curl Curl (+3393 p/hectare) and Neutral Bay - Kirribilli (+3073 p/hectare). The top 5 locations with the largest decline in population density are Winston Hills (-2474 p/hectare); Five Dock - Abbotsford (-2407 p/hectare); Erina - Green Point (-1629 p/hectare); North Sydney - Lavender Bay (-1518 p/hectare) and Pyrmont - Ultimo (-970 p/hectare).


Sydney retains an important role in the Australian economy. This is underpinned by providing a large amount of employment opportunities. The 3D map below compares the change in job density between 2006 (left) and 2016 (right) in Sydney within each destination travel zone (DTZ) collected by ABS. Job density has been generally increasing across Sydney during the study period. However, the job density in the places beyond the city centre is incredibly small. The obvious difference between the city centre and other areas shows the geographical unbalanced employment opportunities in Sydney. The total increase in job density in Sydney is about 540 j/ The top 5 locations with the highest increase in job density are Sydney - Haymarket - The Rocks (+400 j/hectare); North Sydney - Lavender Bay (+256 j/hectare); Pyrmont - Ultimo (+170 j/hectare); Surry Hills (+161 j/hectare) and St Leonards - Naremburn (+106 j/hectare). The top 5 locations with the largest decline in job density are Potts Point - Woolloomooloo (-257 j/hectare); Revesby (-252 j/hectare); Greenacre - Mount Lewis (-212 j/hectare); Centennial Park (-129 j/hectare) and North Ryde - East Ryde (-127 j/hectare).

Developed by CityX Lab at the University of New South Wales by Qisen Zhou and Dr. Meead Saberi.