City-shaping impacts of COVID-19

COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on Greater Sydney – both through the virus itself and the restrictions put in place to stop its spread.

The Great Sydney Commission (the Commission) has worked with stakeholders across Government to gather and interpret data to investigate the changes and the impacts on Greater Sydney. The Commission also spoke to Greater Sydney’s 33 councils, industry and other stakeholders.

How is Greater Sydney changing?

Analysis has found that COVID-19 is accelerating existing trends. For example, with 47 per cent of Greater Sydney’s employees able to work from home , the uptake of digital technology has accelerated as pressure is reducing on the transport system. More health services are being delivered digitally by telehealth conferences and more consumers are shopping online.

 

 

Download the How is Greater Sydney Changing infographic (PNG 490KB).

Endnotes: 15 - 33

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Mitigating the negatives

The impacts of the pandemic are being felt unequally across the city – geographically and by age group, gender, socio economic status. This section identifies some of the changes caused by the pandemic, which we should monitor. Is the change
temporary or enduring? Does it warrant some further investigation and / or some alternative policy responses to support Greater Sydney’s liveability, productivity and sustainability?

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Optimising the positives

By understanding these impacts, governments can better address emerging issues and capitalise on opportunities. Opportunities centre around:

  • where we work
  • changing travel patterns
  • accelerated use of technology
  • greater use of public, open and shared spaces
  • a resilient and equitable urban structure

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Managing unknowns

This work reflects a point in time, a snapshot of how the early months of the pandemic have informed government, business and community planning for Greater Sydney’s present and future. The complex and far-reaching impacts of the pandemic are still evolving. Any future scenarios will be highly sensitive to the length and severity of the health crisis, the gravity of fiscal and institutional damage, and the extent of government support and leadership.

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What’s next?

This first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of working together across government and with key stakeholders to support rapid, evidence-based decision-making.

The data and observations outlined in this Report, together with further observations as more data becomes available, will influence the refresh of the Greater Sydney Region Plan and other government initiatives to get the best outcomes for the metropolis of three cities.

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Updated - 1 October 2020 (to address minor errors and inconsistencies)