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Finding the centre point of Sydney

During this year’s GovHack our team was interested in visualising open economic data of Sydney. There were several outputs of the project ; and this was the least sophisticated but ended up the most interesting.

If you were to try and pick the centre of Sydney, where would you say it was? Probably first instinct is just to go where it says ‘Sydney’ on Google Maps, right?

Well we found it. This is the centre of Sydney! Recognise it?

2017-09-21 11_59_49-Durham St - Google Maps

No? Ok. What about this?

2017-09-21 11_58_38-PhotoMaps by nearmap

Still no? Well it is important as this is the forecast central location of Sydney’s projected population in 2040.

We calculated the average location of population and employment in Sydney from 2011 – 2040. This was based on the location of people and jobs in the Bureau of Transport Statistics’ forecasts, using a weighted average location based on the centre of travel zones and population/employment within them. This is what we ended up with (an interactive version below). The blue houses represent population, and the green buildings represent employment. The size of the icon denotes year, from 2011 to 2040.

2017-09-21 11_05_33-Economic Centres Map _ CARTO

As you can see, the forecasts show the centre of each moving west at about 50 metres each year, and it is definitely not very close to the ‘City of Sydney’ LGA as an outsider may expect.

In 2040, sprawling Sydney’s population centre will have moved from Halvorsen Park to Rose Hill, and the employment centre from Rhodes to Wentworth Point.

Some interesting further analysis would be in applying the same method to different cities. While it is a simple calculation it is something worth thinking about – particularly when trying to provide equal transport and social services or all.

Interactive map below:

Datasets: Bureau of Transport Statistics, Transport for NSW – Population and Employment Projection

Here’s an example of a different method applied to London:

London’s Real Centre Point


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