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Browsing posts in: Cities

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


Liveable Sydney @ Carriageworks


Arup recently hosted a panel discussion on whether or not Sydney is one of the world’s most liveable cities – and what we can do about it. The guests and panel were diverse in background – creating lively debate from state, local, youth advocacy, social and private sector interests. A summary of the liveable Sydney panel can be found here.

Alongside the event were these visuals, which were largely fuelled by data related to this previous post on accessibility modelling. For me, it was exciting to see how having statistics so up-front, vibrant and personal enabled positive discussion and conversation both before and after the talks (regardless of how grim some of the figures are!).

Liveable Sydney? from Arup Australasia on Vimeo.


Urban planner. Data hustler. Visualiser. Consultant.


My day-to-day work focuses on developing quantitative approaches to understanding and addressing real-world challenges in the cities context. In particular, this is focused on applying spatial analysis, modelling and visualisation techniques to solving complex problems in transport and urban mobility.

My education in cities has benefited from academic and professional experience spanning Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane), the U.K. (London) and U.S. (San Francisco). This experience can be broadly classified as transport planning, modelling, geographic information systems (GIS), data visualisation and web development.

I’m excited by digital/tech trends and constantly strive to integrate these into creating innovative planning products and practice. In particular, I am fascinated by the opportunities afforded by the ‘big’ data deluge faced by governments and other organisations. Harnessing, deriving insight, and making use of these data sets is (I believe) imperative to the cities task, and a significant enabler for planning a positive future.



Matcha Green Tea





Data Art

3D Printing and Design


Photography – architecture, cities, landscapesSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC


University of Melbourne
2009 – 2012Bachelor of Environments (Hons 1) in Urban Design and PlanningDiploma in Informatics (Hons 1) focusing on databases, information design and visualisationSAM_0669 - CopyDean’s Honours List
Top 3% of results academically in faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

Peter McPhee Student Award
for organising TEDxUniMelb student club and conferences

University College London (UCL)
2013 – 14
The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA)

Master of Research (Distinction) in Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation


Dissertation on ‘big data’ analysis using historic data generated by the MUNI network in San Francisco

University of New South Wales (UNSW)
2017 – Present
City Futures Research Centre

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Smart Cities, Urban Dashboards and Analytics

UNSW Scientia Scholarship
For PhD candidates with potential for producing research with a global impact

ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-4165-1232