Vinny Lawrenson-Woods takes a look at Sydney’s Market Economy.
Sitting on the banks of the world famous River Mersey, Liverpool has much in common with Sydney and its celebrated harbour. Historically both regions have been powerhouses of trade and gateways to the world, but their 21st century economies are now dominated by service sector industries, from knowledge-based business services to retail and tourism.
In opposite hemispheres and divided by 10,500 miles, the two destinations welcome ever-increasing numbers of visitors to their iconic waterfronts. In 2019, Sydney’s saw 16.1 million international and domestic visitors travel to the region. In the same year the new Liverpool City Region, which includes Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral, welcomed over 67 million visitors.
"Sydney may be an outward looking international city that welcomes millions of visitors to its beaches and attractions every year, but its identity is undeniably and uniquely local."
Liverpool City Region’s population is around a fifth of Sydney’s (a region covering 4,700 square miles) and their retail industries both employ around 10% of their inhabitants (Liverpool 8.3%, Sydney 10.1%) but despite these figures Sydney’s retail landscape is somewhat different to Liverpool’s.
Sydneysiders may have their share of chains and global brands but they’re not on the monolithic scale of Tesco et al. Sydney’s countless independent coffee shops are the notable antithesis to this type of homogeny and even though Woolworths is still a high-street presence, their stores aren’t on every corner.
Starbucks tried and failed to get a foothold in a city that genuinely supports its local producers and small businesses through its numerous independent markets. Situated under railway bridges, in parks as well as many indoor spaces, and selling everything from organic noodles to local art, markets are an integral part of the Sydney experience and psyche.
Sydney may be an outward looking international city that welcomes millions of visitors to its beaches and attractions every year, but its identity is undeniably and uniquely local.
Vinny Lawrenson-Woods has worked in the tech sector in the US, UK and Australia; he co-founded culturepool in Liverpool in 2006, before moving to Sydney in summer 2013.