Cities and ecosystems

One of the myths of leaders – be they individuals or companies – is that somehow they emerge in spite of their environment.

The truth is most leadership is the result of our environment.

We are all part of the political, social and economic ecosystems. Starting with our families, the ecosystems of our lives shape and fuel our trajectories.

In recent years, academics like Professor Greg Clark (who spoke at our 2016 Property Congress) and Harvard’s Michael Porter have put the case that competitive advantage and the advancement of our cities are increasingly the result of strategy rather than legacy.  

It’s not just cities like global Sydney and Melbourne who can benefit from implementing plans to drive competitive advantage – smaller cities can also build ecosystems that encourage competitiveness as well as liveability.

It’s one of the reasons we are advocates of City Deals – because good ecosystems are mostly the result of long-term thinking and planning about our cities. Townsville’s City Deal is a great case study in how you can get all levels of government and both sides of politics, as well as the wider community, on board with a plan for the long-term.

In this issue, we look at how smaller cities like Newcastle and Wollongong are creating their own ecosystems which attract jobs and investment. The transformation of Newcastle from the forgotten steel city of the 1990s to the diverse education, tourism and professional hub it is today is a truly remarkable story that should encourage other cities facing their own economic challenges.

Cities like Perth are also asking themselves how can they create the ecosystem to help them grow and thrive now that the peak of the mining investment boom has long passed.

From Hobart to Darwin, and from Townsville to Adelaide, our industry is engaged in shaping the ways that our cities function and how they create the advantages to sustain them. This involves research, collaboration and debate. During 2017 we will continue to put the case for building thriving, liveable and competitive cities across Australia.