Miami’s lessons for Brisbane’s global ambition

Miami’s remarkable economic rise provides a blueprint for Brisbane to learn from, according to new research released by the Property Council of Australia.

The landmark report, authored by leading global cities expert Professor Greg Clark, examines the current performance of Australia’s cities, and identifies the key elements needed to increase their global competitiveness.  

Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, says the report has found Brisbane was the most improved Australian city over the last two decades.

“Brisbane has enjoyed a remarkable period of physical and economic growth, rivalled by only a handful of medium-sized cities across the whole OECD,” Mr Mountford said.

“The whole of South East Queensland now sits at the precipice of becoming a true globally significant city.”

Professor Clark’s report identifies Brisbane as within the top 40 best performing cities in the world, across all comparative benchmarks.

“Brisbane has made big strides over the recent period, due to the advancement of high value industries including the city’s higher education offer, tourism, property and innovation sectors,” Professor Clark said.

“Brisbane possesses a quality-of-life appeal that has become its strongest brand asset, the urban lifestyle and amenities give the city a resonance that drives growth.”

“These qualities have helped Brisbane cement its credentials as a city that has the quality and the platform to attract investors, talent and visitors.”

Brisbane’s large central local government has been acknowledged as a key advantage of the city, which is rare in Australia but comparable to international norms.

Improved transport infrastructure, and stronger collaboration between the levels of government and local jurisdictions, have been credited with driving Brisbane’s enhanced competitiveness.
Brisbane’s civic leaders have already set the objective of establishing Brisbane as Australia’s New World City. The Property Council’s research outlines how the city can leverage its strengths to achieve this ambition.

Professor Clark has pointed to the experience of Miami as a pattern for Brisbane to emulate in building an economically diverse, internationally competitive city.

“In Miami business developers, landowners and philanthropic foundations led a long-term citywide programme of diversification from tourism to seven globally traded sectors,” Professor Clark said.

“This private-sector led initiative had the effect of transforming Miami into a trade, investment, and business hub, and an art and culture destination.”

In applying these global lessons to Brisbane’s context, Professor Clark has identified three recommended actions to continue to improve Brisbane’s competitiveness:

  • Securing a bi-partisan South East Queensland ‘City Deal’ between all levels of government to achieve certainty on the growing infrastructure needs of the region.
  • Continued work to improve the business climate for knowledge intensive sectors, including the development of specialised precincts and connectivity with the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. 
  • Enhancing Brisbane’s cultural offering, by creating a vibrant 24-hour urban experience.

“The challenge for our city’s decision makers, both in business and government, will be to learn the lessons from comparable judications, and get Brisbane ahead of the curve,” Mr Mountford said.

“With the right policy settings, there is no reasons why Brisbane can’t continue to to grow into its potential as a great global city.”

The full Creating Great Cities report can be accessed here.