Trying to stay local in Sydney's 'global arc': social housing tenant perspectives

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
8th State of Australian Cities National Conference, 2018, pp. 1 - 11
Issue Date:
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To become a ‘global city’ is nowadays an almost-ubiquitous aspiration among the world’s major metropolises. Generally, municipalities approach the ‘global city’ ambition by opening up real estate markets for global investment and large-scale development, and shifting towards a tourism and service-focused economy. But what does living in a ‘global’ city entail for those who are not connected in to global financial markets? The low-income and vulnerable residents of inner cities around the world have been disproportionately affected by global city transformations—key examples are Delhi and Rio's efforts to transform for major international events and China’s rapid modernisation and urbanisation. In Sydney, inner-city public housing residents are aware that they, too, are seen as being in the way of the city’s transformation—an anachronism that must be cleared to make way for ‘globally oriented’ development. Situated within Sydney’s ‘global arc’—a corridor of the city targeted for economic and real estate development—the residents of the Waterloo public housing estate have found themselves to be in the sights of politicians and developers intent on ‘renewal’ of the area into a mixed-use, high-density apartment development. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted with community members as they confront the redevelopment plans, this paper explores the impacts of ‘global Sydney’ upon Waterloo residents, looking at resistance to renewal, meanings of and attachment to place, displacement and how it feels to be seen merely as a nuisance to a vast city-building agenda.
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