Future outlook

Chinatown and CBD South

New residential development in Chinatown and CBD South will continue to underpin future population growth in the village, and growth in the village workforce is also expected to be solid.

A number of large-scale infrastructure projects will affect the village, including the CBD and South East Light Rail, Darling Harbour Live, improvements to the UTS campus and the Ultimo pedestrian network.

These projects will significantly enhance accessibility to the village and drive further visitation. 

For more information

Population growth

Over the period 2011 to 2031, the population of the Chinatown and CBD South village is forecast to increase from 16,644 to 23,707 (see Table 12).

This equates to an annual growth rate of 353 residents, or 1.8%. This rate of growth is middle of the range across 10 villages, as highlighted in Figure 11.

The population growth will occur as mainly as a result of newly-constructed apartment buildings and the repurposing of office buildings to residential.

Table 12 – Forecast Village Population, 2011–2031

Estimated Resident Population Av. Annual Growth 2011–2031
2011 2021 2031 No. %
16,644 20,170 23,707 353 1.8%
Source: id Forecast

Figure 11 – Forecast Average Annual Population Growth, 2011–2031

Figure 11 – Forecast Average Annual Population Growth, 2011–2031 Source: id Forecast

Demographic change

Chart 9 illustrates the forecast changes in the age composition of village residents between 2011 and 2031. The most significant growth is forecast for the parents and homebuilders (35-49) bracket, as older couples and families shift towards a preference for inner city locations, and more apartment stock is built to cater to this market. Significant growth is also forecast in the young workforce (25-34) group as well as the older pre-retiree (50-59) and retiree (60-69) brackets.

On the other hand, a marginal decline is expected in the tertiary education and workforce (18-24) category as the focus of development shifts away from student accommodation towards catering for the expected strong demand for residential dwellings from other demographic categories.

Chart 9 – Population by Age Group, 2011 & 2031

Chart 9 – Population by Age Group, 2011 & 2031

Workforce changes

Chart 10 presents workforce forecasts for the village based on projections made by the Bureau of Transport Statistics in 2012. Over the 20 year period between 2011 and 2031, growth in the local workforce is projected to be 558 workers per year, or 1.1% per annum. Over the entire 35 year forecast period the average annual growth rate is slightly lower, at 486 workers, or 0.9% per annum. This relatively strong employment growth is underpinned by the dominant office land uses within the village, which typically have high employment densities and hence offer significant workforce growth opportunities.

Chart 10 – Forecast Workforce Growth, 2011–2046

Chart 10 – Forecast Workforce Growth, 2011–2046

Major infrastructure

There are a number of major infrastructure projects currently planned or underway which will affect the central area of the City of Sydney, and most notably CBD and Harbour and Chinatown and CBD South. Figure 12 illustrates these projects. Those of significance to Chinatown and CBD South include:

  • Darling Harbour Live: This project involves the renewal and revitalisation of a 20-hectare section of the Darling Harbour area. The project will include a new world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment venue (ICC Sydney), a new hotel, and a new residential and creative quarter known as Darling Square alongside new and upgraded public open spaces.
  • CBD and South East Light Rail: This significant transport infrastructure project will connect Circular Quay to Central Station via George Street, continuing on to Randwick. This will radically alter passenger movements within the city centre, with trams eventually replacing the current heavy bus traffic that traverses George Street. When completed, the line will have 20 stops along the 12km route and is expected to be capable of carrying up to 9,000 passengers per hour in each direction. Work is commencing in 2015, with construction expected to take 5 to 6 years.
  • UTS Campus Master Plan: The University of Technology Sydney is undergoing a $1 billion redevelopment of its main campus, of which parts will occur within the village. This includes the Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chua Chak Wing building, which was completed in late 2014.
  • Ultimo Pedestrian Network: Running along the south eastern edge of the village, the network is an activation of part of the old freight rail system into an animated public space, linking pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Central railway station and Darling Harbour, and connecting key cultural and educational institutions.

Figure 12 – Major Infrastructure Projects

Figure 12 – Major Infrastructure Projects

Residential development activity

Figure 13 shows recently completed and future residential developments in the village as measured by the City of Sydney’s Residential Development Monitor.

The image shows that several residential developments have been recently completed, with 3 developments consisting of over 100 units.

More importantly, the image shows that development applications have been lodged for multiple residential developments in the future, including The Haymarket development (part of the Entertainment Centre redevelopment) with over 2,300 units proposed.

In addition to this, numerous residential developments have been approved or have commenced construction, underpinning noteworthy population growth in the future.

Figure 13 – City of Sydney Residential Development Monitor, June 2013

Figure 13 – City of Sydney Residential Development Monitor, June 2013

What does this mean for my business?

Understanding the future outlook for the village is important for all local businesses and those considering locating in the area. Anticipating changes to the local resident and worker populations, along with changes to the physical environment, are important for successful long-term business planning.

In terms of future population and workforce, the outlook for Chinatown and CBD South is for relatively strong growth in both of these markets. Furthermore, significant infrastructure projects in the village will change the way people access the village, and add significant new attractions to support increased visitation.


This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015