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Place Intelligence worked with Waverley Council in Sydney to develop a strategic measurement framework and program of advanced analytics fo data driven economic development.

“This work has develop a comprehensive view of activity across the commercial centres of the Waverley municipality, and what’s driving that activity, and provides a foundation for even better economic outcomes for Waverley in the future.”

Context

Renowned globally as the home of Bondi Beach, Waverley Council, in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, is recognised as one of the top three tourist destinations in Australia. Waverley is a place of great natural beauty, with undulating hills, heritage streetscapes, picturesque green spaces, and direct access to the one of the best beaches in the world.
The municipality is home to more than 80,000 residents across a broad range of age groups and backgrounds, with an active local and tourist economy, vibrant nightlife, and an annual program of nationally significant activities and events that draw massive crowds.
The Economic Development Team continues the Council’s progressive and innovative approach to effective strategic planning and city management by looking to advanced data analytics and insights to support evidence backed decision making.

Challenge

In early 2020, as the impacts of the Corona Virus were starting to be felt worldwide, Waverley Council identified the need for accurate and quantifiable place based data, to inform evidence backed decision making that would enable them to respond swiftly, with confidence, in an increasingly volatile and ambiguous decision making environment
The municipality boasts three commercial centres of varying sizes, and the Economic Development Team wanted to better understand how the disruptions of the pandemic had affected the performance of the centres over 2020, and how they might be able to continue to monitor performance over time to deliver better economic, community, and environmental outcomes for Waverley.

We commend the team at Waverley Council for their dedicated and progressive approach to sustainable, data driven economic development for the municipality.

Studies

  • Framework Development – developed a Commercial Centres Performance Measurement Framework to effectively measure the performance of a commercial centre over time across a range of variables and scales. The Framework has been designed to incorporate publicly accessible datasets, to support benchmarking and comparison at a nation scale.
  • Activity and dwell time analytics reveals patterns of activity over time, in buildings, roads and public realm.
  • Spend and activity correlation analysis – We integrated place use trend data with neighbourhood spend data over two years to understand the drivers of place based economic activity linked to audiences and place programs to allow council to fine tune its economic development strategy and place plans.
  • Catchment analysis reveals the magnetism and patterns of attraction of the three commercial centres and their respective assets
  • Accurate population modelling to supersede the 2016 census data to unlock state funding for council programs.

Impact

  • More accurate population forecasting
  • Better understand the historical and current patterns of activity and use of commercial centres, and drivers for activity
  • Evidence to inform more accurate and responsive strategic planning, maintenance, and asset management, and long term economic development strategy.
Interesting Insight
We discovered a correlation between significant increases in footfall and economic activity in the lead up to Christmas, that suddenly diverged on Boxing Day as spending dropped, but footfall remained high for several weeks.
This confirms anecdotal evidence that people are hanging out in large numbers in the air conditioned shopping centres to escape the summer heat.

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