Publication Details

Dowling, R. & McGuirk, P. (2012). Cities of Australia and the Pacific Islands. In S. D. Brunn, M. Hays-Mitchell & D. J. Zeigler (Eds.), Cities of the World: World Regional Urban Development (pp. 522-555). Lanham, United States: Rowman & Littlefield.


1. Cities in this region may be understood as forming two groups - those of Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand and those of the Pacific Islands - each with distinct characteristics. 2. All countries in this region are dominated by primate cities, but in the case of Australia primate cities are the capitals of states in the federal union. 3. Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand exhibit many of the urban characteristics of other developed countries, such as the United States. 4. The urban character of Pacific Island cities is similar to that of less developed countries though they are smaller and have considerably lower rates of population growth. 5. Sydney is by far the most globally linked city and the key economic center in this vast realm, though the global economic, cultural, and social connections of all cities have increased dramatically. 6. Many of the cities in the region were established as colonial or national capitals, and urban patterns and character are tied to this political influence. 7. In Australia, a popularly documented "sea change" phenomenon is drawing people away from the big cities toward small coastal towns. 8. Suburbanization and gentrification remain key residential forces in Australian and Aotearoal New Zealand cities, and globalization is a central driver of urban economies. 9. A multicultural population is increasingly the norm in most cities in the region, especially in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. 10. Awareness of the environmental impacts of urbanization is rising, with attempts to adapt planning frameworks and everyday life to sustainable outcomes. 11. Environmental vulnerability, especially to the direct and indirect consequences of climate change, is a key issue confronting the future of cities in the Pacific Islands.