Contemporary city-building requires genuine collaboration; between community, business, government and stakeholder agencies. That’s why engaging stakeholders, facilitating conversation and brokering partnerships and co-creation for city development are such important Committee functions.

The Committee fulfills its role in this area through engagement activities using a range of mediums including events and forums.

The Capital City Committee held an integrated city COVID-19 recovery forum on 21 May 2021. The purpose of the forum was to engage city business leaders from across a range of key sectors as well as main street representatives in a conversation about city recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee also commissioned research into the economic impact of COVID-19 on the city to date as an evidence base ahead of the event. 

Forum Overview 

The Capital City Committee’s 2021 forum was held at the Adelaide Town Hall. Over 70 business, government and community leaders attended the three-hour event that included two small group sessions focused on identifying opportunities for city recovery and growth as well as challenges and key actions and partnerships for growth. Deloitte Access Economics facilitated the session. 

Forum Outcomes 

A range of activities and potential partnerships for realising opportunities and responding to challenges were identified during the two small group sessions of the event. Key areas for potential action and investment, including via partnerships are as follows: 

Results of Research 

The commissioned research was undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics and provided a breakdown of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city centre to date including for nine city sub sectors. The report also provided an analysis of changes in the level of foot traffic within the city including for five main streets and trends likely to affect cities in the future with discussion of implications for the Adelaide city centre.  

At the whole of city level the report found that the Adelaide city centre economy grew by 0.8% in 2019-20 buoyed by growth in financial and professional services. Following on from this, expenditure in Adelaide city centre across all sectors was 6% higher in January 2021 than in January 2019.  

The research found that while economic recovery is well underway in the Adelaide city centre, with many sub sectors fully recovered, some continue to struggle. In particular those that rely on in person visitation from elsewhere. As at January 2021 expenditure on city retail and personal services for example was down 15% on January 2019 figures. Creative Industries, so important to city vibrancy and character, also continue to struggle. International student commencements have dropped and are projected to continue to decline, with CBD office occupancy at 71% compared to a long-term average of 86%.   

In terms of trends moving forward, remote work is forecast to remain at higher levels than before the pandemic and cities will need to provide compelling reasons for workers and others to visit.  Further, businesses will need to shift to omni-channel commerce to remain responsive to market demands and experiences will become central to consumers’ and workers’ decisions about how and what they purchase.