Australian Cultural and Creative Activity: A Population and Hotspot Analysis: Gold Coast

Stuart Cunningham, Marion McCutcheon, Greg Hearn, Mark David Ryan, Christy Collis

Research output: Book/ReportReports


The Gold Coast has one of the strongest and most resilient city brands in Australia. Monikers such as the ‘glitter strip’, ‘Sin City’, ‘Australia’s playground’ and ‘famous for fun’ have variously been applied to brand the Gold Coast, with its identity long touted as revolving around ‘sun, surf and sand’. Belinda McKay (2005, p. 68) observes that the Gold Coast is often seen as a place to escape to, ‘where new possibilities can be imagined and enacted’: this sense of escape from the ordinary remains a strong element of the Gold Coast’s place identity. But so much about the Gold Coast no longer aligns readily with this image. The Gold Coast now attracts the media treatment a big city gets (crime, transport snarls and huge pressure to address major infrastructure deficits, socio-economic divides between the glitter strip amenity and affluence and ‘pram city’ in the new estates off the coast). And well it might. The Gold Coast is Australia’s largest non-capital city, has the second-largest municipal Council in the country (after Brisbane), and enjoys the benefits and challenges of a large and rapidly growing population, currently more than 600,000 and increasing by 2.9 per cent each year (see the background and data sources referenced in the appendices to this report). The Gold Coast is much bigger than two of Australia’s capital cities (Hobart, Darwin), is bigger than national capital Canberra, and is much bigger than the ‘second’ cities of the two most populous states (Geelong, Newcastle). Across the Old Gold Coast Highway, which runs parallel to the ocean and defines the beach strip that marks the Gold Coast as a pre-eminent international and domestic tourist destination, the rapidly growing estates, major shopping centres and industrial parks that accommodate the majority of the residential population growth look and feel like core suburbia in any Australian capital city.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrisbane
PublisherQueensland University of Technology
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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