The City Economy sessions in the State of Australian Cities 2005 national conference yielded papers that can usefully be grouped under four main strands. First there were a series of theoretically oriented papers that problematised our understandings of the nature and drivers of urban economic change. Several took generalised theoretical propositions about the conditions and trajectories of urban economies in the context of globalisaion and tested them empirically against Australian cities to raise important questions and to demonstrate critical departures. The second strand dealt with aspects of the ‘new economy’ and the multifaceted implications of new patterns in the social organisation of work, new work practices and locational factors that appear to shape and reflect ‘new economy’ processes. The third strand involved a vibrant series of papers that presented fascinating and empirically rich investigations of ‘old chestnut’ issues of the urban economy—labour markets, mobility, housing markets, affordability— but took on the new complexity and spatiality connected to their contemporary manifestations. Finally, the fourth strand focused on the development of tools and techniques to assist urban economy management—spatial modelling and economic risk assessment tools specifically.
The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.