International City Profile -
Research Question and Sub-Topics
How do people in the city’s communities interact with each other based on the circumstances of their city?
- What are defining factors that made the city’s communities act this way?
- How does this affect the city’s reputation?
- Are there any ways to change how people people interact positively in order to make the city more liveable and loveable?
Background and Overview
Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state Queensland, is Australia’s third largest city with its 5,950km squared size, and an estimated 2.043 million (Recorded in 2010) living in it. The land is regarded as quite hilly and uneven, located around the Brisbane River (Which it was named after.) Brisbane’s metropolitan area boasts of more than 2.3 million people. Most of Brisbane’s urbanized area is around the river as well - and is regarded as the ‘central business district’ or CBD.
Like most of the cities in Australia, most of the housing and living areas are suburbs, unlike Hong Kong's gated communities and apartments. According to Brisbane Marketing, almost 30% of the population are born overseas, 16% speak a language other than English at home and the communities enjoy a large range of diverse cultures and peoples from all around the world. With people from different backgrounds, Brisbane seems like a nice and peaceful place to have a good community in - the sharing and mixing of cultures and ideas.
The city is a pleasant place to be, with relaxed atmospheres and is reputed to be one of the top developing and is reputedly ranked at 20th on The Economist Intelligent Units' Liveability Ranking for cities around the world. Interestingly enough, four out of the top ten cities are in Australia as well.
In this investigation, I also did an interview with my friend who lives in the suburbs of Brisbane. He used to live in Hong Kong until he was 13 when his father moved his whole family to Brisbane, and he is now 20 years old and has spent 8 years in Brisbane. I developed some questions for him to answer relating to the topic, and here are some answers:
Question: Do you view Brisbane in a positive way or a negative way? Why? Does this have any relation to how the city is as a community?
Answer: I must say positive. Brisbane is a lovely city with a very leisurely lifestyle...The stress at work environments in Brisbane tend to be not as intense compared to other capital cities in Australia such as Melbourne and Sydney. I think it's mostly how everyone local here exhibits a casual attitude toward a lot of things, and in turn it affects everyone around them and so on. That's the relation to how the city is as a community, I think.
Question: What do you think of communities in Brisbane?
Answer: I think the communities here at Brisbane are pretty friendly. Neighbours often greet each other in the morning [in my neighbourhood], children at school would respect each other's race and religious background without judgement. I guess it would be a great place to raise children if you were to choose somewhere.
Question: What kind of area do you live in? (Metropolitan, suburban…) What is the general atmosphere of your own community?
Answer: I live at a little suburb at Logan, south of Brisbane called Browns Plains. Most of the residents at my suburb are European and tend to have a relatively low income. (Note: I kind of wanted to ask why, but I didn't.) However, the public security here is not bad. Our part of the suburb is still developing, and there are lots of new houses around. I believe that the average age of the residents around our area is way lower than other suburbs around Brisbane.
Question: What are some good things about your community? What are the bad?
Answer: Things that are good about Brisbane communities are that they are honest and loyal; they know how to relax and enjoy life; and they are very respectful especially because Brisbane is a multicultural society. Things that are bad about Brisbane communities are that they are extremely lazy; they are very stubborn sometimes; and sometimes they are too conservative.
A website, FindTheBest.com, uses the average level of education, percentage of teen parents, affordability as well as improvised housing to create "smart rating", which is a general rating of different suburbs in Brisbane. It also shows statistics on the population, average age, years of education and income. Here are a few screenshots of some suburbs rated on the website:
The link to the website can be found here, and it is cited in my bibliography as well.
Explanation and Analysis
Looking at the quantitative data, it is shown that my friend was correct in the fact that he saw that the neighbourhood's income was relatively lower compared to that of the other suburbs in Brisbane, and the age group is also younger than most. I also read some of the comments from people who lived in these areas and received generally positive ratings, ranging from saying that it is a nice place to live with a family in, as well as some praising good community spirit. A lot of this is apparently credited to the high densities of living spaces as well as multicultural peoples as it's possible that they could have grouped together as a community because they share something in common.
The fact that my source mentioned that the workplaces are generally less stressful compared to most is also a defining factor in how Brisbane's communities interact - in Hong Kong people dismiss socialising as a waste of time because they are stressed and busy with work, but perhaps Brisbane has a nice community spirit as they are more relaxed and have more time on their hands, therefore helping to create the social atmosphere of Brisbane positively.
Looking Into The Future
Despite the fact that a lot of the communities in Brisbane are seemingly resilient, but from the interview with my friend, the relaxed atmosphere giving the place an authentic feel could also be a bad thing as they give out the image of laziness.
Something like this could be viewed negatively, however so far everything seems to be in a good place, as Brisbane is a well-off and stable place to live in, reflecting on its communities as it gives a sense of general living security and comfortableness to interact with social circles with each other.
"Brisbane Facts." Brisbane Facts. The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, n.d. Web. 19 May 2015. <http://www.royalicc.com.au/attending-an-event/brisbane-facts>.
"A Summary of The Liveability and Ranking Overview: August 2014."Economist Aug. 2014: 1-14. The Economist. Web. 20 May 2015. <http://pages.eiu.com/rs/eiu2/images/Liveability_rankings_2014.pdf>.
"Compare Suburbs of Brisbane." Brisbane Suburbs. FindTheBest.com, Inc., n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. <http://cities.findthebest.com.au/d/c/Brisbane>.
"Welcome to Brisbane City." Brisbane City Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. <http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/>.
BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10600464>.