Globalisation: Friend Or Foe


Friend Or Foe

Dramatic Changes have taken place in Sydney’s
cultural and economic landscapes during the past two decades. These changing
landscapes have been linked in both political discourse and the popular
press to Sydney’s emerging role as a ‘global city’. Evidence supporting
this theory has come from some academic analyses of globalisation in the

1990s. Global cities are identified by their role as command centers for
organising the global economy. Such cities have been characterised by their
openness to global flows of commodities, money, ideas and information.

They have become destinations for both national and international migration
of skilled information workers, but also magnets for new streams of global
labor migration. The Asia-Pacific Rim has been one of the primary sources
of these new flows of international migration into Sydney (Fagan, 2000,
pg. 144). The aim of this essay is to gauge the impact of the said globalisations
on the various landscapes of Sydney, as globalisation has effected different
areas of Sydney in different ways. The principle areas discussed in this
paper are Leichardt, Chinatown, Cabramatta, Darling Harbour, the CBD and

Pyrmont. The impacts of cultural globalisations will be discussed first,
followed by those of economic globalisations. Economic globalisation will
be divided into 2 parts: primary impacts and subsequent impacts.

Migrant communities are an attribute
of many large western cities and particularly of global cities. In the
case of Leichardt, however, Italian settlement occurred prior to Sydney’s
emergence as a Global City. The display of the symbols of Italian settlement
in the form of signage, businesses and social organisations is a cultural
attribute of Sydney’s global city status (Searle, 1996). The maintenance
and marketing of this ‘heritage status’ for urban planners and tourism
authorities is a key feature of global cities (Searle, 1996). A primary
example of the developers and tourism authorities attempting to capitalise
on the heritage value of Leichardt is illustrated in Plate 1. Resident

Italian-Australians, and tourists alike, can be seen dining and shopping
among the Italian Forum in the foreground and middle distance of the photograph.

The situation of Chinatown is similar
to that of Leichardt in terms of its heritage value. Chinatown, like Leichardt,
was established prior to Sydney’s global city status. Its heritage is a
magnet for Chinese-Australians and tourists alike as seen the central foreground
of Plate 2. The Pallou Plaza is lined with specialty Chinese shops, conference
centers/social clubs.

Cabramatta is one of the direct
results of Sydney’s global city status. Cabramatta is comprised of migrants
predominantly from Southeast Asia seeking the economic opportunities that
are available in global cities such as Sydney. In Plate 3 the predominately

Asian human landscape of Cabramatta can be seen quite well. Many of the
economic activities of Cabramatta rely on the global flows of migrants.

Immigrant consultants and travel agents are perhaps the best example of
these activities.

The proliferation of American fast food
restaurants in global cities is evidence of both cultural and economic
globalisation. The fact that an increasing number of Australians are eating
at American fast food chains is exemplary of cultural globalisation, while
the business side of the transnational chains is evidence of economic globalisation.

Plate 4 provides a strong example of the dominance of American chain restaurants
in Sydney. Along the central horizontal axis of the photograph 5 different

American food chains can be seen: (from right to left) Hungry Jack’s, Taco

Bell, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, and Planet Hollywood.

Economic Globalisation

Economic globalisation has perhaps made
the most visible impacts on Sydney. One cannot ignore the presence of MNC’s
in the Sydney Skyline. In the center, middle distance of Plate 5 (from
left to right) IBM, Nestle, Samsung and Martins’ Sydney headquarters can
be seen overlooking the city. In the more immediate center, middle distance,

McDonalds and Sega World (of Darling Harbour) contribute transnational
presence on the Sydney landscape.

The presence of multinational corporations
has triggered a number of multiplier effects in Sydney. Large-scale convention
centers, entertainment centers, luxury residences for transnational business
class executives and new transportation networks all among the new developments
that have been constructed as a result of the presence of multinational
corporations. The Sydney Convention Centre (Plate 6) of Darling Harbour
was planned by the New South Wales Government to be a world class venue
and thus draw world class events ( Such a venue would
only be constructed in a city of global status.

The planning and urban restructuring
of the City West Urban Strategy that is taking place in Pyrmont has an
overwhelmingly global context. The recent and projected changes are consistent
with the patterns other global cities have adopted in urban waterfront
areas where former