Retail suburbanization, modernization, and growth in Sydney during Australia's postwar boom

Matthew Bailey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article uses Sydney as a case study to examine the process of retail decentralization during Australia’s postwar boom, showing how the form and function of capital city retailing changed completely in just a couple of decades. Suburban migration, the emergence of mobile car-driving consumers, socially constructed gender roles, the ongoing importance of public transport networks, planning regimes that sought to concentrate development in designated zones, and business growth strategies that deployed retail formats developed in America all played a role in shaping the form and function of Australian retailing during the postwar boom. In the process, the retail geographies of Australia’s capital cities were transformed from highly centralized distribution structures dominated by the urban core, to decentralized landscapes of retail clusters featuring modern retail forms like the supermarket and shopping center that would come to define Australian retailing for the remainder of the century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-864
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • consumerism
  • retail
  • shopping center
  • suburbanization
  • supermarket


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