It could well be the case that with the disappearance of the Holden car plant at Elizabeth, Adelaide is in danger of being a distressed city with its unemployment, run-down buildings, an inequality with its impoverishment part of the population, an underperforming public school system, declining living standards, and a limited skill base due to young people leaving to find work in Sydney or Melbourne.
It is true that a faltering Adelaide has begun the process of adapt and respond to economic change.in the form of re-invention--of slowly transforming into becoming a post-industrial city. This is a transition from producing and providing goods to one that mainly provides services. In a post-industrial society, technology, information, and services are more important than manufacturing actual goods. This, it is argued, is the path to recovery.
The subsidised casino, convention centre and sports stadium are designed to encourage urban development, give Adelaide a competitive edge in the competition between Australia's cities, and a new image as an attractive city in contrast to the rusting industrial image. Adelaide brands itself as a destination that seeks to attract visitors and a creative class of new residents in the CBD.
What I do find disturbing is that there are still a large number of empty shops in the CBD. The above picture is of an empty shop is in the western part of Hindley St, which is in the northwestern area of Adelaide's CBD.
This post-industrial area is supposed to be booming, due to the expansion of the University of South Australia and the new medical precinct along North Terrace.This revitalisation means that there should be a lot more people walking around the streets in the north western end of the CBD, as well as the people working in the medical precinct going to lunch in this part of Hindley St. So the lunch places should be booming.
This empty shop is on the corner of Hindley and Blyth Streets, and is closer to King William St and the heart of the CBD:
These empty shops may also be an indication of a national economy in the slow lane--one that is barely growing, with employee wages barely keeping up with inflation.
Despite the empty shops it does appear that Adelaide, despite being haunted by visions of economic decay, shrinking and disorder, has a future beyond manufacturing cars. The engine of Adelaide's renewal to a post-industrial future does appear to be education and medicine --the so called "eds and meds" strategy.
However, Adelaide's future is very open-ended, given the emergence of climate change and the increased importance of relying on the River Murray for water in a hotter and drier climate.