Strategic planning

From its beginning back in 1836, the city of Adelaide has always been built on a well developed plan. Back then, it was developed by Colonel William Light. Today, the city is designed for life by Council, with its strategic plan developed every four years to ensure it continues to invigorate and stimulate the city.

Strategic Plan 2024 – 2028

Council adopted the City of Adelaide Strategic Plan 2024 – 2028 on 12 December 2023. This Strategic Plan guides Council’s work over the next four years in delivering the vision for Adelaide.

The City of Adelaide has developed this Strategic Plan as guided by the Local Government Act (SA) 1999, which requires councils to develop and adopt plans for the management of its area, informed by the provisions of the City of Adelaide Act 1998. This Plan is supported by a Resource Plan which guides the finance, infrastructure and resources that underpin delivery over the next four years, as well as a suite of longer-term interconnected vision and economic plans.

This plan was built on feedback from Council Members and the broader community as well as from research with key stakeholders. Over 100 pieces of feedback via community sessions, an online survey, and written submissions were received during the public consultation period on the draft plan.

The City of Adelaide Strategic Plan 2024-2028 is our roadmap for the future, both as a capital city and a local government. It outlines what we want to achieve, the steps we need to take, and the direction we are heading.

View the 2024 – 2028 Strategic Plan

Our vision

"Our Adelaide. Bold. Aspirational. Innovative."

Shaping the future of the city requires bold thinking and long-term planning.

This Plan has been developed in a time of change and uncertainty for our city and community – the post pandemic environment, inflation forecasts, housing crisis and climate change are at the top of Council’s agenda.

By being bold in how we respond to the challenges that will unfold over the coming years, we will create new opportunities that will have a transformative impact on our city, community and businesses.

The vision for the city is focussed through five aspirations:

  • Our Community: Vibrant, connected and inclusive
  • Our Environment: Resilient, protected and sustainable
  • Our Economy: Growing, innovative and responsive
  • Our Places: Interesting, purposeful and safe
  • Our Corporation: High performing, customer-centric and bold

These aspirations have been developed through collaboration with Council Members and informed by insights from community discussions, research, and feedback on what is important to our community.

Our Principles

The following guiding principles help Council remain on course in the delivery of the aspirations and outcomes over the next four years.

To ensure we maintain our liveability and to support growth, these principles will underpin everything we do:

  • Exceptional Amenity – Be bold and courageous in our pursuit of excellence for our city.
  • Quality Housing – Strive for liveability and affordability to attract and retain residents.
  • Community Connection – Strengthen connection, accessibility, diversity and inclusivity by putting people first.
  • Unique Experiences – Create interesting experiences for our residents, workers and visitors.
  • Climate Resilience – Embed climate resilience in all that we do.
  • Economic Growth – Encourage innovation, investment and development in current and emerging sectors.
  • Budget Repair – Provide quality services and ensure long-term financial sustainability.

Past plans

2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan

"Adelaide: the most liveable city in the world"

Council unanimously adopted the 2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan on 10 March 2020. This Strategic Plan guides Council’s work over the next four years in delivering the vision for Adelaide as the most liveable city in the world. It builds on our strengths to embrace the opportunities around us.

For the City of Adelaide, a liveable city is one that is a great place to be, whether as a resident or business owner in one of the city’s precincts, a student of our world class universities, or a visitor to our famed festivals, cultural institutions and attractions. The qualities that make our city liveable for those who are already here are also the attributes that may attract others to make the City of Adelaide home.

Our focus on innovation, start-ups and history of entrepreneurialism, our reputation for safety as epitomised by South Australia’s appeal as an international student destination and, recently, by the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, our sterling arts and cultural experiences, our genuine concern for a sustainable future, and a 10 Gig network enabling very fast connections, are attractors for new residents too.

In the City of Adelaide, you can enjoy world class experiences, connect with others and access employment opportunities across the world in a safe and hospitable environment.

To deliver on Council’s vision to be the most liveable city in the world, the below community outcomes, enabling priorities, guiding principles and strategic priorities have been identified:

Community Outcomes and Enabling Priorities

To deliver on Council’s vision to be the most liveable city in the world, over the next four years, four community outcomes have been identified:

Thriving Communities: Council will create a city that is welcoming, inclusive and accessible to all.

Strong Economies: Council will champion a robust and diversified economy where innovation and low costs support growth and investment.

Dynamic City Culture: Council will continue to create a beautiful, diverse city that celebrates its natural, cultural and built heritage.

Environmental Leadership: Council will be a leader in responding to climate change and support our community and businesses to be resilient in the face of environmental challenges.

The delivery of these outcomes will be supported by:

Enabling Priorities: Council will continue to work innovatively and collaboratively with partners and the community.

Guiding Principles

While the four outcomes are the end goal, the guiding principles are the signposts to help Council remain on course. When delivering the strategies and actions to achieve the vision, Council will adhere to the principles of:

  • Community benefit
  • Embracing innovation
  • Accessible participation
  • Being accountable

Strategic Priorities

Council’s commitment to our communities is enduring. Our strategic priorities for the community are to:

  • Ensure that Adelaide is globally recognised as an affordable and innovative place to do business;
  • Support the wellbeing of our communities;
  • Celebrate our city’s unique built, natural and cultural heritage;
  • Lead the way in climate action and manage water, waste, transport and greening in a sustainable way; and
  • Transform the ways people move around and connect with each other.

Under the Local Government Act 1999 (Section 122) councils are required to review their Strategic Management Plans within two years after a general local government election.

Our vision to be the most liveable city in the world and our community outcomes of Thriving Communities, Strong Economies, Dynamic City Culture and Environmental Leadership are shared by Council, our people, and our communities for the future, as reflected by the consultation that was undertaken in 2019.

Over 3,000 people engaged with Council about our future plan in person (forums, open days, meetings, events), on social media and Council’s online Your Say Adelaide portal. More than 300 feedback forms and postcard responses were received, as well as 100 informal online and in-person comments. Formal consultation on development of the Plan was undertaken in two stages which occurred between 11 September and 16 December 2019:

  • Stage 1 consultation asked the community to imagine our future Adelaide with reference to draft themes or outcomes and to identify priorities.

Stage 2 consultation asked for feedback concerning the Draft Plan which was adopted by Council in November 2019.