The Sustainable Development (SD) of capital and regional cities is one of the most pressing challenges facing Australia. In this study, we analysed the collective views of 226 individuals and public and private organizations to determine SD pathways for cities. Our analysis of 1712 stakeholder statements showed that deficiencies in infrastructure investment, climate change resistant and environmentally harmonized developments, integrated transport networks, land use patterns and SD governance present ongoing challenges and opportunities for governments and communities. Critically, our analysis suggests that an estimated A$400–755 billion infrastructure underinvestment over past economic cycles, tight financial conditions and noted shortcomings in multi-level SD governance will likely see pathway realizations delayed by several years into the future. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.