Zetland is a largely industrial suburb with medium- to high-density residential areas. Zetland is part of the Green Square district which is currently undergoing gentrification. This involves an urban renewal project that is constructing modern retail, business, and residential developments.
A new zone of Zetland made by Landcom called Victoria Park is designated for medium to high-density residential development and retail along South Dowling Street, with its other boundaries along O’Dea and Joynton Avenues.
Zetland originally featured a lagoon and swamp which was drained in the early 1900s to create the Victoria Park racecourse. It was bordered by O’Dea Avenue, South Dowling Street, Epsom Road and Joynton Avenue. The privately owned racecourse was closed after World War II. The land was bought by British businessman Lord Nuffield in 1947 and from 1950 the site was utilized by Nuffield Australia for a motor vehicle assembly facility. Vehicle production was continued by Nuffield Australia and its successors BMC Australia and Leyland Australia  until the factory was closed in 1975. The site was acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia for a Naval Stores depot which operated until the mid-1990s. The land was subsequently redeveloped into the high-density housing (location: 33.908°S 151.2105°E).
Zetland Post Office was first opened on 4 January 1937 and closed on 29 September 1983.
Former tram line
From 1902 a tram service operated through Zetland. The line initially ran via Chalmers and Redfern Streets and south along Elizabeth Street to Zetland. In 1924, the line was extended to Epsom Road in Rosebery. In 1948, to facilitate construction of the Eastern Suburbs Railway, a new line was constructed down Elizabeth Street between Devonshire Street and Redfern Street and the route was deviated to run down this new section. The line was electrified double track throughout. The line was closed in 1957.
The Waterloo Swamp once dominated the landscape of the surrounding areas of Waterloo and Zetland. Woolwash Park Pond is the only remnant of this landscape which connected to a vast aquifer that still runs below the site. In the 1800s industries such as wool washing and tanning were attracted to this area by the clean water from the aquifer. Vegetation remains.
Woolwash Park Pond is an important part of the innovative water management and irrigation system at Victoria Park, Zetland. To ensure that the pond is able to effectively perform its important functions, residents are advised of the following by signage. The presence of fish is detrimental to water quality, as fish disturb sediments, produce waste, damage the macrophytes, and block the irrigation system. Any fish introduced into the pond will be removed. Aquatic plants are not to be introduced into the pond. These plants often infest the pond, killing the macrophytes and blocking the irrigation pumps.
In the 2016 Census, there were 10,078 people in Zetland. 28.7% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were China 31.0%, England 3.3%, Indonesia 2.5%, Ireland 2.0% and Hong Kong 2.0%. 36.8% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 29.6%, Cantonese 5.0%, Indonesian 2.6%, Spanish 1.6% and Korean 1.3%. The most common responses for religion in Zetland were No Religion 50.4%, and Catholic 15.1%.
Of occupied private dwellings in Zetland, 91.4% were flat or apartments and 7.9% were semi-detached.