Here Are The Measures Science Is Using To Answer The Question: How Liveable Are Australian Cities?

Bondi Beach. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Judging how Australian cities impact our health is important information when trying to decide what infrastructure is needed in the future.

A national research project about to get under way is going to try to measure for the first time how liveable our cities are.

The National Liveability Study, outlined in the journal Public Health Research and Practice, will develop Australia’s first set of national health liveability indicators.

“We hope this project will leave a legacy to the nation,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Billie GilesCorti of the University of Melbourne.

“By developing a standard set of indicators that can be used across the country, we will be able to measure which environments work best for our health – and which don’t. And we’ll also be able to use them to measure differences within and between cities, and the progress being made towards improvements.”

While there are existing measures used across the globe of how liveable cities are, no-one has yet measured liveability from a health perspective.

The study’s research team will kick-start the measurement process by using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to examine five domains of liveability:

  • Alcohol – access to licensed and off-licence premises
  • Food – access to local food outlets such as grocery stores, supermarkets and takeaway outlets
  • Public open space – access to parks, open spaces and vegetation
  • Transport – access to public transport and private vehicles, and household travel patterns
  • Walkability – access to street connectivity, land-use mix and residential density.

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