Creating liveable cities in Australia

Mapping urban policy implementation and evidence-based national liveability indicators
Cities and towns Urban planning Housing development Public transport Infrastructure Australia

The co-benefits of urban liveability for the economy, social inclusion, environmental and social sustainability, and public health are now well recognised by all levels of government in Australia and internationally. Liveable communities are safe, socially cohesive and inclusive, and environmentally sustainable. They have affordable housing that is linked (via public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure) to employment; education; shops and services; public open space; and social, cultural and recreational opportunities.

This report assesses the availability and implementation of policies governing seven characteristics of cities that can contribute to creating liveable communities, in Australian capital cities:

• Walkability;

• Public transport;

• Public open space;

• Housing affordability;

• Employment;

• Food environments; and

• Alcohol environments

The research reported here received federal grant funding from multiple sources. The aims were to:

  • Identify state government urban planning policies and legislation and their targets that relate to key urban liveability policy domains;
  • Create and map indicators of urban liveability, based on state government policy documents, to assess the degree of policy implementation and spatial inequities in liveability across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane; and to
  • Map a set of evidence-based national liveability indicators from the Australian National Liveability Study found to be associated with chronic disease risk behaviours and/or health outcomes (for all Australian capital cities where data were available)

Two types of indicators were developed:

• In four cities (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney) we reviewed state government urban planning, transport and infrastructure policies and legislation, to identify measurable spatial policy standards or targets that could be developed and mapped to benchmark and monitor the level of implementation of urban policies aimed at creating liveable communities;

• In all Australian state and territory capital cities where comparable data were available, we developed and mapped national liveability indicators shown to be associated with the health and wellbeing of Australians. This allowed us to make comparisons between cities.

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