Conference paper

Urban liveability is a global priority, underpinning the creation of healthy, sustainable cities, aligning strongly with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. Measurement of policy-relevant spatial indicators of built and natural environments supports city planning at all levels of government. Analysis of their spatial distribution within cities, and impacts on individuals and communities, can assist with implementation and evaluation of policy for effective and equitable planning decisions. The Urban Liveability Index was underpinned by a detailed socio-ecological model of associations between the built environment and health. Using this framework, we developed methods for calculating a high-resolution spatial urban liveability index, encompassing empirically-tested indicators across liveability domains, including walkability, access to community and health services, employment, food, housing, public open space, and transport. The resulting spatial indicators supported analysis and mapping of geographic access to health-supportive environments, providing evidence of within-city and between-city liveability inequities in Australia and internationally.  

A pilot project, which focused on Melbourne in 2012, developed an initial workflow to calculate address-level liveability measures. This workflow was extended to capital and regional cities, towns and local government areas around Australia, and to 25 cities located in diverse international contexts across two distinct projects. The results informed scorecard reports of urban liveability, interactive indicator map portals, analysis of health outcomes, and amenity provision in new urban developments.

This paper reviews methodological challenges encountered in the scaling up of this 5-year collaborative research program. It derives lessons-learned from these experiences that can further strengthen evidence and tools used by urban planners, policy makers and researchers for creating healthy, sustainable cities.  


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