What makes a particular location liveable?


What makes a particular location liveable?

That would be nice to know, wouldn’t it? city family urban suburb

It would be particularly important if you’re a homebuyer, but as an investor, it’s critical to only own properties in the type of location that will be in continuous strong demand by more affluent owner-occupiers.

Of course, the concept of livability is very subjective so it would be very difficult to come up with a reliable data set.

However, the demographers at Informed Decisions–id.com.au in collaboration with Ipsos, implemented an elegantly simple survey design capturing what people value and their lived experience, derived from 16 critical liveability attributes.

This was specifically designed to inform local government decision making and it’s already being used by a diverse range of councils to represent their community’s best interest in planning and advocacy.

Here are the 16 critical liveability attributes they explored…

1. A lack of road congestion

Informed Decisions found that the impacts of road congestion go well beyond a little frustration at the red light.

Studies have shown the relationship between road congestion and lower levels of wellbeing, productivity, and other things that stop us from having a more full and prosperous life.

2. A prosperous economy

The demographers looked at whether locations were becoming more economically prosperous and whether the gap between the most and least prosperous local areas is expanding or contracting.

3. Affordable decent housing

Understanding the provision of ‘affordable decent housing’ goes well beyond the dwelling according to Informed Decisions. Melbourne Property

It seeks to contextualise the community’s view on ‘housing’ with two additional features

  • the perception of value (represented in the attribute as affordable) and
  • quality (represented as decent).

‘Affordable decent housing’ is often selected as one of the most important attributes that make somewhere a good place to live.

It is typically of higher importance to younger people and is poorly experienced in established urban areas.

4. Making your way to and from services with relative ease

While the concept of a 15, 20, or whatever minute city is a really nice aspiration, well-intentioned and reasonable policy for some places, Informed Decisions believe that prescribing the “minute” target as the goal really doesn’t account for human preferences.

It’s too top-down, and not resident-led they say.

Instead, they think it’s better to understand how the community views their ability to access essential services – such as employment, education, and healthcare – with relative ease.

5. Cultural facilities such as museums, galleries, and festivals

Informed Decisions believe understanding the community’s views on cultural facilities makes an important contribution to our overall understanding of places.

6. High-quality education opportunities

While younger Australians tend to place a higher value on the provision of ‘high-quality education opportunities’ when asked to consider what makes somewhere a good place to live, the changing nature of how we learn and work determines that one’s ability to access and participate in high-quality education across all ages and employment sectors will only become more important to our personal social progress, collective economic security and overall well being.

7. Feeling safe

Feeling safe and secure has been described as the bedrock upon which our more social and aspirational needs can be met according to Informed Decisions

It’s been argued that if we do not feel safe and secure, we simply cannot participate to our fullest extent.

To this end, it’s no surprise that ‘feeling safe’ is often nominated as the most important attribute that contributes to making somewhere a good place to live.

8. Good job prospects

Considered highly important to younger people when they’re thinking about what makes somewhere a good place to live, the provision of ‘good job prospects’ is clearly an attractor quality for local areas looking to grow and retain working-age people.

9. High-quality health services

Delivering ‘high-quality health services is crucial to our public and economic health. Health

With an aging population, an ever-increasing share of our GDP spent on service delivery, a large and diverse workforce and opportunities for innovation that could have a global impact – understanding and monitoring views on health is critical to local and national prosperity.

Informed Decisions found that the provision of ‘high-quality health services’ is always among the top attributes that Australians believe make somewhere a good place to live, and is often more important to older Australians.

10. Access to the natural environment

Epidemiologists tell us that spending time in the natural environment on a regular basis makes a serious positive contribution to our wellbeing and, by extension our creativity, productivity, and a host of other things that make for a good and resilient human.

11. Opportunity for all

It has been well documented that if people are treated fairly and without prejudice then they will have a far greater chance of making social and economic progress.

History has shown what happens when the power and opportunities are concentrated in the hands of too few.

12. Reliable and efficient public transport

Billions are spent each year designing, delivering, and maintaining our public transport infrastructure.

And with good reason too, as one’s ability to access ‘reliable and efficient public transport’ provides a way for us to connect with work, education, social opportunities and other critical services that make for a good life.

It also plays a crucial role in managing population change.

While often considered among the top attributes that Australians believe make somewhere a good place, residents of inner-city and middle suburban areas tend to place a higher premium on the provision of ‘reliable and efficient public transport’ according to Informed Decisions.

13. A strong sense of community

While you don’t necessarily have to love thy neighbour there certainly is a value in feeling like you have ‘a strong sense of community’.

Countless studies report the positive correlation between residents’ connection to place/community with higher levels of self-reported well-being and optimism.

Typically, Regional Australians place a relatively higher value ‘a strong sense of community’ when asked to consider what makes somewhere a good place to live.

14. A diverse range of shopping, leisure, and dining experiences

With forecasts predicting growth in hospitality-related occupations, and disruptions to the retail sector changing consumer habits, keeping a pulse on how the community views the relative value of ‘a diverse range of shopping, leisure, and dining experiences’ in their local area serves an important role in planning and advocacy.

15. Social cohesion

Studies have shown that societies with high levels of ‘social cohesion tend to be more prosperous, economically competitive, and resilient.

Interestingly the demographers at Informed Decisions say that people born overseas tend to place more stock in ‘social cohesion’ than those who were born here.

16. The ability to view and participate in sports and recreation

The ability to view and participate in sports and recreation’ delivers benefits to the community well beyond the physical field of play.

The demographers at Informed Decisions explain that engaging in sports and recreation increases the chance of incidental social contact, brings cognitive benefits, and often serves as places where the community can connect across social, cultural, and generational lines.

Source: Informed Decisions 

ALSO READ: How cafes, bars, gyms, barbershops and other ‘third places’ create our social fabric


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