Where would you live? What would make you want to stay as a lifelong resident somewhere?
Maybe a place which has a powerful effect on your life… A sustainable, prosperous, creative, connected city with a good support system and social services.
A city for people to enjoy themselves. Where you can be yourself, no matter your style, personality or background.
How do you run a successful, vibrant and happy country? What sets one city above another?
The Economist Intelligence Unit's considers 30 factors related to safety, stability, health care, culture, educational resources, infrastructure and the environment to provide a score that measures social functioning, environmental quality and economic competitiveness. Included are assessments about the threat of terror and military conflict, the prevalence of petty crime and murder, humidity and temperature, sport, culture, consumer goods, private education, roads, public transport, healthcare and the quality of housing.
The world’s most liveable cities score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. Although the top five cities remain unchanged, the past year has seen increasing instability across the world, causing volatility in the scores of many cities. Melbourne in Australia remains the most liveable of the 140 cities surveyed sixth year in a row in 2016, very closely followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Monocle's annual Quality of Life issue ranks the top 25 most liveable cities in the world. It has focused on climate/sunshine, access to nature, public transport networks, medical care, international connections, safety/crime, tolerance, quality of architecture and pleasures. Melbourne was named as the world's sixth most liveable city, dropped two spots from 2015.
All are important consideration. Still, this is somewhat subjective. Might be too much for some people, others might struggle with the pace of life…
How to build a better life, business, and home? What makes a city user friendly?
You can be attracted to Melbourne based on: idyllic escapes around it, cornucopia of green spaces, walkability, community, strong collective sense of society and public amenity, sociability, opens, tolerance, dynamism, inspiration, diversity, its unique blend of nature and culture, art, design, forward-focused food and drink. That’s easy to live with.
However a range of elements contribute to the livability of a built environment. Let’s see some of them…
It is complex, multi-scaled and characterized by a high level of unpredictability. Affect livability directly and indirectly (diseases (like malaria, dengue fever), mental health (poor concentration, aggressive behavior, stress), drinking water supplies, agricultural profitability). Needs to be understand to be able to improve biological activity, human conditions, comfort and productivity. It is clear that the climate is warming, but there are still scientific uncertainties about how much it will change in the future. Sensitivity and adaptive capacity to it vary significantly in space and time. Adaption to climate change therefore require to be location specific.
Melbourne’s tendency to deliver four seasons in every day. The city work to ensure public awareness about the climate issues. All critical risks have been identified such as intense rainfall, sea level rise, wind storm, extreme heatwaves and bushfire. Almost all sector of society and the economy are likely to be impacted. A locally relevant response strategy is key to successful adaption.
Air and water quality? Pollution? Emission? Greenhouse gases? Ozone? Human health impacts?
Population and economic growth present both opportunities and challenges to our built and natural environments. Green infrastructure has an increasingly important role to play in the face of these as well as climate change. In addition to providing space for recreation, it will help absorb flood water, cool the urban environment, clean the air, provide sustainable environment for food production, and ensure the survival of local fauna and flora. The future of liveable cities depends on nature.
Growing communities place pressure on existing infrastructure networks and services such as water distribution, waste management and transport. They also need places to live, work and recreate, quality open space, natural environment, and human health. As the urban population grows, additional land is required, or existing one is used more intensely.
Australia has one of the world’s largest ecological footprints. It is a measure of the impact humans have on the environment. High ecological footprint indicates that we are consuming resources at a much faster rate than the planet can regenerate.
"Almost everybody is now attuned to sustainability talk, but despite this subjective awareness the world becomes objectively less and less sustainable" (Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice: Circles of Sustainability by Paul James). Cities are the heart of the problems facing this planet, but developing a positive and sustainable mode of urban living is the only way that will be able to sustain social life to the disruption of climate change. We now have the capacity to destroy ourselves, as well as the choice not to do so… We face contradictory pressures. Many good people are doing good things, but we have reached the stage where individuated good works are not enough. Responding to structure of power through collective engagement has become more important than ever.
For all their vibrancy and liveliness, cities face a growing challenge to provide secure and sustainable places to live. Even the world’s most liveable cities are utterly unsustainable in global ecological terms. Melbourne has one of the largest urban footprints in the world due to its low density housing, resulting in a vast suburban sprawl, with a high level of car dependence and minimal public transport outside of inner areas. Many Melbourne suburbs, residents will have to largely depend on cars for daily needs and for long commutes to educational facilities and jobs.
Urban amenity generally means access to commercial areas and services required for daily living. This includes access to employment, health services, schools and other educational facilities, transport, cultural and leisure services, and green spaces. The measurement of road distances that people travel to reach different services is a key aspect of urban amenity that contributes to high levels of livability within the built environment.
Melbourne with a well-educated population, a growing and sophisticated public consciousness about climate change, recycling and water consumption issues, and yet the city is becoming less sustainable. For all the public sensitivity to ecological sustainability issues in Melbourne, resource-use and carbon emissions continue to grow, including land and energy consumption on a per capita basis. The city’s most problems came from a rapidly growing population. Australia’s inhabitants expected to double in the next 50 years. 90 per cent of people living in just 0.22 per cent of the country’s land area. A large proportion of the population is concentrated in urban areas.
Still worth living in?
Melbourne’s amenities: culture of tolerance, respect, diversity. It has a diverse multicultural population of around four million people. Nearly a third of residents were born overseas, with almost the same percentage speaking a language other than English at home. Life expectancy for Australians continues to be among the highest in the world.
How do we create cities that deliver quality of life everyone? That can pull in global talent but also take care of locals?
The delivery of this vision is a complex and challenging task.
Good urban design and architecture leads to improved livability. It is enhanced through increased safety and security, increased community participation, improved walkability, strengthened cultural identity and by fostering community pride. Well designed, liveable places will become the centre of social and economic activity creating sustainable, long-term return on initial investments.
What we do today, how we plan, manage and change the city will be part of our legacy. Identity transforms spaces into places through its inherent quality of uniqueness. A collection of individual experiences goes to make up your experience of the city and that’s how it should be.
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