Hooray for the Urban Living Index: A new evidence base to help urban planners & policy makers

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The co-authors of the newly developed Urban Living Index – The Urban Taskforce and McCrindle Research – rightly state that the challenge in planning for Sydney’s future is to ensure that population growth does not compromise its “world-beating lifestyle”. By tracking five key categories that produce a measure of liveability in a city, the Index is a great first step in developing an evidence base to monitoring changes as the Sydney metropolitan area as it grows – both outwards and upwards.

A key theme in most media reporting about the Index is that upwards growth – through increased residential density – is the way to ensure high levels of amenity and accessibility are maintained as Sydney grows, and that a reliance on outwards expansion may compromise such liveability standards. Although the Index broadly shows that denser residential areas rate highly from a liveability perspective, we need to dig a bit deeper to understand what it is about these areas that make them liveable. It is not just a case of these highly rated areas being dense, which is actually just a relative measure of compactness. There are many more factors at play than compactness in making a place liveable and sustainable.

The structure of the overall city, with its public transport and road network and its layout of employment and retail locations, influences transport choice more than most other factors. At the local level, good walking and cycling connectivity to local shopping and public transport services is the key to how we move around. Of course, there is also the influence that individual behaviours, intentions and beliefs have on how a community might inhabit and use places and spaces. Density also plays a role, especially population density, as this helps underpin social and economic sustainability in local areas. But density is not the end game – far from it.

For example, the Index shows that Marrickville has a relatively low high density component for an inner city area (40%) but a very high liveability ranking. On the other hand, Woollahra has a higher high density component (50%) but a relatively low liveability ranking for an inner urban area. If one interrogates the rankings, you’ll see that Marrickville ranks highest for accessibility (which considers the factors I mention above), whereas Woollahra has a relatively low ranking for accessibility. This example, and there are many others across the metropolitan region, shows that higher density areas do not necessarily guarantee higher levels of accessibility.

The upshot of policy makers and planners thinking that increased density inevitably produces more liveable and sustainable urban areas has resulted in, until recently, a saturation of multi-level apartment construction in infill areas. And some of these areas have been bereft of the factors that the Index shows achieves high levels of amenity: within walking distance to rail or priority light rail and bus routes that connect to employment locations; within walking distance to a plentiful supply of local shops and services; well-connected and safe walking and cycling routes; and a range of different residential options that help create a vibrant social mix of different family types.

I think the Index helpfully shows that density is just part of the story. The Index is comprised of twenty separate measures- and many of these are not at all reliant on densification. As I’ve shown above, we cannot simply assume that areas of high density automatically generate liveable and sustainable outcomes. There are simply too many factors at play to make this conclusion.

Dr Michael Grosvenor, Principal MGC

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare


Last 150 Articles


Tags

sydney metro New South Wales bondi communications prince george Sydney Adelaide 1975 demographer census results schools ageing population Christmas season The ABC of XYZ innovative trend Australia Day easter Res Vis commuters relevant rental stress waverton teachers Christmas lunch Performance Sentiment Index Jura Australia baby names australia report growth generation Z work from home Work place office celebration communicate public speaking financial independence future anzac January 26th university degree jobs presentation community engagement baby name sydneycity teaching Macquarie University Sydney Hills Business Chamber ethnography housing renting high density average Australian economic social life Scouts social lives giving Western Australia ABS gig economy plans high school volunteering data future of education wealth and income distribution huffington post culture cost Love politics social shifts dessert ACF 2016 Financial Planning Week work Bathburst social trends Tuesday Trends optus my business awards cartodb business criminal state consumerism capital city equip ashley mckenzie states income rule keeper food insecurity media release logan donation organisational culture the average aussie not for profit research Research Executive trends analyst greatness online tips forum media collaborative learning infographic wall research services urban living dreaming screenage royal FPA business performance unemployment megatrends friendship NT conference presentation authenticity casual donate mythbusters infographic mover and shaker middle class Real Estate Northern beaches Event bureau insight workplace culture google for education etiquette millenials younger generations Caregiver research data millennials volunteers the hills shire demographic transformations analysis hills faux-cilising Valentine’s Day paying to work brands eliane social researcher Births house price rise Crime Rates population milestone rain healthy future future-proof Channel 7 visualisation mobile crows nest employmee Gen Y increasing densification australian curiosity 24 million energy professional development suburbs Financial Planning Association of Australia rise of local earnings World Water Day FOMO data analyst Australian communities wage retirement events 10 years The Daily Edition tattoos shopping centre Engineering Manager facts school satisfaction ACF17 Education Future Forum 23 million safe South Australia toys typical australian australians staying home more sydneysider sunburnt country wealth distribution PSI quote Northern Territory wedding employers low density group Tuesday Trend student spirituality government JOMO proactive Aussie household gig Lower Hunter Region Jura Coffee belief earning work-life trends of 2016 socialising slideshare housing affordability family Queensland: QLD gender travelling February 16 2013 holidays parenting budget education future townhouses personal growth Kirsten Brewer Australian Bureau of Statistics focus group study TEDx change Royals Maxim Accounting changing face of sydney house price school students System's Architect CBD australia storytelling click award speajer choice workers internships baby names optus trends of 2017 emerging technologies breakfast charity winter Canberra new office cancelling event "know the times" teleworking engage social enquiry princess charlotte residents live the dream debt cancel plans optimistic survey presentations ACF2017 property work mates city housing growth news SMSF learner holiday mccrindle in the media community 2016 Hornsby Shire Council social analysis census data sector Real Estate Institute of Victoria Mark McCrindle in the media tertiary education VIC property market entrepreneurial daily telegraph professional services cash suburban living baby boomers organisations christianity entertainment financial planning hills shire socialites Business analysis CPI environmental scanning leadership workshop divorce Sydney’s south west menai geomapping culturally diverse mortgage media commentary shopper's pick society emerging generations program 2020 medicine sydney hills baby name predictions Wellington pharmacies baby names report generation alpha deloitte generational trends capital cities land of the middle class in the media high density apartments global manly communities learn meals mccrindle rising house prices litter generation workshop engagement sydney event trend tuesday Kiwi faith Elderslie-Harrington park baby name trends high density living DESTEL 1968 economy chairty impact educhat food bank train conferences care support Australian Dream English entrepreneur Christchurch volunteer spend newspaper affordable the changing face of small business tableau future proofing showreel Netflix ease of travel going out thrive interactive Do It Yourself property price investor focus groups acf15 qualitative research social local communities forecasting investment online shopping Mount Annan-Currant Hill Generation Y trends pyrmont census fail urban taskforce households marriage teacher social media stats Hunter Valley winter blues generations marketing Australian demographics outsourcing friends volunteering parents national wealth debate dreams product media activity NBRS Architecture Australian Communities Trends home sector wide study nfp society trends technology public speaker demographic travel neutral bay Australian Families 2015 future proof local the australian dream wolloomooloo #censusfail NBRS HSC mother's day youth unemployment education research royal family group session customer employmer meetings urban living index Territory Word Up renter of the future workplace Hills Shire Council real who is generation z tv careers workforce mining boom daily commute McCrindle Speakers research on coffee Vocational education demographics micro builders lifestyle church jobs of the future priorities shifts social analyst define TAS Duchess of Cambridge financial future christmas happiness moderators guide marriages Queensland New Zeland not for profit Australian schools gen alpha video EFF learning styles financial WA Northern Beaches Christian School wealth water cancelling plans lalor park poker master panel local community Australia Day 2017 wealth inequality sustainable mythbusting royal baby university Charlotte career divorce rate participants skills population growth responsive cloudy days McCridle Australian Population finance the great screenage car earn fears forecast domestic 1994 world youth day ageing SA pharmacy What is food insecurity? 40 million father's day ultimo Australian Trends goals gen z village digital results fresh Christmas presents overcast the lucky country brand experience REIV National Conference suburb dream cold Australian Home Lower Hunter supply and demand office opening Skilling Sydney population innovation graphs public holiday owning a home educated data 2016 census results year 7 futurist language alpha Mark McCrindle follow cultural diversity cooking young people charities NEETs Australian Census TED talk weekly earnings IT Specialists families cost of living hopes repayments leader australian communities forum australian social research office space Geoff Brailey Social Trend perth environment seasons home ownership 2014 2016 census financial fears Financial Planning Association urban mccrinlde buildings sydneysiders tuesday staff ashley fell insights Tasmania cultural diveristy population award winner SMART rent Melbourne children NFP event goal DIY mentor Channel Seven Myth summer salary hello fresh consumer staying in monarchy grandparents Australia street personalities story life social impact REIV Conference conference speaker infographics SRE child care omnibus Merry Christmas Willowdale list keynote speaker twentyseventeen Population Clock non profit religion survey design crime Cobbitty-Leppington commute mccrindle tea apartments school teach community event bus sentiments vegetarian australian communities trends report social commentary demography not-for-profit research pack Assistant Store Manager victoria census 2016 housing trends experience cica millionth couple ACT Report global generations social issues emerging trends motivate purpose report blaxland youth 24,000,000 stay home Research Director annual income future of work Generation X speakers Deaths home owner Australians relational world average sydneysider area house prices ferry Australian community trends vegemite Northern Beaches event commuting google affordability ACT kate middleton trades royal influence screenagers snapshot know the times population map shopping christian baby communication national private wealth James Ward Wagga Wagga baby boom ipswich employment demographic trends shbc resource growing population visual coffee networking woolworths census sunny days VET 2012 moreton bay wellbeing aged care narcissism Sydney keynote speaker house weather publication coffee lovers men social commentator social research TED young australians cars living internet aged care puzzle Wodonga selfie poor 1980 TDE money hobart long weekend professional presenters sydney speaker apartment ideas brisbane global financial crisis investing case study social change aussie culture keynote public transport rich sector wide intern micro apartments clothing the hills easy rider statistics recap conference post rationalism new york times average aussie national crime rates research faux-cilise leadership future of shopping growth of sydney marrickville wealth and income mateship speaker year 12 research report offenders business index faux-ciliser dare to dream education entrepreneurs of today identity education future report darwin professional speaker New Zealand women resilience collaboration training NSW australian community trends report GPO data visualisation Andrew Duffin social researchers housing market Gen X financial dreams grave decision sun brand hornsby schools students Aussies wages mccrindle research internship unaffordable australian real estate thought leadership in depth interviews norwest students speakers pack professional challenge names 2017 eliane miles sports market research gold coast hunger ACF potts point tea balance VET sector researcher food education sector contiki research visualisation transport

Archive