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

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

Archive