Measuring Up?: Assessing the Liveability of Australian Cities
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In recent years, a number of liveability and benchmarking indices and studies have been published to assess the relative position of various 'global cities' against each other in various categories. These liveability measures are typically used as a tool to make comparisons between cities with various outcome 'scores' receiving widespread media attention. Results are increasingly publicised by cities that score highly, particularly to secure business and human capital, and by companies to determine remuneration and conditions for expatriates. In Australia, there has been considerable attention devoted to focusing more on the general quality-of-life of a city from the perspective of existing citizens under the guise of 'liveability'. There is growing evidence that such measures are being taken up increasingly by larger urban local governments to track progress in improving elements of liveability in the community. However, to date, there is no established theoretical framework or uniform definition of liveability. This paper seeks to 'unpack' both a) the liveability literature as it applies to Australia's cities and b) the range of measurement and indicator frameworks that currently purport to assess urban liveability. In doing so, the paper will draw attention to the significant gaps that exist in both these literatures, particularly with respect to comprehensively understanding urban quality of life. An alternative paradigm that draws on the more considered and burgeoning international community wellbeing indicators movement will be proposed as a more helpful means of sustaining progressive urban social and public policy.
State of Australian Cities: National Conference
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Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment