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Digital Platform to Map Liveability of Major Cities in Australia

Australian Urban Observatory

An Australian first, ground-breaking new digital platform is set to transform how liveability in major cities across the country is mapped.

According to a recent press release, the Australian Urban Observatory is an essential new online tool for government and industry.


The platform is for policymakers wanting to improve the health and liveability of their cities to developers looking for the next suburbs to invest in.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp launched the Observatory at RMIT University’s signature research and innovation event called, Engaging for Impact 2020.

The platform was developed by the University’s health and urban researchers.

It is based on research knowledge about public health and urban environments and brings together critical data on easy-to-use maps the first time in Australia.

Dr Melanie Davern, lead investigator from the University’s Centre for Urban Research, explained that the simplicity of the data could help anyone develop a clear understanding of real liveability.

They could be policymakers, planners, developers and students to members of the general community.

About the Platform

Drawing on over eight years of research findings by the RMIT Healthy Liveable Cities Group, the Observatory maps liveability indicators across the country’s 21 largest cities and measures liveability across cities, council areas, suburbs and neighbourhoods.

The data were taken out of the tables and placed in a map in order to display a real-world view of how this information exists in the cities and where changes can be made in urban design and planning to really influence the health and liveability of Australian cities.

Policymakers who are looking to encourage active lifestyles for residents can easily access and understand key ingredients of liveability so they can decide which areas and people need resources the most.

The key ingredients include walkability, access to schools, public transport, and public open spaces.

It is even possible to examine other neighbourhoods and suburbs across the country to find out what is working in comparable geographic areas.


Developers looking for the next place to invest can find indicators for whole suburbs or narrow down to individual neighbourhoods.

With the use of detailed liveability indicators, they can determine exactly which areas are the best places for new development or support future investment.

The Observatory uses geographic information system (GIS) spatial maps to display public health data across the areas of liveability such as walkability, public transport, social infrastructure and services, employment, food, housing and public open space.

The platform provides users with detailed information about their communities and the local factors influencing physical and mental health.

The Observatory is creating a new national resource of liveability indicators needed to identify, measure, monitor and target responses to critical social, economic and environmental challenges, which are arising with Australia’s rapidly growing population.

Each indicator in the platform has been chosen because it is associated with health outcomes and is connected to government policies.

They have been designed so that all Australians can learn more about the connection between health and urban planning, and how they support the planning of healthy, equitable and sustainable cities.

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