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Healthy, liveable communities: What are the key indicators? Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference, Melbourne, 12-14 November 2012 Carolyn Whitzman, Associate.

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Presentation on theme: "Healthy, liveable communities: What are the key indicators? Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference, Melbourne, 12-14 November 2012 Carolyn Whitzman, Associate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Healthy, liveable communities: What are the key indicators? Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference, Melbourne, November 2012 Carolyn Whitzman, Associate Professor of Urban Planning 2 Billie Giles-Corti, Professor and Director 1 Melanie Lowe, PhD candidate and Research Assistant 1&2 Hannah Badland, Postdoctoral Fellow 1 Melanie Davern, Research Fellow 1 Dominique Hes, Senior Lecturer in Architecture 2 Lu Aye, Associate Professor in Infrastructure Engineering 3 Iain Butterworth, Manager of Public Health and Western Area 4 1 McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, Melbourne School of Population Health 2 Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning 3 School of Engineering 4 Victorian Department of Health, North West Metropolitan Region

2 Presentation Outline Background and aims Literature review methods What is liveability? What are the key determinants of liveability? What is an indicator? What kinds of liveability indicators are most promising and useful to our program’s work? Feedback from you (Image: The Age)

3 Background ‘Liveability’ has surfaced as a powerful discourse in urban policy and the planning literature in Australia and internationally. Australian cities tend to fare well in populist measures of liveability, but there are growing concerns about issues likely to undermine liveability. A diverse range of indicators have been used to measure liveability. However, little attention has been paid to the validity of liveability measures or their usefulness for research, policy and practice.

4 Project Aims Examine definitions of ‘liveability’ as it is used in both academic and policy literature. Explore the relationship and overlap between liveability, sustainability and the social determinants of health. Identify indicators being used internationally to measure liveability. Evaluate indicators in terms of their strengths and weaknesses and their usefulness for the larger Place, Health and Liveability research program. Eventually contribute to the development of a comprehensive, validated and policy-relevant liveability index. (Photo sources: Sydney Morning Herald, The Age)

5 Project 1: Walkability Place, Health and Liveability: A large research program developed since July 2011 Project 2: Liveability Project 3: Link to DH data Project 4: Evaluation of impact of planning policies on health AURIN funding Community Indicators Victoria, McCaughey Centre – GIS support. Two StrAPA scholarships, one APA and one MIRS scholarship. ARC Application? Interdisciplinary seed grant Project 5: NW Region Data Integration Project AURIN funding

6 Inter-disciplinary Research Team Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning Associate Professor Carolyn Whitzman (Planning) Dr Dominique Hes (Architecture) Melbourne School of Population Health Professor Billie Giles-Corti (Social and behavioral epidemiology) Dr Hannah Badland (Social epidemiology, public health) Dr Melanie Davern (Psychology) Melanie Lowe (Public health) Melbourne School of Engineering Dr Lu Aye (Engineering) Victorian Department of Health – NWMR Iain Butterworth (Manager of Public Health)

7 Methods Electronic databases searched to identify academic literature plus relevant reports and websites Some ‘snowballing’ (research team and other experts recommending sources) Over 100 indicators identified – two half-day workshops to sort indicators into key ‘domains’ and select those most promising

8 Methods: Evaluation Criteria 1.Is the indicator significant to liveability and/or the social determinants of health in urban areas? 2.Is the indicator specific and quantifiable? 3.Can the indicator be measured at the appropriate level(s) and scale(s), so that different local areas can be compared (ie., intracity, not intercity) 4.Is the indicator relevant to Australian public policy?

9 What is liveability? No agreed definition: –Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission State Enquiry (2008, p. xxi): “Liveability reflects the wellbeing of a community and comprises the many characteristics that make a location a place where people want to live now and in the future”. –A function of the relationship between the local environment and the social life it sustains. Our conceptualisation, based on the literature: –A liveable place is one that is safe, attractive, affordable and sustainable, where people can live in a socially inclusive community with appropriate housing, and within walking, cycling or rapid and reliable public transport distance to employment and education, social and health services, healthy food, and good quality public open space. Very similar to the social determinants of health - “circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age” (WHO 2012)

10 Liveability and the Social Determinants of Health Source: Barton and Tsourou (2001), drawing on Dahlgren and Whitehead (1993)

11 What is an indicator? “An indicator is a measure, or set of measures, that describes a complex social, economic or physical reality, and a measure is one data point that acts as a gauge to tell us how well or poorly we are doing with respect to an indicator” (Balsas, 2004, p. 104). Can be objective (eg., GIS data or crime rates) or subjective (eg., fear of crime). Can be measured at the individual or community/built environment level. Can measure an input (eg., pedestrian infrastructure) or an intermediary outcome (eg., walking rates).

12 Determinants and intermediary outcomes of liveability

13 11 Policy Areas Community Development Crime and Safety Education Employment and Income Entertainment, Leisure and Recreation Food and Shops Healthcare and Social Services Housing Natural Environment Public Open Space Transport

14 Crime and safety indicators Objective: – Crime rates (total crime rates, or separated into violent and property crime rates) Subjective: – Perceptions of public or personal safety (during the day and night) Less relevant indicators for Australia include: –Threat of military conflict –Lighting standards

15 Education indicators Objective: –People aged years with year 12 or higher qualification –% aged years old not engaged in work or study –Test scores for reading and maths –Proximity to secondary schools and higher education Subjective: –Are there opportunities in your community where older adults can continue learning? –Are school available within walking distance? Less relevant : –Availability of private education

16 Employment and income indicators Objective: –Employment/unemployment rates –Number of retail businesses –Income levels (lots of indicators to choose from) Subjective: –E.g., Variety of employment opportunities (needs further development) Less relevant: –Job growth percentage change –Average cost per job created

17 Entertainment, leisure and recreation indicators Most indicators need further development Majority of measures are concerned with the amount of entertainment and recreational opportunities and venues Can we measure actual participation in particular activities (instead of ‘are there enough opportunities’ or ‘# of venues or activities’)? Gambling indicators?

18 Food Indicators Objective: –Density of fast food restaurants (especially useful if compared to the density of fresh food outlets) –Shopping basket costs –Urban agriculture measures (need further development) Subjective: –Have there been any times in the last 12 months when you have run out of food? Alcohol outlets?

19 Healthcare and social services indicators Again, not great indicators Objective: –Number of GPs/population (Number of bulk billing GPs is also relevant) –Elderly day care places/population over 65 –Number of hospital beds Subjective indicators (these mostly need further development): –Access to public toilets –Access to childcare and youth services –Quality of telecommunications

20 Housing indicators Objective: –Median house price –Households with housing costs 30% or more of gross income –Population density (people per hectare) –Land use mix measured by GIS –Homelessness rates? Subjective measures: – Generally need further development

21 Natural environment indicators Objective: –Air quality (eg., concentration of CO2) –Water quality and quantity –Climate –Biodiversity Weeds, pests and soil quality?

22 Public open space indicators Objective: –Amount of green and open space (total acreage measured by GIS) –Distance to open space, or walking access to open space Subjective: –Perception of access to public open space –Perception of quality of public open space –Are there parks that cater to youth? –Are there are safe play spaces for children?

23 Social cohesion and inclusion indicators Almost exclusively subjective indicators Most need further development Subjective: –I feel like I belong in my community –Does your local government provide adequate opportunities for input into planning? –Do you know your neighbours?

24 Transport indicators Objective: –Journey to work - mode share –Percentage of the population that regularly cycles or walks –Density of street connectivity –Travel time to work –Traffic accident rates Subjective: –Perception of public transport accessibility and affordability –Perception of pavement quality

25 Over to you Any questions? What kinds of indicators are most useful to your work? How would you like to use indicators to better model outcomes?

26 For more information: A/Prof. Carolyn Whitzman Melanie Lowe


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