Perth lagging in meeting liveability targets

A new report measuring Perth’s liveability progress has found that despite improvements, the city is struggling to meet its targets for policy implementation. A collaborative project between The University of Western Australia, RMIT University and the Australian Catholic University, the report builds on last year’s measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals: Creating liveable cities in Australia. Report co-author Dr Paula Hooper, research fellow with UWA’s School of Human Sciences, said making Perth ‘liveable’ was a policy objective of the State Government but there was a mismatch in some cases between aspirations and the ambition of policy targets. Dr Hooper said while the researchers found Perth had improved in some areas, such as walkability and access to bigger parks, it was lagging in others. “Perth has one of the best targets for the level of density required in new developments – 26 dwellings per hectare is enough to encourage people to walk,” she said. “While its public transport policy target is being achieved, compared with other state capital cities, the policy is modest – that 60 per cent of homes should be within 400m of a bus stop or 800m of a train station. “The city is also creating some walkable communities on the urban fringe, yet many of these communities are not what we would classify as ‘liveable’ since they lack access to transport, employment and infrastructure. “Perth residents have reasonably good access to public open space, and the planning guidelines offer clear guidance for block sizes which help with the walkability of an area, but without increasing density through policy implementation, there simply isn’t enough of a population base to make these areas walkable.” Dr Hooper said the State Government should consider including health and well-being promotion in its planning legislation. The scorecard and priority recommendations for Western Australia review State Government liveability policies in Perth using a scorecard system to indicate where the city is meeting, on par, or falling below its policy targets. The project was funded by the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Federal Government’s National Environmental Science Program, The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities.

The report, Creating liveable cities in Australia May 2018: A scorecard and priority recommendations for Western Australia is available here.

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