The High Life project examines the interplay between apartment design policy, the design and location of apartment building, and residents’ health and wellbeing outcomes in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

  • Project dates: 2018

Project End Date: 2021

The HIGH LIFE Study Survey June-July 2018. 

Thank you to everyone who completed the High Life Survey during June-July 2018.  This survey of Melbourne residents is now closed. You can still click here to view The High Life Study Survey Prize Draw Terms and Conditions.

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The HIGH LIFE Study

Australia’s urban landscape has seen a shift towards apartment construction, with apartments now accounting for a third of all new residential building approvals in Australia.  This construction boom has given rise to concerns about the quality, amenity and future versatility of apartment stock, with reports of micro apartments, windowless rooms and poor access to sunlight and air.  Which raises the question – are apartment residents in Australia really living the high life?

Apartment design guidance differs across Australia in its detail, the specificity of requirements, and regulatory basis, with many states providing limited guidance. Could these policies influence the quality of the housing provided, and the health and wellbeing of residents?  The HIGH LIFE Study has been set up to test whether specific apartment design features, and ‘the dose’ of these features, could impact residents’ health and wellbeing.  It aims to provide the policy-specific health evidence needed to help create healthy higher density environments for future generations of apartment dwellers.

What are we doing?

The HIGH LIFE Study is collecting information on apartments constructed in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney in the last 10 years.  Apartments in these cities have been developed with different levels of policy guidance.  Within each city, apartment residents in diverse neighbourhoods will be surveyed, and objective measures of apartment design and wider neighbourhood characteristics (such as access to shops, services, transport and parks) will be created.  We are aiming to collect data on about 300 people, living in 30 different buildings in each city. Data will be used to examine the impact of different apartment design features, as well as the location of the apartment building, on residents’ health and wellbeing.

Project funders and partners

The HIGH LIFE Study is funded by the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway) (#31986).  Dr Sarah Foster is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Award (DE160100140) funded by the Australian Government.  The Study is supported by RMIT University and The University of Western Australia. We have ethics approval from RMIT University (CHEAN B 21146-10/17) and The University of Western Australia (Ref: RA/4/1/8735).

Key People

Lead researchers

Dr Sarah Foster

Dr Sarah Foster

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship

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The High Life: Could apartment design policy improve residents’ health and wellbeing?

Dr Paula Hooper

Research Fellow

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Ms Clover Maitland

Ms Clover Maitland

Project Coordinator

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Alexandra Kleeman

Alexandra Kleeman

PhD Candidate

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