The RMIT Urban Observatory is a portal currently under development at RMIT that enables policy makers, planners and members of the general community to access a wide range of indicators relating to the built environment.
The RMIT Urban Observatory is a portal currently under development at RMIT that enables policy makers, planners and members of the general community to access a wide range of indicators relating to the built environment. The indicators currently available for all Australian capital cities span domains including walkability, transport, public open space, housing affordability, employment, and food and alcohol environments. Each indicator has been chosen because it either has been shown to have an association with a health outcome, or because it reflects a government policy. Importantly, the Observatory doesn’t require users to have any special software to visualise the spatial indicators for an area of interest, and instead works with any web browser including those on tablets and mobile phones. Different groups can be granted access to information summarised at different levels; for example, planners might need access to indicators at individual household level whereas members of the general community would be provided with suburb-level data. The Observatory is built on open-source software so that other cities worldwide can leverage the pioneering work being undertaken in Melbourne by the Healthy Liveable Cities group. Plans for the future include capabilities to visualise trends in indicators across time, and allowing users to explore what-if scenarios interactively – that is, making changes to policy settings and seeing how this changes predicted outcomes.