Creating healthy, liveable and sustainable cities is a major challenge in the face of population growth, social inequalities, traffic congestion, peak oil and increases in non-communicable diseases. Planning and delivering better cities is a local, national and global priority.

Healthy and liveable communities provide the basis for social equity, harmony, economic resilience and environmental and social sustainability. Our work contributes to academic scholarship and aims to inform policies and practices to create healthy liveable communities.

Bringing together a multidisciplinary research team, this program examines the influence of city design and planning on health and wellbeing.

The research is developed in partnership with stakeholders to inform best practice policy and planning through the creation of evidence-based liveability indicators.

The team draws from experience in epidemiology, behavioural science, geography, geomatics, psychology and public health. They use a variety of quantitative and qualitative analyses including geospatial analyses, policy analysis and economic evaluation.

Our priority areas are to:

  • explore the nexus between place, health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on locational disadvantage,
  • examine the extent to which local and state planning policies, including transport, land use and health impact on the social determinants of health,
  • influence future policies to improve population outcomes.

We have a strong focus on research translation and engagement, collaborating with communities, government, non-government organisations and the private sector in health, planning, housing and transport.

We are home to the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable Communities; and are members of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (NHMRC funded and undertaking a National Liveability study); and the Clean Air and Urban Landscape Hub supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme (undertaking a Policy-Relevant Urban Liveability Indicators Study).

Our director is Billie Giles-Corti, a Distinguished Professor at RMIT University and Director of its Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform.

Projects

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable Communities

The Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable and Equitable Communities investigates cost-effective built environment interventions to create healthy, liveable and equitable communities in Australia

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Creating Liveable Cities in Australia – Scorecards

A scorecard and priority recommendations for Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane developed using results from the 'Creating Liveable Cities in Australia' (2017) report.

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Optimising apartment design policy to equitably enhance mental health

This study will generate evidence on the key health enhancing design requirements that should be entrenched in the new Design WA Apartment Design Guidelines.

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Early delivery of equitable and healthy transport options in new suburbs

The project will produce evidence and tools to assist both the public and private sectors provide transport options to residents of Melbourne’s new suburbs as soon as they move in.

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Urban Systems for Liveability

This project investigates the impacts on the lived experience of people in major Australian cities, focusing on the effects of land-use, diffuse air pollution, transport, urban heat and the interconnections between them.

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The Urban Observatory

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.

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Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health

The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) aims to identify cost-effective policies that improve the health of people with disabilities in Australia.

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Creating Liveable Cities in Australia

Creating Liveable Cities in Australia is the first “baseline” measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals.

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The National Liveability Study

This project has developed a set of liveability indicators for alcohol, food, public open space, transport, walkability, affordable housing and access to employment which are now being calculated and mapped for Australian major cities.

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Changing Children’s Chances

Bringing together leading national and international child equity researchers to identify potential ways to reduce early developmental inequities in Australian children.

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Creating liveable and healthy neighbourhoods for young children and families

Does neighbourhood design make a difference to early childhood development (ECD)? This project connects urban design and planning disciplines with ECD to explore the impacts of where we live on young children and families.

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Developing a Pilot Victorian Urban Liveability Index

Researchers are developing a composite indicator of urban liveability for use in policy. It has been conceptualised from a social determinants of health lens and allows for flexible assessment within and between neighbourhoods.

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

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

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Understanding how local and regional accessibility are associated with active travel, and related health and economic impacts

This project models the physical activity and health economic impacts of the ease of walking and cycling to essential destinations within neighbourhoods and commuting in Melbourne.

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Contextualising liveability within a low to middle income country’s city

RMIT urban health experts will help Bangkok city planners tackle liveability challenges facing their city.

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Key People

Lead researcher

Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti

Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti

Director, Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform

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Key Researchers

Higher Degree Research Students

Administration Staff

Honorary & Associate Staff

Related Content

Events

Public participatory GIS mapping methods

In the seminar, guest speaker Tiina Laatikainen, MSc, Doctoral Student at Aalto University, Finland, will introduce the SoftGIS method and its various research as well as planning practice applications.

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Designing Healthy Liveable Cities Conference

By 2050 Australia’s urban population may double, increasing pressure on transport, congestion, infrastructure and housing affordability. Planning that creates compact, pedestrian-friendly and inclusive cities can overcome these challenges. Globally, liveable cities are recognised as part of the solution to chronic disease and health inequities. However, there is a gap between the aspirations of liveability and […]

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News & Blog

Creating healthy cities for all needs collaborACTION

There is over 30 years of research on how aspects of the built environment can be shaped to support health and wellbeing. Despite knowing better, we are still building neighbourhoods without public transport, good parks and footpaths.

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August 2018 edition of The Urban Observer out now

With Australia’s population reaching 25 million this month, the liveability of our cities has become critically important for our national prosperity and sustainability.

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Embracing the chaos

By transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations. Issues of the scale of mass species extinctions or climate change are never going to be solved by a single discipline acting alone. 

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Sydney liveability scorecard reveals urban wins and fails

A new report measuring Sydney’s liveability progress has found that the city is struggling to meet its public transport targets, but other Australian capitals should aim to replicate its ambitious policies.

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New study probes links between apartment design and mental health

Researchers are investigating how to improve apartment design policy to enhance the mental health of residents.

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New book calls for policy to branch out to nature for healthier cities

Dr Cecily Maller’s new book challenges how we create healthy liveable cities and calls for planners and urban policymakers to integrate ways for humans to live better with nature and other life forms.

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Rail access improves liveability, but all regional centres are not equal

Our research on the liveability of regional cities in Victoria has identified an important element: liveability in these areas requires fast, reliable and frequent rail connections to capital cities.

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Urban researcher wins new Thinker in Residence award

Dr Hannah Badland from RMIT Centre for Urban Research has been awarded the prestigious Thinker in Residence by the Australian Health Promotion Association for her contributions to health promotion.

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One in three Australian kids exposed to disadvantage

Almost a third of Australian children experience some form of disadvantage that can have a lasting impact on their development, a new study of more than 5,000 children released today has found.

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New report settles the score on Perth’s liveability

A new report measuring Perth’s liveability progress has found that despite the city’s improvements, it is struggling to meet its targets for policy implementation.

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Some suburbs are being short-changed on services and liveability – which ones and what’s the solution?

Australia’s population has grown by 3.8 million over the last decade. Of the capital cities, Melbourne has grown the fastest – close to 1 million newcomers in the ten years to June 2016.

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City-by-city analysis shows our capitals aren’t liveable for many resident

We know what makes for healthy and liveable communities, which in turn produces massive payoffs. But we often lack comprehensive policies and frameworks to deliver on the promise.

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Ground-breaking urban design study earns international award

Research collaborators from the University of Western Australia and RMIT studying the impact of the design of 73 housing developments on residents’ wellbeing have won a prestigious award.

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Testing public transport policies with travel and health outcomes

Public transport is a marker of a city’s liveability and an important social determinant of health.

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RMIT inspires Bangkok city planners tackling livability issues

RMIT has hosted delegates from Bangkok Metropolitan Government, with the University’s urban experts helping guide innovative solutions for livability challenges facing the Thai capital.

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No dress rehearsal: why we must act now to save our cities

Billie Giles-Corti knows what makes cities liveable. And she says we need to work together to design better urban spaces for everyone.

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Introducing Billie Giles-Corti: Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform Director

This year, RMIT University had the pleasure of welcoming Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti to RMIT’s Enabling Capability Platform (ECP) as the Urban Futures Director.

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Higher-density cities need greening to stay healthy and liveable

Cities are home to more than just people. We also need to accommodate the critters and plants who live in them.

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