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.
The pilot composite index of urban liveability in Victoria is an extension of previous research undertaken as part of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities. It conceptualises social determinants of health through seven domains of liveability using a socio-ecological framework: employment, food, housing, public open space, social infrastructure, transport, and walkability.
The liveability index was developed to measure the distribution of accessibility and availability of the seven liveability domains hypothesized to support health and wellbeing. It combines these into a policy-relevant and evidence-informed composite index which may be summarised and visualised spatially.
The index will allow integrated urban planning policies for liveable neighbourhoods to be evaluated in terms of how well they are being delivered across the Melbourne metropolitan region, the health impact of the integration of those policies, and to whom. Policies which are (and are not) being delivered may be identified through dis-aggregation of the liveability index into sub-domains, enabling identification of opportunities for future investment. Inequities in liveability across the metropolitan expanse can be interrogated through visualisation and used as exposure covariates in statistical modelling.