Melbourne and Sydney have similar access to public transport overall, but this and other liveability indicators vary greatly across the cities.
Every year, our big cities vie for global liveability honours. But as well as differences between the cities, liveability varies widely within them, leaving plenty of work to be done.
Vienna knocked Melbourne out of its seven-year-long top spot as the ‘world’s most liveable city’.
The world's "most liveable city" ranking is based on an index designed for companies sending their employees overseas. It's not relevant to the average person.
More Australian families are raising children in high-rise apartments.
The number of families living in high-rise, inner-city apartments is growing. Yet our research shows many parents find it challenging to raise children in such housing.
A smart city is usually one connected and managed through computing — sensors, data analytics and other information and communications technology.
As cities become 'smarter', they need more and more objects fitted with technology. We need to think about designing these objects to accommodate computers, which often break down and create e-waste.
The same things tend to make people happy - such as nature and colour. (Jardin des Curiosités, Lyon, France)
We searched Instagram for city images people associated with happiness. And they consistently included similar features, such as water, nature and heritage buildings.
Shepparton residents are clearly disadvantaged by having far fewer daily train services to Melbourne than other regional centres.
Regional areas are expanding, and yet not enough attention is being paid to improving rail access to capital cities. This affects the liveability of the areas.
Have Australian commuters really enjoyed gains in quality of life that would justify all those billions of dollars spent on transport infrastructure?
We spend on average about an hour a day travelling. Given this is unlikely to change, how can we make this time more productive and enjoyable?
Being in a park tends to make people feel more positive, although the time of day and the season also affect their moods.
The positive mood of tweets varies with time of day and season, but it's consistently higher in parks than in built-up areas, where people are more likely to express anger and fears.
Originating in the Netherlands, the concept of ‘woonerfs’, areas designed to invite walking, playing, socialising and cycling while curbing motor vehicles, has spread to cities in other countries, including Berlin.
All around us, the places we inhabit send us physical and visual cues that influence our behaviour. Good design can tilt the balance so our surroundings help us act in ways that fulfil our needs.
Health objectives are at last being integrated into all levels of planning in New South Wales, from cities and towns to local places and buildings.
The connections between city planning and health are many and varied, but getting health objectives integrated into all aspects of planning in New South Wales has been a long struggle.
‘Soft fall’ surfaces are widely used in play areas where children might fall, but can also get very hot in the sun, which undermines this safety benefit.
Brisbane City Council/Flickr
Commonly used surfaces in play areas, such as "soft fall" materials and Astroturf, can heat up to 80-100°C in the sun. This makes them a hazardous design choice, especially as the climate gets hotter.
The White Night festival is an example of Melbourne’s efforts to promote itself as a convivial city.
John Gollings/AAP supplied
Australian cities generally minimise negative attributes such as crime, segregation and violence, but developing positive attributes such as inclusivity appears more challenging.
Children being children can be loud, which creates challenges when they live in an apartment.
In Sydney, families with children now account for one in four households living in apartments. The expectations and design of apartments have not kept up with this rapid demographic change.
It’s important to young Australians to be able to walk and feel safe while doing so.
Victoria Walks ©
The benefits of walking are widely promoted, but most Australian communities still aren't walker-friendly. Young people, who rely heavily on walking to get around, are clear about what has to change.
Hving a pet dog turns out to be a highly car-dependent affair.
Australian cities generally don't allow pet dogs on public transport. Instead, owners need their own vehicle to travel with their dogs, and it's a surprisingly important factor in our car dependency.
The Wray Avenue Solar Parklet by Seedesign Studio is in Fremantle.
Many parklets are privately funded, but these projects often allow for more public participation than more traditional public spaces.
The old Pratt Street power plant in Baltimore in the US is now home to commercial uses. But the heritage preservation is compromised by advertising that is not sympathetic to the building style and design.
Adaptively re-using buildings can preserve heritage while enabling new uses that help make cities more liveable and sustainable.
The right side of the ‘latte line’ in Sydney, looking across Paddington towards Bondi Junction and the eastern suburbs.
The State of Australian Cities Conference begins in Adelaide today. In major cities across the nation, there's a stark contrast between lofty planning goals and the sprawling reality on the ground.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff launch Sidewalk Toronto, a high-tech urban development project.
Toronto has entered a joint venture with a Google sister company to create a high-tech urban development area. The goal is to 're-imagine cities from the internet up' – Google's internet, of course.
Connections between people and between people and places help create vibrant neighbourhoods with a sense of human identity and belonging.
Picture by Tommy Wong
The secret of creating attractive, liveable places sounds deceptively simple: connect people to places, people to transport and people to people.