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Creating liveable and healthy communities


Project title: Reconnecting urban planning with health – The development and validation of national liveability indicators associated with chronic disease risk factors and health outcomes

Start date: June 2014
Estimated end date: May 2016

What is the issue?

In the 19th century, when outbreaks of infectious diseases were linked to poor urban sanitation, it was recognised that city design affected public health. However, links between planning and health later weakened.

Recently there have been calls for public health and planning disciplines to reconnect – this time to create cities that make it easier for people to live healthier lives to reduce their risk of chronic disease.

Across the sectors of public health, transport and planning, there is a push to recommend urban design that promotes active travel, public transport, healthy diets, and public open spaces. The creation of liveable and sustainable communities is a priority of national and international urban policy.

How is the project addressing the issue?

In earlier work, Professor Billie Giles-Corti’s team identified 11 domains of liveability, based on the social determinants of health, that likely contribute to health and wellbeing: crime and safety; education; employment and income; health and social services; housing; leisure and culture; local food and other goods; natural environment; public open space; transport; and social cohesion and local democracy.

This project will identify and test national indicators of liveability to provide evidence for how policies in these domains affect health and wellbeing outcomes.

The researchers are using geographical information systems to spatially create liveability measures for selected domains. These are then tested with selected health behaviours and outcomes. Not only will the policy-relevant liveability measures be validated with chronic disease risk factors, they will also be suitable for monitoring progress towards creating more liveable and sustainable Australian cities.

What are the expected outcomes?

This multi-state project identifies a range of state-level urban planning policies related to selected liveability domains (i.e. alcohol, food, public open space, transport, walkability). These are operationalised spatially and tested with selected health behaviours and outcomes.

Those related to health are being developed as national indicators to provide policy makers and researchers with evidence for understanding the depth of liveability indicators that affect health and wellbeing.

Updated May 2016

Project lead

Project team

Academic team

  • Dr Thomas Astell-Burt, University of Wollongong
  • Dr Hannah Badland, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Paula Hooper, University of WA
  • Dr Jerome Rachele, Queensland University of Technology

Technical team

  • Mr Vincent Learnihan, University of Canberra
  • Ms Suzanne Mavoa, University of Melbourne

Systems investigators

Data broker

  • Dr Serryn Eagleson, University of Melbourne

Advisors

  • Professor Rachel Davey, University of Canberra
  • Dr Xiaoqi Feng, University of Wollongong

NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities national advisors

  • Ms Melanie Chisholm, Heart Foundation
  • Ms Kirsty Kelly, Planning Institute of Australia

The national liveability indicators will be a standard that can be used nationally to measure which built environments work best for health and which don’t. They can also be used to measure liveability differences within and between cities, where progress is being made and where there is room for improvement.

The hope is that the indicators will be a tool for anyone involved in creating healthy neighbourhoods, such as governments, developers and public health planners.

  • In May 2015, a Prevention Centre workshop was held in Melbourne as part of the CRE’s national meeting to identify who was likely to be interested, who would use the indicators, and how best to present the indicators. The meeting included a range of Prevention Centre stakeholders including the Department of Health Victoria, the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the National Heart Foundation, the Victorian Metropolitan Planning Authority and the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning.
  • The spatial measures for testing were identified and created for the following five liveability domains: alcohol, food environment, public open space, transport and walkability.
  • For each of the domains, the GIS measures to be tested against health outcomes have been selected based on reviews of state-level policies conducted for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
  • State-based measures were operationalised spatially and tested with health and wellbeing data.
  • Measures related to health and wellbeing were re-calculated using appropriate national datasets where available to enable comparison.
  • Identification of appropriate indicators for all liveability domains is complete. Analysis is almost complete for all domains. Manuscripts have been published or are currently being prepared for publication.
  • All publications arising from the Prevention Centre will also be disseminated in a layperson ‘infographic’. The aim of this is to increase the reach and appeal of the research to a wide audience, including stakeholders and policy makers.

Papers

2015
2014

 

Presentations

2016
  • Badland H, Giles-Corti B. Liveability: From local to national. CRE in Healthy Liveable Communities Stakeholder Workshop, Melbourne, Australia. 15 March 2016.
2015
  • Badland B, Roberts R, Butterworth I, Giles-Corti B.. How liveable is Melbourne? Conceptualising and testing urban liveability indicators: Progress, issues, and opportunities. State of Australian Cities National Conference, Gold Coast, 6-11 December 2015.
  • Badland H. Conceptualising and measuring urban ‘liveability’. Community Indicators Victoria Local Government Capacity Building Workshop, Melbourne, Australia. 27 October 2015.
  • Badland H. Reconnecting planning and public health: An overview of the National Liveability Study. The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre Early Career Investigators’ Forum, Melbourne, 19 October 2015.
  • Badland H. (Invited Keynote Presentation) Healthy built environments for all: What do we need to consider? Australian Population Health Congress, Hobart, 6-9 September 2015.
  • Astell-Burt T Badland H, Mavoa S, Turrell G, Bull F, Boruff B, Pettit C, Redman S, Bauman A, Hooper P, Villanueva K, Feng X, Learnihan V, Davey R, Chisholm M, Thackway S, Giles-Corti B. Is ‘liveability’ associated with physical activity and dietary behaviours? Developing and validating a set of national liveability indicators. 8th Making Cities Liveable Conference, Melbourne, 6-7 July 2015.
  • Badland H Mavoa S, Villanueva K, Roberts R, Davern M, Giles-Corti B. Creating policy-relevant spatial measures of transport which map to health behaviours and outcomes. International Conference on Transport & Health, London, 6-8 July 2015.
  • Boruff B, Badland H, Mavoa S, Turrell G, Bull F, Pettit C, Redman S, Bauman A, Hooper P, Villanueva K, Astell-Burt T, Feng X, Learnihan V, Collett J, Hurni A, Thackway S, Miller J, Giles-Corti B. The development and validation of national liveability indicators: linking geography, urban policy, chronic disease risk factors and health outcomes in Australia. Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) 2015 Conference, Canberra, 1-3 July 2015.
  • Giles-Corti B, Mavoa S, Hooper P, Villanueva K, Boruff B, Astell-Burt T, Learnihan V, Badland H. Are ‘liveable’ communities associated with physical activity and dietary behaviours? Developing and validating a set of national liveability indicators. 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3-6 June 2015.
  • Badland H, Mavoa S. An overview of The Australian Prevention Centre National Liveability Study and implications for urban planning policy. Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities Annual National Meeting, Melbourne, Australia. 13 May 2015.
  • Boruff B, Badland H, Mavoa S, Turrell G, Bull F, Pettit C, Redman S, Bauman A, Hooper P, Villanueva K, Astell-Burt T, Feng X, Learnihan V, Collett J, Hurni A, Thackway S, Miller J, Giles-Corti B. The development and validation of national liveability indicators: linking geography, urban policy, chronic disease risk factors and health outcomes in Australia. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, US, 21–25 April 2015.
  • Learnihan V Rachele J, Turrell G, David S, Mavoa S, Badland H, Giles-Corti B. Benchmarking policy performance for active living: Developing and validating national transport liveability indicators. Active Living Conference, San Diego, USA, 22-25 February 2015.
  • Badland H. Reconnecting planning and public health: An overview of the National Liveability Study. The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre Governance Board, Sydney, 25 June 2015.
  • Badland H, Mavoa S, Eagleson S, David S, Hooper P, Rachele J, Astell-Burt T, Giles-Corti B.  Identifying and validating policy-relevant, national spatial measures of walkability. 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3–6 June 2015.
  • Feng X, Astell-Burt T, David S, Mavoa S, Eagleson S, Murphy MF, Badland H, Giles-Corti B. Beyond ‘food deserts’? Measuring local food environments in Australian cities (abstract accepted). 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3-6 June 2015.
  • Hooper P, Boruff B, Mavoa S, Badland H, David S, Rachele JN, Astell-Burt T, Giles-Corti B. Are we creating POSitive Places for active living through urban planning policy? Developing and validating national liveability indicators of public open space in Australia (abstract accepted). 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3–6 June 2015.
  • Rachele, J.N., Learnihan, V., David, S., Badland, H., Mavoa, S., Turrell, G., Washington, S., Giles-Corti, B. Benchmarking policy performance for active living: Developing and validating national transport liveability indicators (abstract accepted). 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, Scotland, 3–6 June 2015.
2014
  • Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Presentation to the Prevention Centre’s 2014 Investigators’ Forum, October 2014, Reconnecting urban planning with health: The Liveability Project
  • Badland H, Mavoa S, Eagleson S, David S, Hooper P, Rachele J, Astell-Burt T, Giles-Corti B. Identifying and validating policy-relevant, national spatial measures of walkability (abstract accepted). 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, 3–6 June 2014.
  • Giles-Corti B, Badland B, Mavoa S, Turrell G, Bull F, Boruff B, Pettit C, Redman S, Bauman A, Hooper P, Villanueva K, Astell-Burt T, Feng X, Learnihan V, Davey R, Chisholm M, Thackway S. Is liveability associated with physical activity and dietary behaviours? Developing and validating a set of national liveability indicators. (abstract accepted). 14th International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Edinburgh, 3–6 June 2014.

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