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Studies show that Australian cities do not meet health and sustainability thresholds


There should be comprehensive planning at all levels of government so that Australia does not lag behind in creating livable cities that promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles, says an urban design expert.

Professor Billy Giles-Courty of RMIT led Lancet Global Health studywhich assesses the experience of urban design, transport and health policy in 25 cities around the world.

The study found that Australian cities are less likely to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles than some low-income global counterparts, thanks to poor access to public transport and car-oriented design.

The study, which looked at 25 cities around the world, including Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, found that these cities did not meet health and sustainability thresholds.

The study found that most Australians lived in areas that did not meet the density and accessibility thresholds in line with the World Health Organization’s goals of promoting physical activity.

Only 37 to 44 percent of the population in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne lived in high-walking neighborhoods.

It was much lower compared to Sao Paulo (97 percent), Hong Kong (96 percent) and Mexico City (87 percent).

A low-density environment is a problem

Professor Giles-Courty believes that density thresholds in Australia are too low as a result of government policies that have focused on creating a “very low density environment”.

“The number of people living in the area will determine how many shops and services there are in the area,” she said.

“So if you have a very small number of people living in the area, then that’s not enough to support local shops and services,

“Our density is very low, so we have big, sprawling cities where it’s all very scattered.”

“(Alternative) is what I call ‘wonderful density of life’ if you have all the necessary destinations within 10 or 15 minutes of walking from people’s homes.” “Professor Billy Giles-Courty.”

However, increasing density alone without infrastructure is not a solution, said Professor Giles-Courty.

“If you just make density without ensuring that stores and services are close to these people, it means you’re just creating a higher growth density.

“(The alternative is what I call the‘ magnificent density of life ’, where you have all the necessary destinations within a 10-15 minute walk from people’s homes).

“Now it’s important for the likelihood that people will walk and use driving alternatives.”

More comprehensive planning

Professor Giles-Corti says integrated city planning is crucial and should start from the top down.

“(It should be) horizontally at all levels of government, so that each of the departments sang from the same book of hymns,” she said. Government News.

However, vertical integration was needed, as in the case of City Deals.

“I think it needs to be expanded to go beyond a small number of urban deals,” says Professor Giles-Courty.

“The government needs to develop a policy that will give the cities we want and then control over time.” “Professor Billy Giles-Courty.”

“The federal government is painting a big picture in infrastructure, but policy integration will be from the federal to the local government, and I think that’s very important.”

Measurable standards

Ultimately, a different city government as well as measurable standards and goals are needed to provide the cities that Australia needs.

Professor Giles Corti says her research shows that cities can be compared and controlled.

“They can inform us about how we have developed our cities in the future and what we are actually achieving.

“We need to ensure that we provide cities for the citizens we serve that are healthy and sustainable in the future.” “Professor Billy Giles-Courty.”

“This is incredibly important given the pressure we are now feeling to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Cities would be not only healthier in terms of personal health, but also in terms of planetary health.”

The government needs to develop rules and create a level playing field that businesses can respond to, she says.

“The government needs to develop a policy that will give the cities we want and then control over time.”

Professor Giles-Courty and her team created tools for other cities to replicate the indicators they developed.

They also created Australian Urban Observatorywhich includes these figures for 21 Australian cities, including major regional cities.

The team will also launch a data city project and create an interactive website.

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