ABC News 24 presenter Kathryn Stolarchuck interviewed Jonathan Daly, Founding Partner, Human Understanding of Social Spaces (HUSS) and Keynote Speaker at the 8th Making Cities Liveable Conference this week in Melbourne. Full transcript of the interview below.

Kathryn Stolarchuck (KS): The Making Cities Liveable Conference is underway in Melbourne and the Victorian capital has been named the ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ for the 4th year in a row. Australian’s enjoy some of the most liveable cities in the world however the futurte of our cities face a number of challenges in the next 10 years.

Jonathan Daley is an environmental psychologist and he joins us from our Melbourne studios. Jonathan, Melbourne has again been named the Most Liveable City – why is that? What makes a city liveable?

Jonathan Daley (JD): Well this is one area that the Conference is looking at in great detail and there has been a lot of criticism of these Liveable City Indexes because the centre of Melbourne is very liveable, very vibrant and fantastic place to be but the middle and outer suburbs there is a very different story and a lot of disadvantage happening in those areas which are less liveable.

KS: The work that you do questions the relationship between people and cities. So what sort of things are you assessing when you look at this relationship?

JD: What we are doing is looking at the relationship between people and their environment -the human habitats we are creating for them. What we are trying to do is understand how well aligned these environments are with the human condition – with the psychology and the physiology.

KS: Now 3/4 of Australians do live in major cities so with such dense populations I imagine public space becomes a big part of city planning.

JD: Absolutely and it is going to become more and more important as we get denser. We are going to get denser there is no question about that. Already there are parts of Melbourne CBD that are planned to have a higher density then Hong Kong so the potential impact on our public spaces is huge. We need to completely rethink how we design these spaces because our current approach is to divide them up and allocate them to many different uses but in the future we are not going to have that luxury so we need to look at more shared spaces in our central areas.

KS: And what are going to be some of the other challenges facing Australian cities in the next decade or so, and how do you plan for these?

JD: The greatest challenge that we face is trying to address the sprawl that has been created over the last 100 years and how we are going to enable people – particularly people living on the fringes – to access jobs and affordable housing and to do  that and have a decent standard of living.

KS: Also looking forwards what do you think some of the big trends in city living will be and what kind of changes can we expect to see?

JD: Some of the trends we are already starting to experience. Across the world we are experiencing a reduction in people driving cars and young people getting drivers licenses. People want to live in cities, want to be closer to other people and want to have good access to everything the city has to offer so people are going to want to live closer into the city and the big challenge that we face is not just providing housing – affordable housing but providing the right kind of housing for them.

About Jonathan Daly, Founding Partner, Human Understanding of Social Spaces (HUSS)

Jonathan Daly is a founding partner at HUSS (Human Understanding of Social Spaces), a design research practice exploring the relationship between the spaces people live, work and play in and human psychology and physiology. He is also a founding partner at The Change Collective, an agency that designs, delivers and evaluates behaviour change campaigns for social good outcomes.

He has an educational background in transportation, urbanism and environmental psychology, and more than 16 years experience in Europe, North America and Australasia, working on a range of public space projects. He is an advisor to the award-winning New Zealand charity Sustainable Coastlines and a member of the policy and research committee of the Amy Gillett Foundation. He is a regular contributor to various blogs, magazines and journals and is currently co-authoring a new book on the role of cycling in the future of sustainable cities.