The 2018 Liveable Cities Conference is being held over 16 – 17 July at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park.
Now in its 11th year, this Conference will continue to explore the liveability of our metropolitan and regional urban centres.
Dr Fiona Gray, Manager Central Geelong & Waterfront at the City of Greater Geelong Council joins us at the conference to discuss ‘Lovability: The rise of the qualitative evaluation of place’.
Numerous indices exist that seek to quantify the liveability of cities. These ‘liveability indices’ increasingly contribute to a broader global awareness of the complex factors that influence people’s decisions to live in particular cities. However, it must be recognised that indices such as the Economist Intelligence Unit, Mercer, and the Monocle have been developed to target specific audiences to suit particular purposes. Each one tells a different story depending on how liveability is defined and measured. While these indices are robust in their assessments, they all share a common gap: none capture the attachment to places that underpins people’s love of living in the cities they seek to measure.
Over recent years there have been various endeavours to address this gap. Place evaluation tools developed by leading placemaking practices are forays into a new area of research and measurement that seeks to find ways to recognise and support investment, document best practice and develop guidelines for bettering our cities in robust and reliable ways. While hard liveability factors such as economic strength, political stability, healthcare, safety, education, transport, and so on, are relatively easy to quantify, soft liveability measures such as ‘love’ are more difficult to assess.
In this paper we discuss some of the emergent Australian based tools addressing this qualitative gap in distinct ways. We discuss how they approach the complex phenomenon of place attachment and explore how theoretical considerations can inform a more holistic approach to the concept of liveability. We then describe work in progress on a Lovability Index: a flexible assessment tool that singularly captures place attachment. In contrast to other approaches, the Lovability Index seeks to operate at a number of scales and across regional and metropolitan areas in order to specifically acknowledge and value the diverse emotional intersections between people and place.
Dr Fiona Gray is a built environment professional with a focused interest in urban development and the processes that shape cities and regions to improve vitality and make meaningful contributions to the management of sustainable futures for people and places. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Centre for Regional & Rural Futures and Manager of Central Geelong and Waterfront at City of Greater Geelong. She is well-positioned to contribute extensive knowledge and experience in building important social, community, health and wellbeing, and liveability indicators that enable governments to improve urban development and regeneration initiatives.
For more information on the upcoming 2018 Liveable Cities Conference in Melbourne and to secure your spot please visit liveablecities.org.au