By Susan Rudland | 1 Sep 2016

There has never been a more opportune or exciting time to talk about liveability. Urbis used data from the ORU Omnibus Survey which draws upon their panel of Australian consumers. The survey included panel members from all Australian states and territories, including metropolitan and regional areas. 

Community infrastructure makes a key contribution to liveability and the survey results suggestthe importance of planning, designing and delivering community infrastructure in a way that is tailored to local context and population needs. 

Liveable vibrant cities.. are an absolute key priority of every level of government

Malcolm Turnbull, 2015

What do survey respondents think are the three most important qualities of a liveable city?

Qualities of a liveable city

There was a much more complex story when we looked deeper. The following represent statistically significant differences based on a range of demographics. Different segments of the survey respondents had different preferences when selecting their top three qualities of a liveable city. 

Top 3 qualities - all

Access to reasonable quality affordable housing was clearly a key issue for our respondents – being the most frequently selected quality of a liveable city. This was consistent across all states and territories, with at least half of all respondents choosing affordable housing in their top three across Australia.

Housing affordability

Percentages indicate the proportion of participants from each state that chose access to reasonable quality housing in their top three most important qualities of a liveable city. 

While it became clear to us that housing affordability was important, we also wanted to understand a bit more about respondents’ confidence in their ability to purchase their own home. So we asked them:

How likely do you think it is that you will be able to buy your own home?

Over half (55%) of all respondents already owned their own home or were currently paying off a mortgage. Of those who did not currently own a home, over a third thought it was not at all likely that they would ever own a home. A further third thought it was slightly to somewhat likely, and a final third thought it was moderately to extremely likely.

Home ownership


Community infrastructure can play an important role in facilitating social connections. We thought it would be interesting to explore the connection respondents have to their immediate neighbourhood.

How often do you talk to your neighbours?

If survey respondents were a population of 10 people, 3 people would rarely or never speak to their neighbours, and only 1 person would speak to their neighbours daily.

Social connection

Is Queensland the friendliest state?

Respondents located in all states were likely to speak to their neighbours weekly. But Queensland had the highest proportion of respondents who reported speaking to their neighbours daily, and one of the lowest proportions of people who reported rarely or never speaking to their neighbours.

Who else is likely to speak to their neighbours?

Sunshine wasn’t the only factor that affected how people responded. Respondents were more likely to have reported speaking to their neighbours if they were on lower incomes, if they lived in regional areas and if they were living with a partner.

Urbis’ national team provides specialist advice in community infrastructure planning across a range of contexts. We work in all states and territories, in in-fill, greenfield and regional contexts.

The Urbis Social Planning team knows what makes communities tick, the services they use and the places they love. Whether for newly formed communities or existing neighbourhoods, we develop solutions that encourage community health and social wellbeing, meet the needs of different stakeholders and create the social fabric and identity associated with that community.

We are well placed to assist with the planning, development, revitalisation and renewal of communities including:

  • Community consultation and engagement
  • Managing density through strategic, integrated neighbourhood planning
  • Social infrastructure analysis and strategy
  • Needs and demand analysis for community infrastructure services and facilities
  • Integration of community and affordable housing in mainstream developments
  • Place making, community development and activation.

Contact one of the team to find out more: 

Susan Rudland View Profile
Stephanie Wyeth View Profile
Julian Thomas View Profile
Leila Collins View Profile
David Somek View Profile