Understanding neighbourhood liveability for older urban Australians

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Understanding neighbourhood liveability for older urban Australians

  • Australia
  • Older People
  • Neighbourhood
  • 120000 Built Environment And Design
  • Liveability


As with other major developed cities, the sub-tropical and fastest growing Australian capital city of Brisbane has adopted policies designed to increase residential densities and meet the liveability and sustainability goal of decreasing car dependence and greenhouse gas emissions. This goal hinges on a pedestrian friendly environment and walkable proximity to satisfy everyday needs. While older people are particularly attracted to sub-tropical urban environments, there has been little empirical evidence linking liveability satisfaction and perceived and actual use of older people’s urban neighbourhood. Using qualitative (diaries and in-depth interviews) and quantitative (Global Positioning Systems and Geographical Information Systems mapping) liveability research data this paper explores whether high density supports liveability and is sustainable for older people living in a sub-tropical urban environment. This paper links satisfaction and perceived use of the sub-tropical urban Brisbane environment with actual mapped characteristics and use. Linking the two methods (both quantitative and qualitative) is important in obtaining a greater understanding of human behaviour and the lived world of older urban Australians and in providing a wider picture of sub-tropical urban neighbourhoods for a significant population group within those neighbourhoods. What emerges from the research is an uneven standard of design, provision of amenities and maintenance of the public realm which negatively impacts on local neighbourhood participation by older urban Australians. By highlighting these issues this research furthers the understanding of design factors which make the sub-tropical urban neighbourhood more liveable and sustainable for older people and will inform actionable and implementable policies, programs and designs.

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