Focus on Walkability ‘Can Make LGs a Population Drawcard’

Australians overwhelmingly want to live locally in walkable neighbourhoods close to parks, a new Heart Foundation study has revealed.

The survey also found that a sense of safety is high on the priority list for Australians when deciding where to live.

The foundation surveyed 2895 Australians on “what matters most to them in making neighborhoods desirable, liveable and healthy”, with findings presented in its What Australia Wants: Living locally in walkable neighborhoods report.

Heart Foundation Director, Active Living, Trevor Shilton said: “The ability to ‘live locally’ is enabled by having a neighborhood where the things that you need such as fresh, healthy food, safe neighborhoods streets, and daily destinations are near to your home, ideally in walking distance”. 

He said the survey found that:  

  • 9/10 Australians feel that having access to fresh food within a convenient distance from home is very/somewhat important to them when deciding where to live; 
  • Nearly 9/10 people feel that having a sense of safety is very/somewhat important to them when deciding where to live; 
  • Just over 8/10 value having natural elements such as trees and plants;
  • Around 7/10 Australians value traffic-calming measures;
  • Around 7/10 also value a sense of community;
  • 8/10 people surveyed feel that having quality public open space close to them is very/somewhat important to them when deciding where to live;  
  • Nearly 8/10 people surveyed said it’s very/somewhat important to them that they can be active in their local area.

The research on what makes neighborhoods desirable, liveable and healthy is set within the Healthy Active by Design framework. It is a website created by the Heart Foundation to highlight how best-practice planning and design of buildings, streets, towns, and cities can improve Australians’ cardiovascular health.

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