where to live

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up - DEIRDRE MACKEN

The short an­swer is, close to where you work. In terms of life sat­is­fac­tion and hap­pi­ness, it’s not the size of the home that mat­ters most but the length of time it takes to get from home to work. Many hap­pi­ness stud­ies have made the link be­tween long com­mutes and un­hap­pi­ness and the lat­est in the World Leisure

Jour­nal con­firms that peo­ple with the long­est com­mutes have the low­est over­all sat­is­fac­tion with life.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, Sydney has the long­est av­er­age com­mute at 5.4 hours a week, Brisbane is sec­ond with five hours and Mel­bourne comes in with a re­spectable 4.5 hours – a fig­ure that may re­flect bet­ter pub­lic trans­port. But for one in five Aus­tralians, the com­mute takes 90 min­utes a day – that’s a lot of time to miss ap­point­ments, get stressed and leave the kids kick­ing peb­bles out­side the sports cen­tre.

For most pro­fes­sion­als, liv­ing close to work means liv­ing within 10km of the city cen­tre – the so-called global core. And the ben­e­fits aren’t just about get­ting to break­fast meet­ings or pop­ping back to the of­fice for an 8pm emer­gency. Most pro­fes­sional fam­i­lies need child­care, schools and, even­tu­ally, uni­ver­si­ties to be close by and all those are more avail­able in in­ner-city ar­eas.

The in­flux of fam­i­lies into in­ner ar­eas has re­sulted in some of Sydney’s in­ner sub­urbs hav­ing more fam­i­lies than outer sub­urbs while New York City, once home to the pro­fes­sional sin­gle, now has the same pro­por­tion of pre-school­ers as the rest of the US.

A pro­viso with in­ner-city liv­ing is that ac­cess to open, green spa­ces is vi­tal to men­tal and phys­i­cal health. So, choose an area that has es­tab­lished parks and gar­dens, street plant­ings and a few gyms.

When think­ing about where to live, there are a few other ques­tions that need to be ad­dressed. Does it have good broad­band? Are there restau­rants and cafes that you like/can af­ford? How walk­a­ble is the area? What is the crime record of the area? And, fi­nally, who else lives there? Di­verse pop­u­la­tions and a mix of hous­ing va­ri­eties are known to in­crease an area’s live­abil­ity but it also helps to know fam­ily and friends are nearby.

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