How to mea­sure your sub­urb’s live­abil­ity

A new ‘L’ word has cropped up along­side the old real estate mantra of ‘lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion,’ with more home­buy­ers fo­cus­ing on the live­abil­ity of their prospec­tive new home.

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Amea­sure of the liv­ing con­di­tions in a city or sub­urb, live­abil­ity refers to fac­tors that im­pact on daily life, such as safety, in­fra­struc­ture and en­vi­ron­ment.

The Econ­o­mist In­tel­li­gence Unit lists the world’s most live­able cities in their an­nual Global Live­able Cities In­dex, with Vienna this year usurp­ing Mel­bourne’s top spot.

On a more lo­cal level, the CSIRO’s Cen­tre for Live­abil­ity Real Estate helps real estate agents pro­mote the fea­tures that im­prove com­fort, de­crease a home’s run­ning costs, and en­hance life­style.

Some de­vel­op­ers also mea­sure live­abil­ity within their com­mu­ni­ties, us­ing res­i­dent feed­back and customer re­search to in­form and pri­ori­tise the de­sign, plan­ning and con­struc­tion of the key com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties that mat­ter most to res­i­dents. The Stock­land Live­abil­ity In­dex, which has been run­ning since 2011, sur­veys over 2000 res­i­dents across 40 Stock­land com­mu­ni­ties na­tion­ally.

When it comes to buy­ing a new home, look be­yond your prop­erty’s bound­aries to the lo­cal area, com­mu­nity and ameni­ties to see how your sub­urb ranks when it comes to live­abil­ity. Here’s how to mea­sure your sub­urb’s live­abil­ity.

ARE YOU WELL CON­NECTED?

The trend to­wards walk­a­ble neigh­bour­hoods is spread­ing, as more peo­ple take up the life­style and health ben­e­fits of switch­ing SUVs for sneak­ers. Are you able to walk to the shops to pick up a litre of milk or loaf of bread?

Com­mu­ni­ties awarded the Green Build­ing Coun­cil of Aus­tralia’s high­est rat­ing of six green stars, have shown ‘world lead­er­ship’ across en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic and so­cial sus­tain­abil­ity mea­sures. Stock­land is a na­tional leader in

Green Star com­mu­ni­ties, with eight of its res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments boast­ing 5 Star or 6 Star Green Star rat­ings.

Along with mak­ing daily drop-offs eas­ier, liv­ing close to schools and parks means friends will be nearby, sim­pli­fy­ing play dates and par­ties.

ARE THERE GREEN SPA­CES?

Whether you’re look­ing for a tree-change or an in­ner-city apart­ment, make sure there are places nearby where you can soak up some sun­shine, see plants change through the seasons, or hear the birds singing.

The bio­philia hy­poth­e­sis, pop­u­larised by so­cio-bi­ol­ogy the­o­rist Ed­ward O. Wil­son in the 1980s, sug­gests that hu­man be­ings have a nat­u­ral affin­ity with na­ture, and sub­se­quent re­search has found that peo­ple who live near parks or na­ture re­serve have lower lev­els of stress, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

Stock­land found that a con­nec­tion to the lo­cal nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, parks and open spa­ces is highly val­ued among res­i­dents and their en­joy­ment of their home and com­mu­nity, ac­count­ing for al­most a quar­ter of all live­abil­ity driv­ers.

ARE YOU IN­SPIRED TO GET AC­TIVE?

Pic­turesque walk­ing trails, cy­cle paths, out­door gyms, play­grounds and dog parks pro­vide a strong in­cen­tive to get off the couch and ex­plore your new sub­urb.

Ameni­ties such as these are in­te­gral to Stock­land’s de­vel­op­ments, and the Live­abil­ity In­dex shows that they’re im­por­tant to and em­braced by res­i­dents.

DO YOU FEEL A SENSE OF BE­LONG­ING?

There’s noth­ing bet­ter than walk­ing down the street and greet­ing your neigh­bour or re­ceiv­ing a friendly note in the mail to let you know there’s a party on next week­end. It’s these ges­tures that make you feel at home.

In a well-planned com­mu­nity, meeting your neigh­bours comes more nat­u­rally than de­cid­ing to knock on the door with a plate of cook­ies. Com­mu­nity recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, com­mon ar­eas like walk­ing trails, and events are great ways to con­nect with fel­low lo­cals, pro­vid­ing am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to get to know the fa­mil­iar faces in your area.

A truly live­able home re­quires out-of-the-box think­ing – lit­er­ally. By look­ing be­yond your prop­erty’s bound­aries to the lo­cal area, com­mu­nity and ameni­ties, you’ll find the per­fect home to im­prove qual­ity of life for you and your fam­ily.

By look­ing be­yond your prop­erty’s bound­aries to the lo­cal area, com­mu­nity and ameni­ties, you’ll find the per­fect home to im­prove qual­ity of life for you and your fam­ily.

Mea­sur­ing live­abil­ity scores within ex­ist­ing com­mu­ni­ties helps to shape fu­ture projects. Pic­ture: High­lands, Vic­to­ria.

A con­nec­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment is highly val­ued when choos­ing where to live. Pic­ture: Au­gus­tine Heights, Queens­land.

Shared recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties al­low res­i­dents to con­nect with one an­other and feel part of some­thing big­ger.

Be­ing con­nected and liv­ing close to parks and shops strength­ens the com­mu­nity vibe. Pic­ture: High­lands, Vic­to­ria.

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