Life in Waverton
Residents of Waverton share just what it is about their suburb that makes it so liveable.
Sydney is routinely ranked among the world’s most liveable cities. But which are the most liveable parts of Sydney?
A new Urban Living Index attempts to answer that question. It ranked neighbourhoods to the immediate north and south of Sydney’s central business district – Crows Nest-Waverton and Surry Hills – as the city’s most liveable.
A swag of inner-city areas once known for their industrial, working-class character also rated very well. Pyrmont-Ultimo, Darlinghurst, Waterloo, Redfern and Erskineville all figured in the top 20.
The Urban Taskforce list has ranked 228 Sydney neighbourhoods for liveability. Photo: Rob Homer
The new index, which ranks the liveability of 228 suburban areas in Sydney, was produced by social research firm McCrindle for the Urban Taskforce Australia, an industry group representing property developers.
Rating the liveability of suburbs will always be contentious. An attribute one person loves about a neighbourhood might be repugnant to another.
No measure will ever be perfect and the findings of the Urban Taskforce’s index are bound to spark debate.
The data on 20 separate indicators was used to assess the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of a suburb to determine how liveable it is.
Other indexes take into account attributes such as access to parks and tree cover – but those things are missing from the one prepared for the Urban Taskforce.
Its indicator of suburban “amenity” focused on restaurants and cafes, shopping, arts and culture and educational attendance. Another key indicator – “accessibility” – favoured neighbourhoods where residents could walk to work and get by without a car.
Chris Johnson, chief executive of the Urban Taskforce, said the index aimed for “a more urban version” of indicators like amenity than some others. “We are trying to pick up on the urban essence of a city: thinking of London, Paris, New York or whatever,” he said.
The results show a strong correlation between high-density housing and liveability – seven of the suburbs rated in the list’s top 10 are also among the 20 most densely populated suburbs in Sydney.
Joining Crows Nest-Waverton and Surry Hills in the index’s 10 most liveable neighbourhoods were Pyrmont-Ultimo, Marrickville, Potts Point-Woolloomooloo, North-Sydney-Lavender Bay, Randwick, Chatswood-Artarmon, Leichhardt-Annandale and Neutral Bay-Kirribilli.
Suburbs at the bottom of the league table were a long distance from the CBD. Lethbridge Park-Tregear in Sydney’s west and Bradbury-Wedderburn near Campbelltown received the lowest two rankings.
The analysis also drew on a survey of 1000 Sydney residents about the liveability of suburbs. It revealed deep concern about the cost of housing.
Nearly 90 per cent of respondents said housing affordability is a “massive” or “significant” challenge for their children and following generations.
The survey results suggest Sydneysiders are increasingly comfortable with medium- and high-density housing. It found seven out of 10 respondents had either lived in an apartment or are currently living in one. Of Sydneysiders who have never lived in a high-density setting, 50 per cent said they would consider apartment living.
More than half (57 per cent) said the construction of units and apartments assists affordability.
Mr Johnson said the research showed a new urban culture is evolving in Sydney. “Sydneysiders are adapting to a denser environment based on apartment living as long as amenities and public transport are part of the new urban neighbourhood,” he said.
The survey showed 37 per cent of Sydneysiders expect the infrastructure, transport and accessibility of their local area to improve over the next three years while 14 per cent expected it to deteriorate.
Source: Urban Living Index, Urban Taskforce/McCrindle