Melbourne could be stripped of ‘world’s most liveable city’

THE world’s most liveable city should be small with a population of around a million and easy to get around.

And that’s not Melbourne. It’s a city where transport is delayed, urban sprawl keeps creeping further and high density apartments are rife.

According to RMIT environmental planning professor Michael Buxton, these are the things that could cause Melbourne to be stripped of its “world’s most liveable city” title this year. Melbourne has held the title on The Economist’s liveability ran

kings for the last five years but Prof Buxton said it could be the end, with European cities doing it better than Melbourne. “We are moving from a city with a population of four million to six million and that’s putting massive strain on existing services,” he said.

Austria’s capital, Vienna, was ranked number two on the liveability list last year and Prof Buxton said Melbourne may be overtaken and never catch up. “European cities value a high number of amenities and that means a lot to the citizens of these areas and they attract tourism, which is very important. Melbourne is not doing well on that at all,” he said.

“European transport systems also may not be as expensive as Melbourne’s and they function much better.”

Prof Buxton believes Melbourne has held on to its liveability title for the past five years because the city looks good on paper.

RMIT professor Michael Buxton believes Melbourne needs to catch up to European cities. Picture: Josie HaydenSource:News Corp Australia
RMIT professor Michael Buxton Source: News Corp Australia

The climate is not as miserable as some European cities and Melbourne’s tram and rail systems appears to cater well to the city.

“But it’s expensive and the problem is it doesn’t function that well,” he said.

Most of Melbourne’s problems came from a rapidly growing population, and smaller scale cities, like Helsinki, Stockholm and Berlin, were more appealing cities to live in.

Prof Buxton said city size had been debated for years and he believed once the population surpassed 1.5 million, that’s when difficulties could arise.

Earlier this year a report from BIS Shrapnel revealed there would be an oversupply of more than 20,000 homes in Melbourne in 2017.

The new liveability ratings are expected to be released this month.

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