Suburban liveability in Melbourne: a narrative approach

  • YEAR
    Wu, Hao
    Sintusingha, Sidh
    Bajraszewski, Richard
    2018 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science: Theory, Philosophy and Society
    Conference Papers


The Melbourne brand has achieved unqualified and unquestionable success particularly if measured through various international rankings and, critically, via population growth of migrants ‘voting with their feet’. The population is forecasted to double by 2050 and the annual growth rate in the past few years (based on census data) suggest the rate has already been exceeded. Hence, today, the pressure is already felt, most acutely in the more affordable suburbs that have absorbed the growth, notably to the west, north and southeast – resulting in compromises in quality of life amongst social groups, distributive injustice, and leading to the increased reliance on the private vehicle and the longer commute times. The paper adopts a narrative methodology to enter into the evaluation of sub-urban liveability. It develops individual narrative stories of liveability in different residential suburbs in Melbourne and identify the challenge of adopting homogeneous conception of liveability in different temporal and spatial settings. We observe that this challenge lies in the complexity and diversity of each society, city, parts of the city and their historic evolution where individual perceptions and experiences of quality of life differ. We also observe the phenomenon contributes to the socio-economic inequity and spatial division, based on a set of key criteria. The paper reports on a preliminary trial of the narrative method to understand urban liveability and discusses its potential for future research.


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