Australian Fulbright Alumni Association (AFAA)


Conference Opener: 2017 Fulbright Salon

Challenges for Liveability in Australia's cities: Have we reached a tipping point?

The conference will be opened Friday November 17th at 6pm with a Salon event hosted by the Victorian Chapter of AFAA and supported by University of Melbourne. This year's Salon theme is Challenges for Liveability in Australia's cities: Have we reached a tipping point?.

Australia’s major cities are often ranked as amongst the world’s most liveable - our speakers will discuss whether the top ranking is truly warranted!

The event is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend but make sure to register to attend. Spaces are limited!

Think tanks such as the Economist Intelligence Unit routinely rank Australia’s major cities as amongst the world’s most liveable, but how well are we faring, really, from one neighborhood to the next? This Salon will tackle this question with two leading experts in healthy liveable communities: Professor Billie Giles-Corti and Dr Iain Butterworth.

Some recent quotes from the mainstream press suggest that perhaps Australia’s cities don’t deserve those top ratings:

       While the criteria the Economist Intelligence Unit uses to determine “livability” mentions indicators like public healthcare and education, it’s very quiet on things like public housing, social welfare and inequality… I doubt the judges that keep putting Melbourne on top of their list pay much attention to the city’s record number of homeless people, or the fact that begging is illegal there

        Melbourne's population boom masks Victoria's economic woes… ‘Let me put it this way, economic growth that's only driven by population growth is not really worth having, as it is not improving people's living conditions’

       Are Melbourne's sprawling outer suburbs destined to become ghettos?

Until recently, limited systematic research has examined the influence of ‘liveability’ on health and wellbeing, and even less attention has been paid to how best to measure ‘liveability’ within a policy context. Global liveability rankings of whole cities mask the extreme differences in liveability from one precinct to the next.

Drawing on her world-leading expertise and ground-breaking research, Prof Billie Giles-Corti will share her research findings and recommendations for addressing the urban development issues and opportunities facing Australia’s capital cities. Acting as discussant, Dr Iain Butterworth will explore this topic (i) from his perspective as a research broker, knowledge translator and one of Prof Giles-Corti’s key industry partners; and (ii) from his impending Fulbright Alumni research grant to build links between Liveability, WHO Healthy Cities Program, the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities Initiative and the UN Global Compact- Cities Programme.

About our speakers:






Prof Billie Giles-Corti is the Distinguished Professor and Director of RMIT University’s Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform. She is passionate about building healthy, liveable and sustainable communities. For two decades, Giles-Corti and her multi-disciplinary research team have been studying the impact of the built environment on our health and wellbeing. It’s critical work. For Giles-Corti, the future of our urban spaces is being decided today.  “We need to create affordable higher-density housing in green leafy communities, with local shops and services and employment using high-quality public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure.”



Dr Iain Butterworth is  trained in community psychology with a strong interest in the interrelationship between urban design, planning, governance and well-being. Iain is currently National President of the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association, and an honorary Associate Professor at the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. Since 2010, Iain has worked with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and is currently the Manager of Population Health and Planning for East Division Health. Here, Iain is helping to implement the Victorian Labor Government's policy commitment to fostering “Liveable, Inclusive and Sustainable Communities”.

Australia Fulbright Alumni Association. ACT Registered No. A01934. ABN 99 730 723 674. PO Box 218, Cammeray NSW 2062

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