We regularly hear about some city that has just been awarded the ‘world’s most livable city’ award, of some description. Even my home town of Adelaide got into a No.1 spot last year [Lonely Planet ‘best in travel’… must be the wine?]… and I’ve always wondered how these conclusions are reached (and I’ll leave Adelaide alone… they have enough to contend with ; )
After a bit of digging it’s apparent that these ‘surveys’ are of course biased towards the audience of whoever has sponsored the survey, e.g. an automobile association might survey its members and conclude that a car-centric city is superior to one that has a focus on walkability.
Even when searching for a globally fair ‘livability’ index it’s apparent that it will never be completely objective or fair, unless the survey takes into account how the people of that city or community actually feel about where they live.
My search led me to a really handy ‘city resilience’ survey. The principle here is that ‘livability’ is so nebulous that it’s difficult to even brief for and design to – it means different things to different people, however when we place more focus on the living community it becomes more of a discussion about community and city resilience.
This city resilience survey – or ‘Community Scorecard’, by Partners for Livable Communities provides a well written plain-language survey that is tailored specifically for community engagement. The survey assesses 5 qualities that comprise ‘resilience’;
- Economy – jobs, innovation, talent attraction, economic base
- Environment – resource efficiency, consumption, air and water quality, access to the outdoors
- Education – high quality public education access, learning programs
- Health & Safety – physical and mental health
- Quality of Life – community care, interaction, open-ness to ideas
If you’re in a role where ‘livability’ is part of the challenge, or if you simply want to gain a better understanding of what makes a strong and resilient community, the web site and the survey are a good read and easy to digest.
And here’s the challenge – you need to get a total score of at least 110 in order for your community to be considered ‘resilient’… see how you go.