Most Liveable Suburb In The Most Liveable City In The World

Discussion in 'Social & Local community news' started by 166news, May 6, 2017.

  1. 166news

    166news Active Member Staff Member

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    Living in East Melbourne, the most liveable suburb in the most liveable city in the world

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    Lucy Battersby

    Don't hate me for this, but one of my favourite things about living in East Melbourne is listening to the morning traffic report on the radio and knowing it is irrelevant. Instead I get a real sense of freedom and power that comes from living within walking and cycling distance of the office.

    When I leave home each day, I know I will be at work within 20 minutes. No traffic jams. No crowded trams. No trains that don't arrive. Instead, I walk across a park. I have time to admire the clouds, smell any roses, and listen to the parrots and Myna birds arguing, yet again, over access to the best trees in the park.

    Outside of work, I enjoy being walking distance to Melbourne's major galleries, performance venues, city shopping and best foodie streets. It feels almost unfair to have all the fun-runs start nearby, the Moomba festival within sight, and Night Noodle Market sniffing distance away.

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    It isn't just the proximity to the city that has put East Melbourne at the top of this year's Deloitte Access Economics/Tract Consultants survey of Melbourne's most liveable suburbs. North Melbourne, Southbank and Docklands are equally close. What is different is that East Melbourne has parks, culture, a heritage overlay, and, it must be said, a highly competent residents group. Living here is like being in a secret garden. We are surrounded by busy arterial roads, yet inside it is green and silent.

    And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not a millionaire in a wrought-iron terrace. Because the biggest secret about East Melbourne is that it is relatively affordable for renters. It has many one- and two-bedroom apartments that are better value than in cooler suburbs such as Fitzroy, Brunswick, Richmond and South Yarra.

    True, East Melbourne was first planned in 1849 as a suburb for wealthy Melburnians. For doctors, lawyers, politicians and captains of industry. And this means it has better streetscapes and more ornate homes than suburbs with smaller, working-class houses. Not everyone in East Melbourne is wealthy and not everything is about exclusivity. There isn't a vibe of ostentation, but rather modesty and self-pride. It is more of a Mazda-and-myki suburb than a Jeeps-and-Cayennes kind of place.

    But there is no night-life in East Melbourne; I hear you say. There are no cafes. Well, there are actually 63 cafes and six bars, according to the City of Melbourne. But this includes the areas around Parliament House and is paltry compared to Carlton's 202 cafes and 14 pubs.

    However, perhaps it is exactly what East Melbourne doesn't have that contributes to its liveability. For example, it has only one, small, IGA supermarket, two corner stores and one bottle shop. That means no delivery trucks, people hanging around shopping centres, fast-food litter, or customer parking problems.

    And it does not have any schools so there is no drop-off traffic jam every morning and afternoon. And it does not have any universities, so there is no high-density student housing or cheap take-aways. And whatever East Melbourne lacks – such as a bakery, swimming pool, fresh food markets, cinema, banks, department stores – can be found very close by.

    Another reason East Melbourne topped the list this year is the high number of public places and culture. With Parliament House, the old Treasury Building, Artists Society, historical buildings and acres of parkland within the boundaries, this is hard to beat. The fact thousands of people flock in for sports and concerts at the MCG, Rod Laver Arena and soccer stadium boost East Melbourne's cultural score and push it further up the liveability scale. It also means we get excellent mobile reception because carriers have installed so much infrastructure for the footy crowd.

    Meanwhile, the local East Melbourne Group of residents – which has the resources and competence to fight off multinational companies and planning ministers – works hard to ensure public spaces like the local playgrounds, barbecues, and parks are well maintained. It lobbied the City of Melbourne for a library, which was completed in August 2006. All these things lie within easy walking distance of every resident. However, the group regularly objects to liquor licence applications, kerbside cafes, apartment proposals, and long-term homeless camping sites. This tight control maintains the suburb, but also keeps progress out, which is both a good and a bad thing.

    The heritage overlay and restrictions on development in East Melbourne will see it become more of an oasis in coming decades. While the number of dwellings in Southbank will quadruple in the next 20 years to 35,000, East Melbourne is expected to add only 194 new dwellings in that time to 3174. The City of Melbourne expects to have 230,000 residents by 2035, but East Melbourne will house just 6043 of them. Maybe I won't be here then, but anyone who is will still hear the birds.

    Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy ignoring the traffic report. At the end of the day, I have several options to get home and avoid that stressful deserted feeling caused by train cancellations or traffic jams. Most of my transport options are free and all are quick. I know I will get home with plenty of time to thumb through recipe books looking for dinner inspiration. But deep down I know that I am destined to join suburbia – losing my precious sleeping, mothering, and exercising time to Melbourne's unreliable infrastructure. Perhaps this is what liveability is really about?

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/l...veable-city-in-the-world-20151102-gkok7w.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/video/vide...rnes-most-liveable-suburb-20151106-45ufo.html
     

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