Every city in the world has its own distinct personality and has successfully or unsuccessfully developed systems that have formed from the natural patterns of its inhabitants to fulfil their needs.
Each city constantly faces the challenge of creating the capacity and infrastructure that will enable the efficient operation of all its functions from energy use to transportation. The major influencing factors that significantly determine the quality of life of the average citizen are urban functions such as health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Today we look at why Melbourne is the best city to live in.
Residents of Melbourne enjoy a world-class healthcare system that has a comprehensive mix of public and private services and professionals. All Australians are in fact covered by Medicare, a public health insurance system, while 43% also have the added benefits of private health insurance. Medicare covers medical and some optical expenses but not dental or complementary healthcare. It is therefore ensured that everyone is guaranteed basic healthcare services. An overview of the industry indicates a positive outlook, with an expected growth in demand for services. The ongoing skills shortages in the sector means that demand, disability services workers, elderly care, children’s services and nursing is expected to remain high.
Culture and Environment
In Melbourne, there is a dynamic and cutting-edge arts and culture industry. The Southbank precinct, where one can find The Arts Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse, Recital Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria, is the heart of cultural life within the city. Then there is Federation Square, where art meets architecture. There, one can watch inspiring audio visual shows at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, or go see the collection at the Ian Potter Centre, or even pop in for a recital at The Edge theatre. This city has a distinct culture of innovation and is a melting pot of skilled local artists and designers at hole-in-the-wall galleries and theatres across the city; especially in the city’s famous laneways, where each arcade has its own unique character and charm. These laneways are a result of the city shifting the focus from cars and making the city more pedestrian orientated and friendly. Al fresco eateries, one-off shops and cosy little bars can all be found nestled side-by-side in these laneways threading throughout the city. The city landscape is given life through the encouragement of public and street art, where public art is set up in a variety of spaces around the city and graffiti artists are given a platform and can freely express themselves in approved outdoor locations. Hence Melbourne is also known as one of the world’s great street art capitals.
In terms of the environment, greater Australia experiences most climatic conditions, from tropical monsoons to hot, dry weather and snow. Generally, however, the climate is warm and temperate, particularly in the major coastal cities such as Melbourne. This relatively moderate climate has resulted in a social culture where people tend to spend a great amount of time outdoors at beaches, in the countryside or on sporting fields. With regards to environmental issues and concerns, Melbourne has an increase in demand for water and the is faced with the challenge of having rivers that are stressed and degraded. A threatened river system coupled with the impacts of population growth, drought and climate change have taken their toll on the Yarra and the Thomson rivers that supply Melbourne with water. With this in mind, the Victorian government has decided to act and really address issues of water conservation. Following the 2010 election, the Coalition government set up the Office of Living Victoria specifically to look at how Melbourne can effectively manage their urban water cycle efficiently. They have recently released a draft plan called ‘Melbourne’s Water Future – a smarter way to manage our water’. The government’s plan takes a new approach to the urban water cycle. It looks at how the different aspects of this cycle, which are drinking water, rainwater, storm water, wastewater, groundwater, natural waterways and green open spaces are connected and can be made to work together. It has the vision of improving river health by reducing storm water pollution and to reduce flood impacts. It is also attempting to reduce the demand for drinking water and keep water bills down for its residents.
As the capital city of Victoria, the city enjoys Australia’s most advanced and best connected system of road, rail and marine transport infrastructure. It also enjoys the benefits of fast, reliable and cost-effective access to utilities. The Victorian Government has acknowledged the fact that infrastructure is vital for improving the productivity of the economy. Hence over the past decade, Government investment in infrastructure has doubled. There is massive investment in roads, public transport, health, schools and other infrastructure that has been estimated at A$6.1 billion over 2014-2015. Melbourne’s extensive transport network comprises of convenient domestic and international air links from Melbourne Airport, a port that handles over 37% of Australia’s container trade and is therefore the country’s busiest container port, a comprehensive road network that includes a suburban grid overlaid with high-speed, efficient freeways, comprehensive support for a strong IT production sector, one of the world’s largest desalination plants, which ensures future water security and a supply of industrial land accommodating all industrial sectors.
Melbourne Airport is the aviation gateway to southern Australia and it is the country’s second-busiest airport, operates 24/7 and is curfew-free. It also handles 350,000 tonnes of air freight a year, making it Australia’s largest air freight hub. Twenty-seven international carriers operate direct from Melbourne, with almost 500 international flights per week. The Port of Melbourne handles about 3,400 commercial ships and 2.6 million containers each year, and A$87 million in exports each day. The port achieved record container throughput of 2.58 million TEU in 2011-12, and moved just under 360,000 motor vehicle units in that year, making it that premier hub for motor vehicle trade in Australia. The port is well-connected through city bypass highways, as well as daily rail services to the rest of the region. Ranked within the world’s top 50 container ports by the World Shipping Council, this port includes 34 commercial berths at five docks, river wharves, Gellibrand Pier and Station Pier.
In November 2009, the Port of Melbourne completed its award-winning Channel Deepening Project, giving shipping channels 14 metres draught at all tides. With regards to rail and road, all major infrastructure is well-connected with freeways, enabling easy access to and from the Port of Melbourne and all airports, as well as regional Victoria. Melbourne received a perfect score of 100 for infrastructure in the 2013 EIU Liveability Report. Planning is underway for an east west road link across Melbourne connecting the Eastern Freeway with CityLink, with a connection to the Port of Melbourne area. The East West Link will be an 18 kilometre cross-city road connection extending across Melbourne from the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road. Work is continuing on the A$4.3 billion Regional Rail Link program, one of the largest public transport infrastructure projects in Australia. It will deliver a new railway line through Melbourne’s west, and standalone tracks for the regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, improving capacity and reliability. The Regional Rail Link won the prestigious Infrastructure Project of the Year award 2014. The IT production sector is really favourable for investment as the Australian market is deregulated, with local and international players providing competitively priced services. Therefore 90% of businesses can have internet access and 97% of these have broadband as their main type of internet connection. Approximately 79% of Australian households have access to the internet, which places Melbourne in the top 15 OECD countries and 92% of those Australian households that have access to the internet, have broadband access. Businesses setting up in Melbourne would then have access to great telecommunications services, with connections to the world via a network of satellites and submarine fibre optic cables that ensure seamless global business links. There is also the National Operations and Test Facility for the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) based at the Digital Harbour development in Melbourne’s Docklands. NBN is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Australia’s history. It will provide high-speed broadband to Australian homes and businesses through fibre to the node based services. The first phase of the NBN roll-out has been completed, with work planned to commence in over 1,500 communities throughout Australia through to 2015.
In Australia, education begins in primary school, then secondary school and continues through to tertiary. The education system offers, 10 internationally recognised universities, Melbourne is also classified as a nexus city, which means that it is a top innovation destination in science, product, process, business, service, policy and other types of innovation, high quality teaching staff
award-winning resources and facilities, qualifications that are recognised worldwide and opportunities for scholarships, work experience and more.