Articles and Research Papers

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Building Community

Creating Well-Being

Seniors Living


Apartment Living


“Stronger Together: Loneliness and social connectedness in Australia”, Alan Duncan et al, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centres, November 2021

This report explores the breadth and variety of people’s experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic and asks: what has the pandemic revealed about the state of Australia’s social capital, the connectedness of our communities, and our own sense of trust and belonging?

Loneliness, social isolation and disconnection are known to impose health and economic costs, but which sections of our society are at greatest risk of loneliness or isolation? What drivers can mitigate loneliness, and build our sense of inclusion? Has technology and social media improved our sense of connectedness, or has it left some with greater feelings of separation or isolation?

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“Forget shops: how one UK town ripped up the rule book to revive its high street”, Julian Coman, The Guardian, 22nd August 2021

Stockton-on-Tees is leading a radical rethink of our urban centres, which is now even more urgent as Covid takes its toll

A few months before the pandemic struck, Nigel Cooke found himself under incredulous interrogation at a Local Government Association get-together in Loughborough. As the Stockton-on-Tees councillor responsible for regeneration, it had been Cooke’s call to buy up a vast shopping centre that has dominated the town’s high street since the 1970s.

“Word had got round that we’d bought a shopping centre that had come on the market,” says Cooke. “The gist of the response from fellow councillors was: ‘Are you mad? There’s no future in shopping centres’. I said: ‘We’ve not bought it to run as a shopping centre. We’ve bought it to knock it down’. They said: ‘You’re even madder than we thought’. No one had thought of doing what we’re doing.”

These days, other councils are knocking on Stockton’s door seeking advice.

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“This Seattle Affordable Housing Project Is a Transit Rider’s Dream”, Josh Cohen, Reasons to Be Cheerful, 23rd July 2021

The city’s transit agency is building apartments by light rail stations that folks can actually afford.

This article describes a successful affordable housing initiative from Seattle, which has particular relevance to Perth, coinciding as it does with the major expansion of Seattle’s light rail system (35 new stations).  Faced with a growing crisis in housing affordability, and with low-income renters pushed to the city outskirts and long expensive commutes, Seattle has mandated that excess rail land be used to site affordable housing near transport hubs.  Seattle’s ’80-80-80 Policy’ requires that 80% of excess rail land be used for housing, and that 80% of that be affordable to people earning 80% or less of the area’s median income.  Seattle’s Transit Agency has committed to inclusive planning and decision making to ensure these projects meet priority community needs, whether they be family housing, access to existing schools, medical or aged care services.  They also seek to partner with others to invest in community and cultural spaces, parks and early childhood centres.

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‘This is how we create the age-friendly smart city’, Sonja Pedell and Ann Borda, The Conversation, 4th March 2021

Senior citizens need help and encouragement to remain active as they age in their own communities. Given the choice, that’s what most would prefer. The smart city can provide the digital infrastructure for them to find and tailor the local neighbourhood information they need to achieve this.

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Designing the compassionate city to overcome built-in biases and help us live better, Jenny Donovan, The Conversation, 27th April 2018

When we design, build, manage, occupy or even just pass through a place, we change it. Whether we are conscious of it or not, these changes can embellish, adorn, colour, tint or taint that place in the eyes of the people who share it. These perceptions influence how appealing those people will find particular behaviours.

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No need to give up on crowded cities – we can make density so much better, Thami Croeser, The Conversation, 19th February 2020

The idea that we should decentralise our population has come up many times in Australia. Recently, the National Farmers’ Federation president pushed the notion, calling for a shift to the regions. And the premise is this: city living is unpleasant. Roads are jammed, housing is expensive and it’s all so much nicer out in the country. We need to “spread out”. 

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Participatory urban planning in New Zealand, Shareable, 23 May 2019

PerthALIVE believe in participatory urban planning that enables all citizens to have a say in how the city is shaped. The new city plan for Auckland showcased a participative and inclusive co-design project that balanced market, state, and commons interests with the goal of becoming “the world’s most liveable city.

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Why ‘urban villages’ are on the rise around the world, Shareable, 1 February 2018

PerthALIVE champions Multi-Age Precincts (MAPs) which are essentially vibrant, multigenerational urban villages. Around the world the number of urban villages is growing. They are not just a physical space; but reflect a more interconnected, collective way of life.

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Is This the World’s Most Aging-Friendly City? Priti Salian, Reasons to Be Cheerful, 18th May 2021

Arnsberg, Germany’s Department of Future Aging has made it a prototype for how cities around the world can help their older residents thrive.

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The bold new plan for an Indigenous-led development in Vancouver, The Guardian, 3 January 2020

The Senakw development aims to ease the city’s chronic housing crisis – and to challenge the mindset that indigeneity and urbanity are incompatible

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Social Wellbeing and Sociability in Multi-family Housing Design (Executive Summary), Happy City, Vancouver

The Executive Summary of this report outlines how the built environment can support social wellbeing.

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Get Shareable’s free ebook: “Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic”, Shareable, 15 July 2015

PerthALIVE advocates for connected active strategies to build community connectedness in MAPs.  This is one way to ward off loneliness – Shareable’s free e-book:  Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic.

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Happy City’s Thriving Places Index measures wellbeing on the basis of social needs, Happy Family, 20 June 2019

Here is an article from Shareable that presents an interesting index for measuring wellbeing.

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Loneliness looms for rising numbers of Australia’s older private renters, Domain (SMH), 12 June 2019

Loneliness is increasingly recognised worldwide as a critical social issue and one of the major health hazards of our time. Our research shows older private renters are at high risk of loneliness and anxiety.

This is a growing concern as more Australians are renting housing later in life. By contrast, only a small proportion of the social housing tenants we interviewed said they were lonely.

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Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, February 2021

The Commonwealth Royal Commission established in 2018 reported in February 2021.  For access to a range of documents related to their work go to

‘Ageing disgracefully:  Japan puts our nursing homes to shame’, Elizabeth Farrelly, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6th March 2021

A gentle ramp spirals into the pool that lies curled in the floor of the light-filled, tepee-shaped pavilion. It’s wheelchair access, this ramp, but it feels symbolic and vaguely yin-yang, like some ultra-pale azure catseye catching the light. The tepee is one of five that, clad in blond ply, nestle within a mountain forest in Shizuoka, Japan. Designed by Tokyo architect Issei Suma, it’s the retirement project of two Japanese women – a social worker and a chef – who offer fresh local meals and nursing care for local seniors.

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What Australian think of ageing and aged care, Research Paper 4, July 2020, Commonwealth of Australia

The survey asked adults for their views about Older Australians (defined as those aged 70 years or more), the current aged care system, and what they would want should they need aged care themselves. It is fundamentally important to understand these views when considering the current aged care system and how to reform it to meet the needs of Australians in the future. To the best of Roy Morgan’s knowledge, this is the first time a survey like this has been conducted internationally.

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‘Ageing in neighbourhood’: what seniors want instead of retirement villages and how to achieve it, Caroline Osborne, The Conversation, 15th June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for connection to our local community and the health challenges of the retirement village model.

We know that, as we age, most people prefer to stay in their own homes and communities instead of moving to retirement villages. Some have gone so far as to say retirement villages have had their day.

However, the reality is not quite that simple.

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Half of over-55s are open to downsizing – if only they could find homes that suit them, Amity James, The Conversation, 12th February 2020

More than half of Australians over the age of 55 are open to downsizing, according to a new report based on a survey of 2,400 households. The main barrier to moving to a smaller home is a lack of housing that matches their needs and preferences. The rapid growth in the number of older Australians adds to the major challenge housing markets face in meeting their diverse housing needs.

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Retirees holding onto spare rooms, even when they downsize, Euan Black, The New Daily, 12 February 2020

Roughly two million older Australians are considering moving homes when they retire. But they won’t be giving up the spare bedroom.

It will be reserved for friends and family, or repurposed into a study or sewing room – extra space that will allow them to “age in place” and stay connected to their community.

Downsizing won’t be off the cards completely, though.

For while the phrase typically implies moving into a smaller home, a new report argues it’s more about finding a property that better suits one’s needs.

Entitled Effective downsizing options for older Australians, the report finds that downsizing often means finding a home with a smaller garden or rooms that are easier to clean, rather than reducing the number of bedroom or overall dwelling size.

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Why More Seniors Are Forming Their Own ‘Villages’, Bloomberg City Lab, 17 September 2015

And the fact that many villages are in cities, Lubben said, is no coincidence: “What Beacon Hill Village illustrates is that later in life it actually is better in many ways to live in dense, urban areas than out in remote areas, in order to retain one’s functional capacity.”

This is also a good example of the on-site service provider model that we propose in our Multi Age Precinct model.

Seniors Take Manhattan, Politico, 13 January 2015

Here’s an interesting article about how NYC became a global leader for senior living—one Zumba class at a time!

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Apartment Living for Seniors, Urban Ideas, May 2013

An interesting publication from the Urban Taskforce Australia.

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Downsizing report explains older Australians’ reasons for staying put, The New Daily, 14 November 2019

A new report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) found that most home owners are choosing to “age in place” rather than downsize.

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How and where older Australians want to live, The New Daily, 7 August 2019

What do older Australians actually want from their housing? And what can be done to ensure future supply matches demand?

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) sheds light on older Australians’ housing aspirations.

Regardless of their current housing tenure, 80 per cent of older Australians want to live in a home they own, no matter the type, size or location.

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More people are alive over 65 than under five: it’s time to rethink old age, Amanda Hooten, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 October 2019

As Goethe wrote, “Age takes hold of us by surprise.” For most of human history, average global life expectancy has never exceeded 30 years. Though we rarely think about it, the great figures of history have almost always died young …

Things changed, at least for those of us in the wealthy West ….

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Why Boomers can’t talk about the ‘R’ word, Alan Attwood, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2019

It used to be your retired at 65 with a gold watch and a diary full of golf dates. These days, if you’re not planning to work well into your 70s, you’re aspiring to quit by 30.

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Library cards unlock access to bikes, benefitting entire communities, Shareable, 19 August 2019

How can we promote active transport in Perth and increase the uptake of cycling, whilst building community at the same time? Here is an interesting strategy that describes how some US States are using the public library system to loan out bikes.

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Milan’s comprehensive shared mobility strategy, Shareable, 1 November 2018

PerthALIVE advocate for active transport in cities. Here is an example of a European city (Milan) that has successfully addressed congestion caused by high rates of car ownership by implementing a comprehensive mobility plan focussing on bike sharing and car sharing.

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Christopher Leinberger: The WalkUP Wakeup Call. 

Leinberger analyses the growth of walkable urban spaces in selected American cities.

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Spain’s Happy Little Carless City, Will Doig, Reasons to Be Cheerful, 11th October 2019

Pontevedra, once choked with cars, is a laboratory for how smaller cities can implement a few simple tricks to reduce driving dramatically.

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The Apartment Shortage, 2020, Keaton Jenner and Peter Tulips.

Australian cities face a shortage of apartments. The severity of this shortage can be gauged by the difference between what home buyers will pay for an apartment and what it costs to supply. For example, we estimate that the average new apartment in Sydney sells for $873,000 but only costs $519,000 to supply, a difference of $355,000 or 68 per cent of costs. The wedge is 20 per cent of costs in Melbourne and 2 per cent in Brisbane. Why don􏰀t builders and developers exploit these profitable opportunities? The standard answer is that planning regulations stop them.

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Apartments selling for massive markup due to planning rules, research claims, Euan Black, The New Daily, 5 August 2020

The average new apartment in Sydney sells for $355,000 more than it costs to supply the home, according to two Reserve Bank economists.

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You’re not paying $355,000 too much for your Sydney apartment: planners, Sue Williams, Domain (SMH), 7th August 2020

Research claiming apartments could be made hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper by relaxing zoning restrictions has been questioned by planning experts, who say the market is a far greater determinant of price than regulation.

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‘We’re the anti-real estate agent’: inside Sydney’s first built-to-rent apartment complex, Alyx Gorman, The Guardian, 30th January 2020

In Australia’s rental model dominated almost entirely by mum and dad investors, Liv Indigo is putting power back in the hands of renters

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Medium to high-density living in ‘micro lots’ planned for Perth but can residents learn to love small living? ABC News, 13 August 2019

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‘The People the Suburbs Were Built for Are Gone’, Motherboard (Tech by Vice), Shayla Love, 22nd January 2021

An interesting view from America …

A new book documents the “retrofitting” of obsolete suburban malls, box stores, office parks, parking lots, motels, and more.

“America’s suburbs are a shining example of the American Dream, where people can live in their own homes, in safe, pleasant neighborhoods,” …

But the suburbs, in the sense of the idyllic American pastoral … have been changing for some time—not necessarily the physical homes, stores, roads, and offices that populate them, but the people who live there, along with their needs and desires. Previous mainstays of suburban life are now myths: that the majority of people own their homes; that the suburbs are havens for the middle class; or that the bulk of people are young families who value privacy over urban amenities like communal spaces, walkability, and mixed-use properties.

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