Programs and initiatives

World’s most liveable city? Can science keep Melbourne liveable?

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You can send your questions to us on Twitter: @EPA_Victoria  #liveability #NatSciWk

Friday 18 August 2017, 1:00pm, Deakin Edge, Federation Square, and streaming online

On 16 August, Melbourne was again ranked the ‘world’s most liveable city’ according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking. Of 140 cities around the world, Melbourne has now held this title for seven consecutive years. As liveable as Melbourne is, can it be called the ideal city? What would we consider to be the ideal city and what would we have to do to realise it?

Join the discussion at Federation Square and online in National Science Week as our panel explores what science and research is revealing about the future of Melbourne’s liveability, and how governments and individuals can nudge us ever closer towards our view of the ideal city.

Our host – longtime 3RRR presenter, Principal Fellow - University of Melbourne and EPA Science guy – Dr Anthony Boxshall will help navigate through the liveable city, from air quality down to train tunnels, as our panelists share their insights and answer your questions.

Can we maintain open spaces while unlocking new places to live; make sure our air quality is good despite more vehicles on our roads; and increase individual wellbeing while effectively dealing with social and environmental changes? Have we already seen the golden age for Melbourne’s liveability, or is the best yet to come?

Register your FREE ticket to join our panel for a light lunch from 12:15 or to stream online and join the conversation on Twitter using  #liveability #NatSciWk

  • Registration and light lunch: 12.15 - 1.00 pm
  • Panel commences: 1.00 pm
  • Panel concludes: 2.30pm


Professor Billie Giles-Corti 

Billie Giles-Corti

Professor Billie Giles-Corti is a Distinguished Professor at RMIT University and Director of its Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform.  She is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Principal Research Fellow and directs the Centre for Urban Research’s Healthy Liveable Cities Research Group.  Prior to joining RMIT in 2017, she was a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne and Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Community Wellbeing Unit.  For over two decades, she and a multi-disciplinary research team have been studying the impact of the built environment on health and wellbeing.  Professor Giles-Corti currently leads an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities established in 2014; which works closely with local, national and global policy-makers and practitioners.  She has published over 300 articles, book chapters and reports, and by citations, is ranked in the top 1% of researchers in her field globally.  She is an Honorary Fellow of both the Planning Institute of Australia and the Public Health Association, a Fulbright Scholar, and in 2016 was awarded an NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship as the top ranked female fellow in public health in 2015

Professor Mark Burry

Mark Burry

Mark Burry is the Founding Director for Swinburne University of Technology’s ‘Smart Cities Research Institute’, an appointment he took up in May 2017. His role is to lead the development of a whole-of-university research approach to helping ensure that our future cities anticipate and meet the needs of all – smart citizens for smart cities. 

Mark Burry is a practicing architect who has published internationally on two main themes: putting theory into practice with regard to procuring ‘challenging’ architecture, and the life, work and theories of the architect Antoni Gaudí. He has been Senior Architect to the Sagrada Família Basilica Foundation since 1979, pioneering distant collaboration with his colleagues based on-site in Barcelona.  

In 2001 he  founded the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) at RMIT University before establishing the Design Research Institute (DRI) in 2008.  He held an ARC funded Federation Fellowship in ‘Complex Architecture and Convergent Design’ 2007-2012. He joined the University of Melbourne in 2014 as Professor of Urban Futures at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning where he helped develop the Faculty’s capacity to consolidate research in urban futures, drawing together and augmenting expertise in urban visualisation, urban analytics, and urban policy.

Andy Fergus

Andy Fergus

Andy Fergus has the benefit of experience at the coal face, where research translates into policy and physical outcomes. As an urban designer and strategic planner at the City of Melbourne, he is tasked with the preparation of urban regulation to intervene in market processes and safeguard the quality of Melbourne’s public and private spaces. In addition to this primary role, Andy is engaged in broader research around elevating design quality through policy and non-regulatory methods; the connections between sunlight in public spaces and wellbeing; and alternative models of community-led housing procurement. With a background across a range of scales, Andy has a strong focus on the relationship between high level strategic planning and the individual, tactile urban elements which shape our experience of cities.

Sarah Kneebone

Sarah Kneebone

Sarah Kneebone is a Research Fellow at BehaviourWorks Australia, part of Monash University’s Sustainable Development Institute, exploring how human behavior affects social and environmental aspects of livability. With a background in sustainable development, education and environmental conservation, Sarah more recently turned her focus to behavioural science, seeking to uncover ways to motivate the large-scale behavioural changes needed to maintain a liveable future. Her PhD research is investigating what household water-users think about certain water-saving behaviours, to identify what might motivate more people to improve their water-saving and break unsustainable habits.


Dr Anthony Boxshall

Anthony Boxshall

Dr Anthony Boxshall is a marine ecologist by trade who has worked in Australia and the USA across Government, academia and private industry. A Principal Research Fellow in the School of Biosciences at the University of Melbourne, he is also the current Director of Applied Sciences at Environment Protection Authority Victoria. He is the founder and principal of ‘Science into Action’ – turning great science into greater actions. And on Sundays, if you tune into Melbourne’s 3RRR-FM you’ll hear him talking about the wonders of the marine environment on the award-winning ‘Radio Marinara’, which he’s been presenting for the past 20 years. 

Page last updated on 1 Sep 2017