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Watch Melanie Davern introduce City Liveability course on how places, urban mobility and health impact each other.
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Livable cities are places where people enjoy living, and encourage healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Transport and mobility are major influences of livability and are really important in shaping the character and feel of a city. Transport and mobility connects each resident to friends and family, work, education, and the services we all need every day. The way we move around cities affects our health and well-being, and requires interdisciplinary and intersectoral planning to produce the best outcomes for everyone living in a city. How we move needs to be equitable, easy to access, frequent, and encourage the use of sustainable transport modes. I’m Associate Professor Melanie Davern.
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And I’m delighted you’ve joined me and my colleague, Associate Professor Andrew Butt, to embrace this digital learning to explore the new ideas on livability and transport to plan for the cities of the future. This course has been designed to stimulate and challenge your thinking. Here we have new opportunities to learn about engaged research with strong connections to industry and government. You have this unique experience of joining people from all over the world to explore ideas together. I encourage you to share your ideas as you move through the course to extend your own learning and into your own life. This course is designed to bring together diverse life, work, and study experiences from across the globe for real-world learning.
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We begin with the assumption that everyone involved comes with their own perspectives and experiences on livable cities and the importance of mobility for the creation of healthy and sustainable places to live and work. I really look forward to us co-creating knowledge and welcome you to be part of our digital learning community.

The way we plan and build our cities defines our quality of life. It affects not only the quality of our living spaces and transport, but also the air we breathe, the water we drink, and our access to nutritious food, education, health care services and employment (WHO, 2020: viii).

According to the United Nations more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas, increasingly in highly-dense cities. It is estimated that this will grow by 13% by 2050, with approximately 2.5 billion additional people living in cities.

In response to population projections, rapid urbanisation, and climate change, creating liveable cities that promote health and wellbeing has become a global priority.

Welcome to this course about healthy liveable cities.

What will you be learning in this course?

In response to these challenges, the big questions we’ll be exploring in this course are: ‘What is a healthy, liveable city? What is the role of transport in advancing a city’s liveability?’

To answer this, we’ll explore the relationship between the built environment and health, with a particular focus on the role of transport systems and mobility choices.

We’ll examine how opportunities to engage in active transport are shaped by the environment where we live and work.

We’ll consider the qualities of these places and how they interact with options for personal mobility, and the broader impacts of climate and air quality on health and wellbeing.

Your learning outcomes

By completing this course, you should be able to:

  • identify defining characteristics of a healthy liveable city and the role of transport for liveability
  • interpret the social determinants of health and how transport relates to these indicators, especially active transport
  • investigate the causal relationship between mobility and health
  • explore the key principles and relationships between mobility and health with the goal to inspire the need for change.

Meet the team

Melanie Davern, Principal Research Fellow within the Health, Place & Society Group in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia.

Andrew Butt, Associate Professor in Sustainability and Urban Planning in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS) and the Centre for Urban Research (CUR) at RMIT University, Melbourne.

A note about this course

This course addresses the foundational issues related to the relationships between urban mobility and planning for healthy, liveable cities. We have also developed a five week course on Urban mobility changes for sustainable cities and communities exploring how transforming a city’s built environment and mobility access can lead to a healthy community.

Getting involved

As the educators will not be facilitating this course, a key way to enhance your learning is to participate in the ‘your task’ set by your educators and engage in topic-related conversations with your fellow learners. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • add a post to start or continue a conversation by building on what others are saying
  • use reply to ask a question or make a comment that indicates you’re interested in what someone has said
  • make a comment that links, compares or contrasts different themes in the conversation
  • disagree with a comment in a curious, constructive and compassionate manner.

Your Task

Watch the video from Melanie as she introduces the importance of liveable cities for health and wellbeing and the role of transport systems and mobility options in making this happen.

Next, take a moment to get to know one another by telling us a little about yourself in the comments. For example, you could describe:

  • Your location, professional background and interest in urban mobility
  • Your motivation for participating in this course and what you hope to gain.
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City Liveability: The Intersections of Place, Mobility, and Health

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