Keywords: Population health planning,Social determinants of health,Demography,Needs assessment,Built environment,Poverty,Equity,Epidemiology,Spatial analysis,Composite indicator,Liveability,Urban planning,Policy,Bias
Urban liveability is increasingly recognised in state and federal urban planning policies as a built environment determinant of population health and wellbeing. However, use of aggregate data for calculation of the liveability construct is fraught with risk of ecological bias. This paper reports on the development of a policy-relevant composite indicator of urban liveability calculated for residential parcels, allowing for flexible aggregation and assessment of within-area variation. This pilot liveability index (LI) was conceptualised using a socio-ecological framework, and a scripted workflow for calculation and database management was developed. The index was calculated for 1,554,590 address points in Melbourne, Australia using 2011 as a target point for data, using two distinct approaches to measure destination access: hard cut-offs (HCLI); and logistic ‘soft’ decay (SDLI). Heterogeneity in estimates accrued when aggregated to meshblock level (the smallest statistical area aggregation) and Statistical Area 1 (SA1; a larger, population balanced statistical region) was compared using the global average ratio of within- to between-area variation (GHtR) at the respective scales.