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Gold Coast: Most Liveable City

Gold Coast: Most Liveable City

For any single one of us who call the Gold Coast home, to question the merits of its liveability seem somewhat redundant. For most of us, it begs us to question, in what ways is it not? SOPHIE TRAVIS shares her personal thoughts on the city she considers the most liveable.

 

The Gold Coast is renowned for its year-round temperate climate and enviable natural environment, whose features dominate the landscape and define the city’s unique lifestyle – from its coastline of golden sands giving rise to the city’s name, to the ample bays and endless weaving waterways that flow like veins throughout the city, defining its symbiotic relationship with the water that surrounds it.

But no one can argue that these elements alone provide near enough value to resolutely claim ownership of such an illustrious title. As residents, we could be accused of showing bias. I mean, surely if you were to ask the same question of Sydney or Melbourne residents, they too would undoubtedly sing in praise of their home city!

So on the surface, although the question of being most liveable seems a simple one that elicits a simple response, it is undeniably subjective, depending on whom you may ask. So how could there ever be a singular, unbiased and definitive result?

 

Measures of Liveability

Through the media, we often hear reports of cities being regarded globally as the world’s best. So how are these cities ranked in order to make such sweeping claims?

There are a number of annual surveys conducted by economists worldwide, used to rank different cities in terms of their living conditions and producing a list ranking cities from the most desirable to the least. Three examples of such surveys are Monocle’s “Most Liveable Cities Index”, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Global Liveability Ranking”, and “Mercer Quality of Living Survey”.  These are the surveys most commonly referred to in mainstream media, with their results providing an accurate analysis of the most comprehensive sets of global statistical and survey data.

In sum, these surveys are based on the standards they have set for the quality of life of a city’s residents. These standards cover the major aspects of politics, economics, environment, personal safety, health, education, transportation, public service infrastructure, and culture.

For seven years consecutively, Melbourne, Australia has ranked number one in the EIU’s Global Liveability Ranking. And it does make Australians prouder that more than one Australian city appears in the Top 10. This year, in 2017, Australia was just short of claiming four cities that rank in the Top Ten, with Adelaide and Perth ranking sixth and seventh, and Sydney missing out by one spot, coming in as the 11th.

Of course to us Australians, it’s likely to come as little surprise. Having grown up in “the lucky country”, we have always considered Australia to be the best place on earth! And to have it recognised legitimately on a global scale ensures our pride as a nation, with a desire to maintain our position, if not dominate it, as a further testament to our identity and inherent competitive nature.

 

The liveability of the Gold Coast

So having now established that it is not only Australians who believe our cities to be the most liveable – credit that to the global recognition through Mercer and The Economist, it is surely not unrealistic to consider the potential of the Gold Coast’s candidacy among this elite group.

Let us take a look at a snapshot of the Gold Coast in terms of the global liveability standards.

With a huge land area of 133,372 hectares (1,334 sq km) and an estimated population 576,918 as of 2016, we are looking at a population density of only 4.33 persons per hectare. That precious “elbow room” (that major cities do not have) offers many opportunities for young and old people to build a creative and sustainable life and livelihood, if they choose to.

There is also the aspect of natural spaces. The city has one of the most bio-diverse environments in Australia. It is home to 1,737 recorded native plant species, and almost 600 recorded native animal species. The Springbrook and Lamington plateaus form part of the Border Ranges group that protect areas of extremely high species diversity. The Moreton Bay provides international habitats for more than 30 migratory species.

As for doing business on the Gold Coast, those seeking to invest obviously consider the city’s reasonable cost of living, but they also place the aspects of a healthy individual and family wellbeing as high priority. This makes the city very attractive to young entrepreneurs who value their happiness, comfort and safety, along with financial stability and prosperity.

The Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest city and the largest non-capital city in the country. Long been regarded as Australia’s premier tourist destination hosting more than 12 million visitors a year, the city has unassumingly evolved from our nation’s beloved family beach holiday destination to a cosmopolitan city with the infrastructure to support it.

What undeniably began with the property boom in the 80’s, the city underwent massive development. From the high-rise holiday apartments to the development of the city’s canals and waterways, the changes in the dominant industry and an increase in employment, led to significant increases in the city’s economic prosperity. What was once driven solely by the tourism industry, the Gold Coast, with more than 58,000 registered businesses, now rely on a diverse range of industries to support its economy.

Unsurprisingly, the allure of the Gold Coast’s lifestyle and climate, boasting more than 57km of enviable coastline and 260km of navigable waterways, has established the city as the natural hub for Australia’s marine industry. The Gold Coast is home to one of the country’s largest boating communities and the base for domestic marine manufacturing. Globally, it is recognised as an industrial marine base, and home to the finest and most reputable domestic and international boating brands. The city also offers a unique lifestyle that translates into business for the marine industry. There are 890 kilometres of constructed residential waterfront land within the city that is home to over 80,000 residents. This opens up bigger opportunities for marine-related services and businesses locally.

The film industry is another major player that has ensured the prosperity of the Gold Coast. As home to the largest studio lot in the Southern Hemisphere, the attractive climate, along with its incredibly, diverse natural environment and favourable cost of living, continue to ensure the Gold Coast viability and preferred production location.

With consistent economic growth, protected natural resources, and a growing permanent population, the city further evolved, developing the infrastructure to support the new demands of its population.

The Gold Coast ticks the other aspects of a city’s liveability – education, transport, and health. The city’s popularity as a university city is ever increasing. It is the home to three universities and more than 80 schools, giving students the opportunity to study in world-class educational facilities, in an affordable idyllic city. Further recent developments to the Gold Coast’s public transport, which have seen the city’s new tram line open (with Phase 2 in the works), have further helped in defining the Gold Coast’s new and more metropolitan façade. The undeniable high quality of medical services and personnel also provides residents peace of mind when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

A changing cultural environment that started from the “sun, sand, surf, and sex” marketing is taking shape on the Gold Coast. A more mature and cosmopolitan music, arts, sports and recreation world is being established, perhaps as a result of a growing culturally diverse population. The city government provides many support services to artists and young people that enhance creativity and encourage diversity.

Beyond all these elements, one aspect that sets the Gold Coast apart from other Australian cities is its affordability of housing. The exponential rise in the cost of real estate in other Australian cities has meant many people cannot even consider entering the market. But here on the Coast, you can still get “good bang for your buck” and the people of this country know it.

The future may hold something different for the city. But for now, the Gold Coast is indeed a great place to live, for all of the reasons discussed here and many, many more. So, it does not matter much whether it features on “The World’s Most Liveable Cities”. For those of us who live here, we already know.

 

*Sophie is a resident of the Gold Coast, who freelances as a writer and producer in the television industry. With a unique and varied background, starting her career as a linguist, her desire for further creativity led her into the world of tourism and television. 

 

 

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