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Perth (Australia) as one of the world's most liveable cities: a perspective on society, sustainability and environment

Cheryl Jones (School of Arts, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia)
David Newsome (Environment and Conservation Group, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




Rankings of the world's cities by a liveability factor have become increasingly significant in the media, among governments and city councils in the promotion of cities, as well as academics interested in understanding the impact of quantifying liveability on urban planning and the relationship of liveability indices and tourism. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


While examining characteristics of liveable cities according to some of the widely reported liveability indices, such as those produced by Mercer, Monocle magazine and the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the authors provide a snapshot of Perth as a liveable city and consider liveability in relation to urban tourism, sustainability and environment. Perth's liveability ranking is discussed in terms of environmental sustainability, noting that for Perth to retain its position as one of the world's most liveable cities, consideration must be given to sustainable planning and environmental practices at policy, organisational and individual levels, placing the long-term liveability of the environment and Perth's flora and fauna at the forefront of urban, and tourism, planning.


The accessibility of nature in Perth and its surrounds, its outdoor recreational opportunities and warm climate are factors that make it unique. Developing and promoting nature-based tourism would further enhance the accessibility of nature for visitors and residents. While Perth's EIU top ten ranking is justified, its major attributes remain unrecognised by the widely used EIU liveable city assessment framework.

Research limitations/implications

Moreover, the notion of a liveable city is open to contention due to the subjective nature of various assessment criteria. Liveability indices should include quantifiable environmental factors such as green space, remnant vegetation, biodiversity, air quality and unpolluted water.


This paper thus contributes to the discourse on what constitutes a liveable city, the authors emphasise that liveability is significantly related to the presence of green space and natural areas as well as the opportunity to see and interact with wildlife. Perth has such opportunities for it residents and visitors but as yet the aforementioned natural characteristics are not implicit in international measures of liveability.



© International Tourism Studies Association

Acknowledgements go to the following people who kindly provided reports and data pertaining to the content of this paper. David Griffiths and Arthur Grieco (Department of Environmental Regulation, Perth WA), Peter Franklin (Department of Health), Wendy Earl and Solataire Woollcott (Economic Development Unit, City of Perth) and Mark Cugley (Manager, River System Management, Swan River Trust).


Jones, C. and Newsome, D. (2015), "Perth (Australia) as one of the world's most liveable cities: a perspective on society, sustainability and environment", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 18-35.



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