Social Cities - Grattan Institute

and family relationships, links with a broader network of friends, relatives and ..... But, because good design for social connection can often be counter-intuitive, it ..... Brisbane was among the highest in the world, IBM (2011). 63 Thomas (2009) ...
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March 2012

Social Cities Jane-Frances Kelly

The housing we’d choose

Social cities

Grattan Institute Support Founding members

Grattan Institute Report No. 2012-4, March 2012 Program support Higher Education Program

This report was written by Jane-Frances Kelly, Grattan Cities Program Director. Peter Breadon, Caitrin Davis, Amelie Hunter, Peter Mares, Daniel Mullerworth, Tom Quinn and Ben Weidmann all made substantial contributions. We would also like to particularly thank Meredith Sussex, Daniel Khong, Alan Davies, Andrew Leigh, John Stanley, Tim Horton, Brendan Gleeson and Brenton Caffin, as well as the members of the Grattan Cities Program Reference Group for their helpful comments.

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The opinions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Grattan Institute’s founding members, affiliates, individual board members or reference group members. Any remaining errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors. Grattan Institute is an independent think-tank focused on Australian public policy. Our work is independent, practical and rigorous. We aim to improve policy outcomes by engaging with both decision-makers and the community.

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This report may be cited as: Kelly, J-F.; Breadon, P.; Davis, C.; Hunter, A.; Mares, P.; Mullerworth, D.; Weidmann, B., 2012, Social Cities, Grattan Institute, Melbourne.

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Social cities

Table of Contents Overview ................................................................................... 3 1. What is social connection, why is it important, and what does it have to do with cities? ............................................. 4 2. City structure ..................................................................... 13 3. Neighbourhoods ................................................................ 21 4. Streets ............................................................................... 30 5. Buildings ........................................................................... 41 Conclusion ............................................................................... 49 6. Appendix – ideas for social connection in cities ................ 50 7. References ........................................................................ 61

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Social cities

Overview Australians have made enormous progress in thinking about how to make cities more productive and sustainable. Yet we lag behind in understanding what makes a social city – a city that helps to connect us with other people. Humans are social animals: relationships are critical to our wellbeing. A lack of social connection leads to loneliness and isolation, experiences far more harmful than previously realised. There are worrying signs that isolation and loneliness are increasing in Australia. Data shows that people’s friendships and neighbourhood connections have diminished over the past two decades. Our changing population means these trends could get worse. Already a quarter of Australian households consist of people living by themselves and this is the fastest growing household type. People living on their own are more likely to experience loneliness. Australia is an ageing society, and older people have a higher risk of isolation, as do other groups like sole parents and p