Cities in Good Health: Which Australian Cities Made the Top 10?

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Knight Frank’s City Wellbeing Index has named three Australian cities among the top ten cities in the world for overall lifestyle and wellbeing.

First introduced as part of the 2020 Knight Frank Wealth Report, the City Wellbeing Index measures the quality of life in some of the world’s most liveable cities. The results aim to determine which locations will be attracting entrepreneurs, investments, real-estate and wealth in the future. And this year, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth all made the top ten.

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Liveability criteria

To determine the results, The City Wellbeing Index took four main factors into account. These factors were healthcare, safety, air quality and sustainability.

Compared to 2020’s measurements, which looked at hours of sunshine per year, personal security, healthcare, crime, work-life balance and access to green spaces, the judging criteria has been refined.

With one of the highest proportions of green spaces in the world, third-highest number of prime homes in the world and over 2592 hours of sunshine per year, Sydney was the only Australian city to make the top ten last year.

This year, Brisbane has unexpectedly overtaken Sydney and jumped into sixth place. According to the Benchmarking Brisbane report, the city rates strongly across many measures of liveability, including public transport, safety and friendliness.

While this is Perth’s first year in the City Wellbeing Index’s top ten, the city has previously been placed within a number of other top ten liveability and wellbeing lists, including the Economist’s Global Liveability Report. This is largely due to the city’s world-class education and healthcare facilities, modern infrastructure and healthy, outdoor lifestyle.

Prioritising sustainability

According to Kymbal Dunne, Knight Frank Joint National Head of Private Office, environmental conservation features in the top three philanthropic causes of the world’s uber-wealthy population.

Dunne explains, “When buying property, 56 per cent of our Australian UHNW clients are increasingly concerned about the impact of the buildings they invest in on the wider environment. Over 70 per cent are worried about climate change and the environment and are actively looking at ways to reduce their personal carbon footprint as well as contributing financially to philanthropic activities.”

To determine the City Wellbeing Index, Knight Frank took this data into account and measured each cities sustainability efforts. Drawing on research from their sister report, Active Capital, Knight Frank looked at the number of green buildings that each city had. While London, New York and Los Angeles achieved the highest ranking in this round, Sydney still rated strongly with over 100 Green Star buildings and over 450 NABERS-rated buildings in the city.

The weight of wellbeing

Propelled by the force of the COVID-19 pandemic, wellbeing is emerging as a priority for nations, and their citizens. In 2019, New Zealand was the first country in the world to instate a dedicated wellbeing budget, and Icelandic prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir asked governments to focus on green and family-friendly priorities over economic growth. These attitudes reflects those of the world’s most affluent. As the 2020 Wealth Report Attitude Survey found, more than 80 per cent of UHNWI are dedicated to improving their personal wellbeing.

Michelle Ciesielski, Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank Australia, explained “the most important attribute being considered by the ultra-wealthy when choosing a new prestige home is the availability and quality of local wellness facilities, including healthy-eating options, gyms, spas and sports clubs.”

In the future, it’s likely that more business owners, entrepreneurs and skilled employees will be drawn to investing and building homes in cities, like Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, that can offer this lifestyle.

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