Forum explores community health and liveability in Melbourne’s west

Forum discusses ways to shape public realm for community health and liveability in Melbourne's west
VU hosted an inaugural forum with government, industry, and research partners on ways to improve the liveability of Melbourne's west.
Monday 10 July 2023

A recent forum about community health and liveability exploring innovative ways to improve the liveability of Melbourne’s west brought together leading thinkers from academia, government and industry.

Associate Professor Elmira Jamei, coordinator of the forum, Community Health and Liveability in Melbourne’s western region, said the event was the first in a planned annual series for key stakeholders to brainstorm ideas, network, and build collaborations in water, transport, green infrastructure, and the community health sectors.

“The west of Melbourne has been the fastest growing region of an already fast growing city, and this is likely to remain the case for some time to come. Such sustained, rapid growth is increasingly placing pressure on infrastructure, and affecting the liveability of our suburbs in the west, and affect the health and wellbeing of urban dwellers residing there,” she said.

While Melbourne is listed high on the world’s most liveable cities, residents in its western region may live in areas with less green space, more traffic congestion, and somehow inadequate access to public transport and employment opportunities.

Associate Professor Jamei added VU has an excellent opportunity to be a pioneering leader in identifying the current challenges of liveability in the region, and then in helping to develop solutions.

“While we are building cities, we also need to implement nature-based solutions to the challenges of liveability, and bring nature into our decision-making to ensure we have a balance between man-made and natural environments,” she said.

RMIT Emeritus Professor Billie Gile-Corti commenced the event with a presentation linking green space and transportation to liveability, setting the scene for panel sessions on stormwater harvesting and planning for micro-mobility in the region.

In the first half of the forum, the speakers highlighted the role of water as a key enabler of liveability, and its vital connections to the lives of not only residents, but also in supporting green spaces, walkable neighbourhoods, and biodiversity.

In the second part, the discussions were continued on micro-mobility opportunities and exploring ways for smarter commuting for the region, given the amount of development occurring here now and in future, including building the new $1.5 billion Footscray Hospital adjacent VU’s Footscray Park Campus.

The next forum, scheduled for mid-2024, would focus on stormwater and greening discussions to continue through Greening the West, promoting stormwater harvesting at Footscray Park, and having further discussions with LGAs in Western Melbourne on potential micro-mobility solutions.


  • Professor Billie Giles Corti, Emeritus Professor, Healthy Liveable Cities Lab, RMIT University
  • Jon Ho, Integrated Water Management Planner, Greater Western Water
  • Dr. Nitin Muttil, Victoria University
  • Patrick Jess, Infrastructure Services, Maribyrnong City Council
  • Prof. Roger Jones, Victoria University
  • Brendan McCrae, Manager Transport Precincts (Sunshine) Department of Transport
  • Mike Day, Co-Founder, Hatch Robert Day
  • Laura-Jo Mellan, Director Planning and Environmental Services, Maribyrnong City Council
  • Dr. John Symons, Victoria University

View a video about the Community Health and Liveability in Melbourne’s Western Region Forum, hosted by Victoria University and held on 26 June.

For further information about the 2024 forum please contact:

  • Professor Stephen Gray (Executive Director, ISILC)
  • Associate Professor Elmira Jamei (Associate Director Engagement and Impact, ISILC)

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