09/12/2008 - 15:00

Perth to be graded on liveability: study

09/12/2008 - 15:00

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The University of Western Australia and the Committee for Perth have teamed up to appoint two international experts to lead a project benchmarking the liveability of Perth and its global connectedness.

The University of Western Australia and the Committee for Perth have teamed up to appoint two international experts to lead a project benchmarking the liveability of Perth and its global connectedness.

The researchers, from the UK and New Zealand, will add to the team of UWA academics working to examine economic, social, demographic and political factors that contribute to Perth's liveability and how that compares with, and connects to, other cities around the world.

The FACTbase project, which is one of the only broad-reaching projects of its kind to be undertaken in the southern hemisphere, will not only condense the plethora of databases and studies on the subject, but map what's happening in Perth in pictures as well as words.

Vice Chancellor of UWA Professor Alan Robson said the five-year project would be undertaken and developed as an academic resource in the first instance but may be expanded to enable broader access via the web.

"UWA is an internationally renowned university that has research links around the globe and FACTbase will not only benchmark Perth's liveability but also measure its global connectedness," he said.

"Interim research findings will be released on a regular basis and, during the course of the project, the study will look at the Perth metropolitan area as a whole, as well as its suburban and urban parts."

Committee for Perth CEO Marion Fulker said the Committee was pleased to co-fund the $800,000 project and partner with the high-calibre university.

"We are particularly pleased the individuals appointed have such extensive skills and experience to dissect and map the information gathered so we can visually see what's happening in Perth and where we stand in the global picture," she said.

"The Committee for Perth acknowledges well known indexes which rank the liveability of cities including Perth but this is, by far, the most comprehensive project undertaken with our metropolitan area as the sole subject. The experience of those involved reflects the importance of FACTbase as a project and its applicability as an ongoing resource for planners and decision makers."

One of the two experts appointed to FACTbase, Dr Felicity Wray, has a PhD in economic geography and is currently located at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom.

Dr Wray's research is focused on economic development, small and medium enterprise, venture capital and finance and public policy. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Newcastle, where she is examining how to create prosperity from science for Newcastle.

The second appointee is Steffen Wetzstein, an economic geographer currently at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

He completed his PhD in Auckland, which looked at the globalisation on the city's economy and governance structures. As part of this research he worked closely with the Committee for Perth's sister organisation, the Committee for Auckland.

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