A new report by PwC Australia identifies Melbourne’s inner east as the best place to ‘live, work and play’. The report, CityPulse Melbourne evaluates the performance of various suburbs against each of the three metrics – live, work and play – and reveals the top ten places.

While the ‘live’ metric was evaluated based on housing affordability, crime rates and access to healthcare and education, the ‘work’ metric was scored against business activity, employment rates, access to jobs and economic performance. The ‘play’ metric was assessed on the basis of availability of options for leisure including entertainment, dining, cultural or sporting activities.

Melbourne’s inner-east has been rated as the best place to live with an excellent public transport network increasing accessibility and strong jobs growth supported by focused efforts on creating an arts, culture and sports precinct in the area. However, there are growth areas around the inner city that need more essential services and amenities, affordable housing, and accessibility to leisure activities to achieve higher ‘live’, ‘work’ and ‘play’ scores.

PwC’s CityPulse Melbourne suggests a transition to a polycentric city model by creating new hubs of opportunity in these developing growth areas outside the CBD and its immediate surrounds. This can be accomplished by identifying and prioritising some of these centres with the right potential for accelerated development, transforming them into a series of mini-CBDs and investing in better transport links for better accessibility, thereby attracting business investment and employment, allowing high density residential development, creating entertainment opportunities and building social infrastructure.

Key findings of PwC’s CityPulse Melbourne:


Melbourne’s inner-east has the highest overall ‘live’ rating but substantial housing price growth is placing downward pressure on the scores of more expensive suburbs such as Toorak, Armadale and Malvern, despite their excellent access to hospitals and schools. Richmond, Hawthorn East, Hawthorn, Moonee Ponds and Northcote were listed as the top 5 best lifestyle suburbs. Growth areas in Melbourne’s north need more essential services and amenities to achieve higher ‘live’ scores.


Melbourne’s CBD core, which is known for employment generation, has now spread into Docklands, Southbank, St Kilda Road and Parkville. Precincts outside of the CBD including areas around Clayton and Dandenong to the south-east (including Monash University), towards Melbourne Airport and Essendon Airport in the north-west, and Laverton and Derrimut to the west show potential as they are all supported by a strong road infrastructure and transport links. The best suburbs for ‘work’ include Docklands, Melbourne, Southbank, East Melbourne and South Yarra West.


Melbourne was ranked the best for ‘play’ over St Kilda, East Melbourne, Albert Park and Southbank. However, Melbourne’s northern suburbs as well as new growth areas such as Beveridge and Donnybrook, and west beyond Sunshine all show gaps in ‘play’ accessibility.