A new study will explore potential planning measures to reduce heart disease, mental illness and type 2 diabetes in residents living in highly urbanised environments. 

The study, Translating Evidence to Support Planning Strategies for Healthier, Higher Density Living, is the result of a partnership between Landcom, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Sydney and UNSW Sydney. 

“As Sydney’s population grows, the way we live is changing,” says Landcom managing director and CEO John Brogden.

“There is a lack of research in Australia and around the world on what is needed to ensure people can live healthy, sustainable lives in an increasingly urbanised environment. There are a lot of questions we don’t [currently] have the answers to.”

The project is being led by UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures associate professor Jason Prior, UNSW professor Susan Thompson, and Sydney University's Dr Jennifer Kent.

Thompson says the study will look at existing research and examine recent Landcom high-density developments at Green Square and Victoria Park.

“This will build on some of the work that we have done here at UNSW on these localities, as well as creating healthy built environments more broadly,” says Thompson.

“I am delighted to be collaborating on the project, which comes at a pivotal point in Sydney’s development history. As apartment living becomes the norm for more and more of us, it is critical that planners and designers know how to make such developments supportive of healthy lifestyles.

“We know that the way we live in cities has an enormous impact on our health. The more we can incorporate being active and socially connected into the environments we encounter and use every day, we reduce our risk for chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression. This research will help to generate the evidence policy makers, planners and urban designers need to make this happen.”

The study is expected to take about two and a half years to complete, and findings will be progressively released through Landcom's annual conference CoLab, which reports on the organisation's research findings and learning activities.