The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has blamed poor design for Melbourne’s drop in the 2018 Global Liveability Index.

After holding the title of ‘world’s most liveable city’ for seven consecutive years, Melbourne has recently been ‘de-throned’ by Vienna, Austria. Melbourne is now ranked second in the Global Liveability Index.

Increasing urban sprawl and poorly-designed apartment buildings have no doubt had an impact on the city’s ranking, according to Amy Muir, president of the AIA’s Victorian Chapter.

“As Melbourne’s population continues to skyrocket there needs to be greater focus on future-proofing the city through planning and ensuring a high-quality and sustainable built environment. The quality of enduring, quality design is integral to maintaining the city’s liveability,” says Muir.

“There needs to be a focus on design-led long-term outcomes and there needs to be a concerted effort by government to support the architectural profession. As it stands, the design of multi-storey buildings remains unregulated as there is no requirement for a registered architect to be engaged in the process.

“Victoria’s building standards need to fall into line with emerging best practice in other jurisdictions to improve safety and amenity, and this means requiring the involvement of a registered architect for all apartment buildings three storeys and above, clamping down on inadequate building supervision, and putting an end to the practice of product substitution or short-term profits.”

Ruth White, executive director of the AIA’s Victorian Chapter, says there needs to be a well-planned focus on Melbourne’s growth and a mandate for design-led development.

“The drop in our liveability ranking should be a call to action and we can’t take for granted that things will continue as they have – we need to work hard to make sure Melbourne remains a vibrant and liveable city.”