TUES 25 MAY 2021


Creating a loveable city – a Western Sydney case study


Cities should be vibrant places where people want to live, visit often and stay longer.  To achieve this, urbanisation has to shift beyond liveability to focus on what makes a place loveable by enhancing what contributes to building a sense of place and community.  A loveable city creates an affinity to place by putting people at the centre of planning and design.


Often our cities are planned around the concept of being ‘liveable’ which focuses on the tangible and physical elements of a City.  The creation of a loveable city, however, shifts the paradigm to put people at the centre of planning and place emphasis on some of the intangible elements that give our cities character and a sense of place. This ensures that our cities provide places for setting social interactions, daily routines of social life, an arena for gathering, and a place that reflects the unique local character.


Our team used the loveable city approach to planning to prepare the social infrastructure strategy that informed the precinct Plans for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.  The vision for Aerotropolis is to create Sydney’s third city and a new economic centre around the future Western Sydney International Airport. Social infrastructure and the creation of a vibrant city centre is critical to the success of Aerotropolis. 


The purpose of this session is to explore how a lovable city framework is applied to strategic planning and how it influences design and planning.  We will outline of the key principles for achieving loveability and provide examples of where it has and has not worked.  We will also present our loveable city framework that has established four themes and 18 measures of loveability so that we can easily measure the outcomes of a vibrant city. 

Michala Lander MPIA


Michala is Manager of GHD’s Sydney Engagement, Communication and Communities Team. Throughout her career, Michala has been passionate about creating places that work for people and the activities they perform within them. Michala is an experienced place maker and community engagement practitioner with strong facilitation, qualitative analysis and reporting skills. She specialises in the planning and development of social and community infrastructure such as education, health and sport and recreation facilities.

Marli Roberts


Marli is a Senior Consultant in GHD’s Melbourne Engagement, Communication and Communities Team. She provides placemaking advice to GHD’s multidisciplinary teams. Marli has worked to develop placemaking approaches, place activation strategies, and visitor experience frameworks across urban and regional projects. She has applied these approaches across multiple sectors and project types including tourism, urban regeneration, transport-oriented-development, university campus planning, and main street revitalisation.

Jahni Glasby


Jahni is a Social Planning Consultant in GHD’s Sydney Engagement, Communication and Communities Team. She works with GHD’s multidisciplinary teams to provide advice and support clients in the fields of social infrastructure planning, social impact assessment, placemaking and stakeholder and community engagement including indigenous engagement. Jahni utilises her range of experience and other capabilities in urban planning, GIS and graphic design to have a holistic approach and achieve quality and sustainable outcomes for the organisations and the communities she works with. She is passionate about supporting her clients in achieving lasting community benefit, through people centred planning and design in order to create places people love to live, work and visit.