What Australia Wants Report

Heart Foundation What Australia Wants study:  community call to live locally in walkable neighbourhoods

The design of the area in which you live can directly affect how active and healthy you are. For example, walking to local shops, schools and services daily can easily contribute to the 150 minutes of weekly moderate physical activity that we all need for good health. However, if you need to drive everywhere, and don’t live in a walkable area close to parks, open space and the things and places you need, physical activity (and overall health) can suffer.  

That’s why the Heart Foundation asked 2,895 Australians what matters most to them in making neighbourhoods desirable, liveable and healthy. The findings are presented in our report What Australia Wants: Living locally in walkable neighbourhoods

The study sought to measure consumer needs and aspirations with regard to the type of neighbourhood and community Australians would like to live in.  

What did they tell us? 

Overwhelmingly, Australians want to live locally in walkable neighbourhoods, within easy access to fresh, healthy food, and other everyday destinations. The survey also found that a sense of safety is also high on the priority list for Australians when deciding where to live. These design features matter to Australians because they contribute to our health and wellbeing. 

Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, Director Active Living at the Heart Foundation described the findings, saying:  

“The ability to ’live locally’ is enabled by having a neighbourhood where the things that you need such as fresh, healthy food, safe neighbourhood streets, and daily destinations are near to your home, ideally in walking distance”.  

Professor Shilton added, “We found that: 

  • Nine in 10 Australians feel that having access to fresh food within a convenient distance from home is very / somewhat important to them when deciding where to live.  
  • Nearly nine in 10 people feel that having a sense of safety is very / somewhat important to them when deciding where to live.  
  • Just over eight in 10 value having natural elements such as trees and plants. 
  • Around seven in 10 Australians value traffic calming measures. 
  • Around seven in 10 also value a sense of community. 
  • Eight in 10 people surveyed feel that having quality public open space close to them is very / somewhat important to them when deciding where to live.  
  • Nearly eight in 10 people surveyed said its very / somewhat important to them that they can be active in their local area”. 

Download the full report

How you can help 

We have made the full report publicly available so it can be used to help drive change in the places where we live and positively influence the creation of more places that support and promote health and wellbeing of all Australians. 

You can additionally download state-based summaries here:

We encourage you to share these resources with your colleagues, broader network and contacts, as well as use the findings to complement your own work. 

To ensure the latest versions are always in circulation, we ask that you please direct everyone to this page to download the reports themselves.