CityPulse Melbourne: insights to shape a better city

5 March

PwC has today revealed the top 10 places to ‘live, work and play’ in Melbourne as part of its first CityPulse release.

The PwC CityPulse is designed to provide a suburb by suburb snapshot for each of our major cities and to help identify some of the underlying opportunities and challenges across our local communities. The ‘Live, Work, Play’ index provides key data points that will help spark important conversations with residents, businesses and policy makers about the current and future states of our major cities.

The Melbourne CityPulse reveals that:

  • The inner suburbs and middle suburbs in the East and South-East remain great places to live and work
  • The Western suburbs have improving access to jobs, but they have relatively low accessibility to local entertainment, parks and recreation
  • Residents in the North have comparatively limited access to jobs and stimulating local economic opportunities

The Top 10 Results for CityPulse Melbourne




1. Richmond

1. Docklands

1. Melbourne

=2. Hawthorn East

2. Melbourne

2. St Kilda

=2. Hawthorn

3. Southbank

3. East Melbourne

4. Moonee Ponds

4. East Melbourne

4. Albert Park

5. Northcote

5. South Yarra - West

=5. Southbank

6. Prahran - Windsor

6. Truganina

=5. Prahran - Windsor

7. Malvern - Glen Iris

7. Albert Park

=7. Richmond

8. Essendon - Aberfeldie

=8. Richmond

=7. Malvern - Glen Iris

=9. Brunswick

=8. Tarneit

=7. South Yarra - East

=9. Carnegie

10. Hawthorn

=10. South Yarra - West


=10. Hawthorn


PwC Melbourne Managing Partner Peter Konidaris explains that ‘Live’ measures the overall amenity of a locality based on factors such as housing affordability, crime rates and access to services such as health care and schools.

“The impact of substantial housing price growth impacted on ‘Live’ scores for suburbs in the inner east despite their great access to services like hospitals and schools, while investing in more essential services and amenities will see the growth areas of Melbourne’s North climb higher up the ranks,” Mr Konidaris said.

‘Work’ which assesses a range of economic factors such as business activity, employment rates, access to jobs and economic performance ranks Docklands as number one.

“The core of jobs in Melbourne has now spread from the CBD into Southbank, St. Kilda Road and Parkville. Significant precincts of jobs and growth are appearing outside of the CBD, in areas supported by strong road infrastructure and transport linkages. These precincts include 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,” Mr Konidaris said.

‘Play’ measuring aspects of the locality that make it an appealing place for leisure activities such as entertainment, dining and cultural or sporting activities saw Melbourne CBD named number one.

“In what was once an extremely CBD-centric city for ‘Play’, Melbourne’s ‘playground has spread well beyond the inner ring. Gaps in ‘Play’ are still prevalent though in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne and out into new growth areas like Beveridge and Donnybrook, and west beyond the Maribyrnong River. Improving the ‘Play’ in these suburbs will have a significant effect on their liveability.”

Key areas of focus to boost liveability and opportunities in the future

The CityPulse calls out three key themes that policy makers can focus on to boost livability across the city in the future.

1: Creating a Melbourne of many cities

PwC Economics and Policy Partner James van Smeerdijk explains that policy makers must shift their focus from singular development opportunities to a ‘precincts approach’ to planning.

“For Melbourne to keep its ranking as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it must become a ‘city of many cities,” Mr van Smeerdijk said.

“With continuing population growth, urban sprawl, increasing congestion and subsequent loss of accessibility and low density, the city’s planners must prioritise a small number of centres for accelerated development into employment-generating, lively mini CBDs.

“Smart planning of precincts outside of the CBD will create vibrant communities where Melburnians can live, work and play, reducing travel times and improving lifestyles by ensuring people have more time for their activities, hobbies and families,” Mr van Smeerdijk said.

2. The west - all work and no play

The CityPulse also reveals the distinct lack of ‘play’ in Melbourne’s west, with below average access to active living, entertainment and cultural areas.

As the West continues to grow, Mr van Smeerdijk says residents will be looking for more accessibility to entertainment, culture and open spaces to support their strong access to jobs.

“In addition to the lifestyle benefits, the economic benefits of ‘Play’ can be game-changing. As creativity becomes an increasingly important driver of our economy, we will see the positive impact of more ‘Play’ flow through to the attraction of knowledge workers and the growth of advanced industries that will ultimately create quality sustainable jobs for more Melburnians,” says Mr van Smeerdijk.

3. Workings towards the north

Further highlighted in the CityPulse is the relatively poor access to jobs for people living north of the CBD.

“Poor local job access in the North is diminishing options for work close to home and is requiring residents to travel to other locations outside of the North. Stimulating the North’s economy to provide local job opportunities for all residents, will help to strengthen the case for investing in infrastructure and better amenity in the region,” Mr Van Smeerdijk said.

For more details about CityPulse Melbourne and for the full results please visit:

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