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What makes a town or city liveable?

If you Google "liveability" you will see a number of results that link to stories that rank the World's most liveable cities.

One result that attracted my interest related to liveability in Portland in Oregan. In fact it was on a web site that was focussed on a vision for Portland.

That liveability page on was interesting because it summarised the results of interactions with Portlanders (I assume that is what they are called) detailing what they felt made Portland liveable.

While reading the information I could not help but feel that many of the findings would be pretty similar for Kerikeri while some of the others are certainly part of the Vision Kerikeri objectives. The liveability factors were:

  • Portlanders cite “livability” as the attribute they value most about Portland.

  • While Portlanders each define livability in their own terms, certain key features are frequently mentioned as working in combination to create a livable city:

  • A clean and beautiful built and natural environment;

  • Vibrant, well-served neighborhoods;

  • Access to greenspace and nature, both within the city and around it;

  • The ability to get around town easily (lack of traffic, accessible public transportation, ability to bike and use alternate modes, relatively short commute times);

  • “Human scale” and “human-oriented” buildings and streetscapes (not too big, walkable blocks, user-centered design);

  • Big city amenities with a “small town feel”;

  • Friendly and open-minded people who care about the environment, education and a host of social issues;

  • A thriving local economy that provides access to fresh local food, local beer, coffee, clothing design, local musicians and art and so much more;

  • Being able to afford to live in and enjoy the city; and

  • A strong sense of community, fostered by public spaces, neighborhoods, walking and using transit, outdoor events and the local economy.

  • Many people speak of moving to Portland because of its reputation for a high level of livability, and are pleased to discover it is true when they arrive.

  • Just as many long-time residents acknowledge that livability is what keeps them in Portland, even though other cities may offer better job markets or a larger number of attractions.


The information goes on to cover the threat to that liveability. One point which is very relevant to Kerikeri and figures high on Vision Kerikeri list of concerns was:

Development—while there is much debate on this topic, a large number of Portlanders feel that development reduces livability when it is allowed to happen unchecked and when it disregards the community’s vision for the area being developed

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