The 20-minute city, associated health benefits and expanding middle Melbourne

The notion of Melbourne becoming a 20-minute City has been explored heavily in recent times.

Seeking to provide Melburnians with the ability to 'live locally', the 20-minute City, in essence, strives to provide people with the ability to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, cycle or local public transport trip of their home.

Plan Melbourne's push toward the 20-minute City would also have immense repercussions for the environment, potentially reducing travel by nine million passenger kilometres and cutting Melbourne’s daily greenhouse gas emissions by more than 370,000 tonnes.

The Heart Foundation and the Victorian Government's Healthy and Active by Design Victoria has the 20-minute City at its core. The push to heighten awareness around the issue of connecting people efficiently with daily necessities has not gone unlost on certain developers.

As awareness of the health issues increases, enterprising developers are beginning to talk up the health benefits of living close to places of employment; this is particularly pertinent in Melbourne's middle suburban apartment market as it begins to mature.

Developer Cedar Woods has of late been talking up the health and wellbeing benefits of living in close proximity to places of employment. Given their Jackson Green development is in close proximity to the Monash Employment Cluster, they are well placed to do so.

According to the Medibank Better Health Index, there are significant health benefits in living closer to places of work, thus reducing time spent commuting during the week. According to the Index, "those travelling one to five kilometres to work having a better overall health score versus those commuting more than 50 kilometres."

Furthermore, "Those with a journey of 30 kilometres or more suffered from various negative health outcomes such as increased stress and weight gain. By living close to work, time usually spent commuting can be put into other important lifestyle activities such as health and exercise, quality family time and personal relaxation."

Cedar Woods have been quick to point this out, using Jackson Green's latest release, Gardenia, as an example of buyers choosing to purchase based on proximity to their workplace.

In a recent media release, Cedar Woods state manager Patrick Archer extolled the virtues of living close to one's place of employment:

People are aware of the negative effects long commute times add to their health and wellbeing, as well as the time they lose each day spent in the car or on public transport getting to work. To help combat this they are placing greater importance on where they live and ensuring it is close to their workplace.

We have noticed a number of buyers at Jackson Green moving to the area because they want to be closer to work. They are being more strategic with their time to create more opportunities to relax, re-energise and reduce the amount of time spent commuting.

Patrick Archer, State Manager, Cedar Woods

The Monash Employment Cluster is the prime example in that it maintains Melbourne’s largest concentration of jobs outside the CBD and includes employment hubs such as the Monash Medical Centre and Monash University.

The advent of further National Employment and Innovation Clusters such as Dandenong, La Trobe, Sunshine and the massive Werribee East project will also serve to draw in greater populations seeking to reside closer to major employment hubs. As Melbourne's population continues to balloon, it seems that so to will congestion across all modes of transport.

People will invariably be drawn to living closer to their places of employment; perhaps now developers spruiking their respective apartment projects in Melbourne's middle suburbs will include another inducement in their marketing campaigns - that of health and wellbeing, and proximity to all that matters.

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