Why it’s so important
Australia’s major cities are becoming larger and denser, with more and more people – both domestic and from overseas – gravitating towards the opportunities they offer. With this intense growth comes great opportunities for cities to evolve and thrive in new, sustainable ways. It also, however, places considerable pressure on our infrastructure and our communities, as we adjust to a different way of living. As we grow, we need to be mindful not to grow apart. Loneliness and social isolation aren’t just sad; they’re killers. In recent studies involving over 3.7 million adults, over a third of people aged 45-plus categorised themselves as lonely, and this was found to increase the risk of premature death by 50 per cent.
How we’re positioned to drive change
As an end-to-end developer, Mirvac has a remarkable ability to impact the communities in and around its assets, over 80 per cent of which are in Sydney and Melbourne. We take this responsibility very seriously – after all, the places we create will shape the lives of the people who live, work and play there. It’s important that we ask ourselves what kind of legacy we want to leave, how we can enrich communities, and that we listen to our stakeholders so we understand what’s important to them. By doing so, we can make collaborative decisions that affect people in a positive way, and create places where people feel safe, happy, healthy and connected.
Our progress to date
Over the past few years, we have worked with KPMG to develop a tool that measures our Social Return on Investment (SROI), enabling us to see the difference we’re making in the communities we create.
We’ve made great progress at places like Gainsborough Greens in Queensland, where we engaged with the community very early on, and continue to do so. And likewise at Woodlea in Victoria, where we’ve made a concerted effort to understand and respond to the needs of the community, partnering with Queensland University of Technology to develop a five-year study into residents’ views on safety, health and wellbeing, and community connectivity.
Another place we’ve worked to boost livability and reduce social disadvantage is Olivine, where we’re collaborating to implement a Growth Areas Social Planning Tool, and have opened a community hub where residents can play an active role in developing the fabric of their community.
Social return on investment is not yet a perfect science, but we believe it’s worth investing in. We’ll continue to refine our approach to SROI, looking at which areas matter most to our stakeholders, and where we can drive the greatest social return. We’ve also committed to tripling our community investment by 2022, curate positive community experiences at our retail centres, and ensure that community relations representatives are part of our residential developments – helping us to continue creating a legacy we can be proud of.