Experts study Wollongong's liveability

If you are walking, sitting, dining or just spending time in Wollongong's CBD over the next few days, chances are your movements will be tracked and counted by Wollongong City Council.

But don't worry, it's not a scary Big Brother experiment - it's part of a new study on how to make the city more liveable.

The study is being led by leading urban planner Henriette Vamberg, from renowned Copenhagen firm Gehl Architects.

She is spending a week in Wollongong, working closely with the council to teach staff how to carry out the "Gehl methodology", which was developed by the firm's founder Jan Gehl.

For decades the unique urban planning approach has been used in cities like New York, Melbourne and London, and involves counting and measuring the movement of people.

"It's funny, because we have all this research on Siberian tigers and their habitat, but hardly any similar work on what works for humans," she said.

"So at Gehl we look at how a city is used: how many people are walking, what places they use, what is the age and gender spilt and what time of the day are they doing it."

After three days in Wollongong, Ms Vamberg has made some assessments about the city, saying the lacklustre CBD needs to match the region's escarpment and beaches.

After she returns to Copenhagen, the city council will continue to measure and analyse how people use Wollongong's public spaces, before compiling a comprehensive report on city life.

Strategic project officer Bridget Jarvis said staff would be out in force on Wednesday and Saturday nights to measure the CBD's nightlife.

"The idea is to build up data and information about the city ... so that we can analyse that over the coming months," she said.

"We're not here with an agenda, we are just trying to create a beautiful city environment."

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