Investigating the projected benefits of living in a 20-minute neighbourhood

Opportunities exist within Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) to undertake a PhD related to an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project. The project will assess the projected lifestyle benefits associated with the 20-minute neighbourhood. A 20-minute neighbourhood is one where everyday destinations are easily accessible. This ARC project will compare the location and type of food and physical activity behaviours undertaken by residents of existing 20-minute neighbourhoods with the type and location of behaviours undertaken by residents living outside 20-minute neighbourhoods.

Aim of the project

A range of PhD projects can be undertaken to complement the main objectives of the ARC funded work. We are happy to discuss PhD topics of interest related to this project. As an example, the candidate might investigate the quality of neighbourhood features (e.g. streetscapes, services, food stores, public open space or transport infrastructure) and how these are related to health behaviours. Factors to consider include the quality, costs, and opening hours of services and amenities and the aesthetics of neighbourhood characteristics.


The candidate will be supervised by Dr Lukar Thornton who leads a program of research that investigates how neighbourhoods influence health behaviours. This includes building a deeper understanding of how individuals interact with their neighbourhood. My contributions to this field have consolidated my international reputation as a leader in the specific area of neighbourhood food environments and their influence on diet and health.


The student should demonstrate critical thinking skills and be comfortable working with quantitative data.

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