Fifty years ago Australia had one of the highest standards of living in the world. Australia still rates high on liveable conditions, but it is a very different experience in 2010 to what it was in 1960. This 50 year period has seen enormous change take place in Australian coastal cities, second only to the gold rushes of the 1850s and the post-war boom of the 1950s. This research explores the premise that ìoptimum size does not necessarily lead to optimum liveable conditionsî and uses Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data and interviews with residents who have lived through this period, to create a picture of the changing face of Melbourne. The study will concentrate on the older inner suburbs for the longitudinal analysis, but will also use information from some of the newer outer suburbs, to illustrate how the city has grown and changed from 1960 till today. The growth of a city encompasses many factors including; population, income, housing, transport, infrastructure, leisure work and industry. This is a pilot program that will lead on to a much larger study embracing the development of a questionnaire, which will be administered over a large sample of residents. This study will help government plan for future development by using the experiences of the past to enhance the lives of residents in the future.