News

Urban Planning Related News

We bring you a hand picked selection of news and opinion articles relating to urban planning. While there is likely to be an Australian bias, many of the articles are from other parts of the world and deal with 'big picture' topics and issues that we can all identify with. We hope you enjoy it.

 

7 Dec 2017

 

Australian cities and their metropolitan plans still seem to be parallel universes

Metropolitan planning has a surprisingly long pedigree in Australia. Practices have evolved steadily in response to shifting large-scale urban problems. However, capital cities today present a suite of complex issues that challenge planning systems and demand better alignment between problem and response. In major cities across Australia, there’s a stark contrast between lofty planning goals and the sprawling reality on the ground.

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How Developing Without Developers Can Shape the Future of Australian Cities

While profit-driven development remains the primary method of shaping Australian cities, unconventional methods of delivering housing are becoming more widespread. Despite urban consolidation policies by Australian governments at all levels, new apartment supply has not placed the necessary downwards pressure on housing prices. Urban planning for Australia’s population growth — expected to double by 2075 — is often inadequate, and it is important to consider how both public and private enterprise can foster collaborative and flexible urban planning responses. Alternative models that provide high-quality, sustainable and lower-cost housing have the potential to quietly transform the market.

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Cities of hope: Tim Flannery on tackling the challenge of climate change

In an address to the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, the award-winning author and scientist describes why, in the face of seemingly unstoppable global warming, cities could offer our best chance of averting catastrophe.

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After metrics: new narratives to revive the regions

After decades of urban metrics flung at a revolving door of decision-makers, George Megalogenis argues it's time to bring a more human-centred narrative into city and regional planning for his 2017 Griffin Lecture.

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Greener places, better lives, deeper pockets

New South Wales’ ‘Greener Places’ draft policy marks an important step in the design and delivery of green infrastructure. It aims to place trees and parks on a par with roads and energy. But without proper funding it may struggle to leave an integrated ‘legacy of great spaces and greener places'.

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Experts predict build-to-rent revolution coming to Australia

The number of homes built explicitly to rent out is set to take off in Australia over the next five years, housing industry experts have predicted. They’ll be nothing like we’ve seen before, either, with building managers looking after apartments, staff to look after leases and run “community” events, and onsite cafes, shops and work spaces. There will also be long-term rolling leases with the potential for tenants to transfer to other allied blocks in different areas if their jobs or circumstances change.

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Is this underpass promise under-developed?

The promise by the Opposition in Victoria to grade-separate 55 congested intersections is likely to be politically appealing, but the case hasn't been made it's a sensible policy

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People love parklets, and businesses can help make them happen

As councils across Australia strive to enhance their liveability, parklets are proving popular among city communities. A poll of 300-plus citizens gathered for the inaugural Perth City Summit in August found parklets are the street activation people would most like to see. But why are they so desirable?

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Academic argues for a fourth tier of government to improve planning

A metropolitan tier of government could help regional Queensland areas plan more effectively for development and growth, an urban planning expert has argued. Griffith University's Tony Matthews said state governments and councils worked together to manage urban planning in Australia.

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Renew Newcastle project bundled into a box to inspire artists

The story of Newcastle's urban renewal project has been squeezed into road cases and is set to roll out to Australian cities and towns.

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16 Nov 2017

Urban Development Institute of Australia calls for super planning authority to have power over development in growth areas

Masses of red tape and a lack of accountability by authorities, including local councils, have delayed new housing and caused price rises, according to a developers lobby group.

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Australia Not Investing Enough on Freight Infrastructure

As Australia undergoes record investment in roads and passenger rail, state and Commonwealth ministers have lined up to cut the ribbon on congestion busting developments.

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A collaborative approach to city planning - 30 minute cities

A strong theme of the draft Greater Sydney Region Plan is better integrating urban planning and transport planning

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Urban Growth Trends and Rise of Tech in Cities Point to Widening Disparities

Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) released new research on the future of equity that shows that as cities become infused with technology, they must ensure inclusion is a core tenet of city planning to reverse the growing economic and social divide.

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Bill Gates just bought 25,000 acres in Arizona to build a new 'smart city'

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has purchased nearly 25,000 acres of land in southwestern Arizona for the construction of a brand-new smart city, AZ Central reports.

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Planning reforms a step forward but they could add more red tape

The package of reforms passed by the NSW Parliament are a step forward for the planning system in NSW but the detail resolution of the reforms could lead to some elements slowing planning applications down.

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Living rooms for rent by the minute outsource the whole idea of home

Zifferblatt with double f and double t is a German and Russian word for a watch face. Ziferblat with only one f and one t is a home you can rent by the minute. The missing letters are a clue to what you get  not the whole deal.

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Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth

Large health inequalities exist in Australia. Car ownership and its costs add to the health inequalities between low-income and high-income households. The physical characteristics of neighbourhoods influence our transport use and, in turn, make health inequalities better or worse.

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Should we demand more of heavy vehicle drivers?

It's time to consider if heavy vehicle driver licensing should require that applicants understand the risks they pose for others and are committed to protecting their welfare

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How will driverless vehicles change our cities?

Once the difficult transition period when human controlled vehicles are still common is over, a world of fully driverless vehicles should be a lot different from today

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Natural hazard risk: is it just going to get worse or can we do something about it?

But how can we do this? What decisions can we make today that will reduce the future risk of natural hazards, especially in a time of climate change? As an example, lets take Adelaide, the South Australian capital, which is home to about 1.3 million people.

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7 Nov 2017 

Freeing up the huge areas set aside for parking can transform our cities

Cities around the world are starting to rethink the vast areas of land set aside for parking. The convergence of several trends likely will mean this space becomes available for other uses.

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Rise of the suburban goat: Increase in ownership prompts a warning from vets

The suburban goat is becoming an increasingly common sight in Australian backyards as more people choose them as pets.

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Electric cars could be subsidised in Canberra; free parking, tax breaks proposed

ACT Environment Commissioner Kate Auty co-authored a report proposing incentives for drivers looking to make the switch to electric. The proposed inducements include free parking, the ability to use transit and carpool lanes, and tax incentives for people looking to take up electric vehicles.

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While some Perth suburbs are battling after the boom, others are thriving

University of Western Australian urban and regional planning expert Paul Maginn said the inner-city suburb of Leederville, in particular, had "weathered the downturn" and had morphed into an interesting space over the past three years.

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Are there easy fixes for traffic congestion?

Politicans like to sell new roads and rail lines as the solution to traffic congestion but it's an illusion. There are no quick or politically easy fixes for peak-hour traffic

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Who’s noticed the suburbs are turning green?

One of the the great unheralded changes in Australia's cities was the greening of the suburbs - both old and new - over the last thirty to fifty years

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What’s the problem a Melbourne airport rail link would solve?

There needs to be a clear and focused justification for spending billions of dollars on building a rail line from the CBD to Melbourne Airport

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Productivity Commission focus on cities raises concerns about inflexible planning systems

The Productivity Commission’s 5 year productivity review raises significant issues about inflexible planning systems that are impacting on the nation’s productivity, says the Urban Taskforce.

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The experience of Vancouver highlights the importance, and the difficulty, of building better cities

The heart of the issue here is how cities respond to change.

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This is what Australia’s growing cities need to do to avoid running dry

The increasing thirst of Australia’s biggest cities routinely exceeds our capacity to rely on rainfall for drinking water. Australia is facing a fast-approaching “perfect storm” of growing urban populations and declining rainfall to supply storage reservoirs.

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Australian Cities Rank Lower Globally For Sustainable Transport

Australian cities have some of the most unsustainable transport systems in the world — earning significantly lower scores than their global counterparts on Arcadis’ 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index.

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19 Oct 2017 

Gungahlin's growing pains leave north Canberra residents feeling the squeeze

Gungahlin is one of Australia's fastest-growing regions, but a leading planning expert says a "disastrous" lack of suitable infrastructure has left the burgeoning town centre feeling the squeeze.

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How 'Greening' Improves Melbourne's Quality Of Life

Urban greening projects in Melbourne’s west are contributing to making the region cooler, more pleasant and healthier to live in and travel through. The key to this success is the Greening the West initiative. Since 2011 this has brought together 23 organisations that, by the end of 2018, will have collectively planted more than 1 million trees in Melbourne’s west.

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3D modelling to transform urban planning

The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) recently held a special symposium discussing exciting new research into Precinct Information Modelling (PIM) — a type of 3D digital prototyping that promises to be a game changer for planning future city precincts.

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Australian Technology A ‘Game Changer’ For Development Site Planning

A new technology that can generate up to 3000 apartment building designs per hour in accordance with government planning regulations has hit the market.

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Alphabet will build a futuristic city within the city of Toronto

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs will develop a futuristic, billion-dollar community along a sizable swathe of Toronto's waterfront.

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Parramatta Light Rail must stimulate development along the route

The announcement by Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, of the preferred route for Parramatta’s light rail must be complemented by increased density along the route.

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Sydney is not full- It is evolving from a Suburban to an Urban model

Alarmist polling that indicates that two thirds of Sydney residents say the city is full, reflect the tensions from change.

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Do the suburbs make you fat?

Suburbanites are fatter than inner city residents, but it might not be because the suburbs are more car-oriented; it might be because the two regions attract different types of people

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Is Sydney really full to the brim?

It’ll make mistakes like it always has, but Sydney’s problem with growth isn’t about physical capacity. The issue is most existing home owners don’t want things to change

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Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth

Large health inequalities exist in Australia. Car ownership and its costs add to the health inequalities between low-income and high-income households.

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Some suburbs are being short-changed on services and liveability – which ones and what’s the solution?

Australia’s population has grown by 3.8 million over the last decade. Of the capital cities, Melbourne has grown the fastest – close to 1 million newcomers in the ten years to June 2016.

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28 Sept 2017 

 

Should airport trains also serve metro passengers?

One of the key issues that needs to be worked through in planning mass transit access to airports is integration with the existing rail network

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Is subsidising airport train fares the way to go?

The fare travellers will pay - whether less than $5 or more than $25 - is a key issue in planning for a mass transit connection between Melbourne Airport and the city centre

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Mansplaining Australian cities – we can do something about that

The American writer Rebecca Solnit, in her groundbreaking collection of essays, including the eponymous Men Explain Things To Me, first used the term “mansplaining” to describe how men claim superior knowledge and control making the meaning of things.

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Privatised land title offices can harness new technologies to provide a better service

It’s highly likely that all Australians buying or selling property or subdividing land will soon be dealing with privately operated land title registries. Both sides of politics in Australia appear supportive of privatising these registries and it is happening fast.

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We’re investing heavily in urban greening, so how are our cities doing?

Governments at all levels invest a lot in greening Australian suburbs. Yet, in a recent report, we show that the greening efforts of most of our metropolitan local governments are actually going backwards.

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Federal Treasurer’s Affordable Housing Initiatives

The Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison’s, draft legislation to assist with housing affordability for Australians is a positive move.

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Reach for the sky: why safety must rule as tall buildings aim highe

If the right environmental conditions exist, is there an upper limit to building tall? Actually, our planning should include safety considerations, not just engineering capability.

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Beijing eyes long-term plan to minimize city scale

The scheme gives Beijing strict control over the city scale and the ability to dilute its capital functions based on its resources and environmental capacity

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Ford signs deal with Lyft for self-driving taxis by 2021

Ford will work with Lyft to develop self-driving cars in a move that pits it directly against General Motors, which has also invested in the business.

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Why our poorer suburbs could be up to 10 degrees hotter than their wealthier neighbours

Poor and disadvantaged Australian suburbs are at risk of being more than 10 degrees hotter than greener, wealthier areas, an RMIT University study has found.

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Tiny houses should be permitted in Australian suburbs

Planning and development provide rich pickings for aspiring politicians. There are more votes to be had in kicking a property developer than supporting development, so this is the default position of many election campaigns.

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21 Sept 2017

Should bike helmets be mandatory? Bicycle Network reviews its support of Australian law

Australia's biggest bike-riding organisation is open to changing its near 30-year support for mandatory helmet laws, and it's looking to the people to help guide its decision.

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Sydney’s Cloud Arch critics and our mean-spirited approach to public art

Junya Ishigami’s towering Cloud Arch, the most ambitious project in scale and cost, was almost unanimously applauded.

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Federal Treasurer’s Affordable Housing initiatives a positive move

The Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison’s, draft legislation to assist with housing affordability for Australians is a positive move, says the Urban Taskforce.

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In Barcelona, technology is a means to an end for a smart city

How can technology lead to more participation in democratic processes? Who should own and control city data? Can cities embrace a model that socializes data and encourages new forms of cooperation and democratic innovation?

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The future of mobility: tech and the city of tomorrow

Today, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 75 percent by 2050. A recent United Nations report projects that urbanisation, combined with population growth, is likely to add another 2.5 billion to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.

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Bike share schemes may seem a waste of space but the economics makes sense

Have you ever walked past (or tripped over) a shared bike and wondered how it's possible for the business to survive with a ride costing as little as $2 per half hour?

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Australia's urban growth requires plan: University of Canberra's Barbara Norman

Australia should learn from the havoc wreaked on the United States by Hurricane Irma and other weather events to better plan city growth, a University of Canberra expert has told federal Parliament.

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What are the key issues for Melbourne Airport rail?

The solution is seen as a single rail line, but it should be conceived as the package of infrastructure and policies that will best improve the accessibility of Melbourne Airport

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Sustainable cities? Australia’s building and planning rules stand in the way of getting there

Australia’s building and land-use policy settings fall well short of what’s needed to make meaningful progress toward creating sustainable cities.

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More than just drains: recreating living streams through the suburbs

Lot sizes and backyards are shrinking in Australia at the same time as building density is increasing. So we cannot afford to overlook the potential of existing – but neglected – spaces in our suburbs, like drains.

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Can the world’s megacities survive the digital age?

Today, megacities have become synonymous with economic growth. In both developing and developed countries, cities with populations of 10 million or more account for one-third to one-half of their gross domestic product.

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Interest in tiny houses is growing, so who wants them and why?

Tiny houses are now so popular that someone was charged with stealing one last week. A social media campaign tracked its journey from Canberra to Hervey Bay. My research to date has found a marked increase in people who want their own tiny house, particularly among older women.

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4th Sept 2017 

Forget heatwaves, our cold houses are much more likely to kill us

A pervasive myth in Australia is that hot weather is the greatest danger to our health. In reality, it’s more likely cold weather will kill you.

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Can our cities’ thriving creative precincts be saved from ‘renewal’?

Governments are busily rezoning our cities for high-rise apartments. The New South Wales government, for example, plans to rezone a 20-kilometre corridor in Sydney, from Sydenham to Bankstown, for urban density, in concert with a new metro rail line. Residents and community groups have reacted vociferously to the prospects of high-rise buildings in previously low-density suburbs.

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Does Australia Need a Federal Housing Minister?

At a state level, areas which impact upon housing include planning and infrastructure, taxation (such as stamp duty, land tax and the like) and public housing management. Federally, housing is affected by monetary policy, taxation, infrastructure and social services.

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Houston's Flood Is a Design Problem

Floods cause greater property damage and more deaths than tornadoes or hurricanes. And Houston’s flood is truly a disaster of biblical proportions: The sky unloaded 9 trillion gallons of water on the city within two days, and much more might fall before Harvey dissipates, producing as much as 60 inches of rain.

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Alok Patel: Clover Moore's standing in the way of a smarter Sydney

For all the hype around smart cities, the promises never quite seem to reach people’s day-to-day lives. Where is our “internet of things”? Why can’t I book a parking spot at my destination before I leave home? When is this technology finally going to make my life better?

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China's smart city plan to boost surveillance

Smart cities will collect and centralise data on everything from transport and waste management, to pollution and crime. The government says it will improve urban planning and boost the economy, but critics say it’s about tightening control.

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Buenos Aires Rises as Latin America’s Leading Smart City

Designated as Latin America’s smartest city, Buenos Aires’ digital innovation, sustainability, open government and technology advancements are putting it at the forefront of the trend in the region.

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IPART confirms infrastructure levies could rise by $50,000 a lot

The report issued by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) on Blacktown City Council’s request to increase local infrastructure levies indicates that when the $30,000 cap on these levies is removed housing could increase by $50,000 a lot, says the Urban Taskforce.

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CEDA Report on Housing Australia highlights importance of Planning and Infrastructure

The recent report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) highlights the importance of improving planning systems and in providing infrastructure, says the Urban Taskforce.

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Sydney housing completions begin to fall

The latest Sydney housing monitor data from the NSW Government indicates a fall in housing completions of 9 Percent

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Is selling public housing land to developers a good policy?

The Victorian Government's policy of inviting proposals from the private sector to redevelop outdated public housing estates is proving controversial

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23rd August 2017 

Why investor-driven urban density is inevitably linked to disadvantage

Lack of regulation in the apartment construction boom is creating suburban concentrations of lower-income households on a scale hitherto experienced only in the legacy inner-city high-rise public housing estates.

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It’s not just the buildings, high-density neighbourhoods make life worse for the poor

Last year marked the first time that construction began on more higher-density housing in Australia than detached dwellings. While many may claim this as a success for “compact city” policies, the negative consequences of this transition disproportionately affect lower-income and disadvantaged households.

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Housing shortage in Victoria with supply unable to keep up with population growth

Victoria is underprepared for its booming population and needs to embrace higher density living if it is to keep up with demand for new homes, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) has said.

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Is Melbourne's liveability gong mostly bullshit?

The media and politicians continue to give it credibility but they know the EIU's 'world's most liveable city' gong has little bearing on the life of residents of Melbourne

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State design policy must balance quality with affordability

The announcement by the NSW Government of a new integrated design policy must balance well-meaning aspirations towards high quality with the impact on affordability, says the Urban Taskforce.

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Central Goldfields Shire to be sacked after 'explosive' report reveals serious governance failures

A Local Government Inspectorate report into the Central Goldfields Shire released last week found serious governance failures that had cost ratepayers an estimated $730,000.

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How ‘temporary urbanism’ can transform struggling industrial towns

What will become of manufacturing towns in a post-industrial world? From the Ruhr region of Germany to the American “Rust Belt”, once-prosperous factory cities are today faced with dwindling industry, shrinking populations and fundamental questions about their role in the modern global economy.

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Turnbull Government Explains the First Home Super Saver Scheme

The Federal Government has released draft legislation relating to the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which also includes superannuation tax exemptions to encourage home downsizing.

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Melbourne CBD rises through the density rankings to become the most densely populated SA2 region in Australia

Newly released Census data highlights the rapid densification of Melbourne’s CBD where the number of residents per square kilometre has more than doubled over the past decade.

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Housing affordability: 6000 homes removed from rental market as landlords turn to Airbnb

New data from the University of Sydney's Urban Housing Lab suggests the home-sharing website may be worsening housing affordability particularly in Sydney's inner city and coastal suburbs as well as the NSW North Coast.

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10th August 2017 

How walkable urban places are becoming a market force

Connected, healthy, smart and affordable: these are the four factors that emerged as the most important to making our cities liveable, according to a survey of more than 2500 residents we released this week.

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No harm done? ‘Sexual entertainment districts’ make the city a more threatening place for women

Increasingly liberal attitudes to sex have allowed for greater public celebration of sexual diversity, but the desires of heterosexual men still dominate urban environments.

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Backyard blitz having an adverse impact on our health, planning expert warns

Amid regular talk of the need for higher-density housing and less urban sprawl, there are concerns that the loss of backyards is bad for our health.

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Cities of the future: What if elevators could move horizontally (and even diagonally)?

New technology could make it practical to build skyscrapers far taller than even today's highest – and change how people live, work and play in tall buildings.

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This is how regional rail can help ease our big cities’ commuter crush

In Sydney and Melbourne, the squeeze is on. Population is booming; house prices are still rising; roads and trains are congested. Australian governments generally have ignored the benefits of relating metropolitan and regional planning.

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Independent panels will streamline council planning

The announcement by the NSW Government that independent planning panels will determine all development applications with a value of between more than $5 million but less than $30 million in value in Sydney and Wollongong will streamline planning in metropolitan Sydney says the Urban Taskforce.

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Wilton Plan for 15,000 New homes Good News

The announcement by the NSW Government that the draft plan for Wilton new town and Wilton South East are now on exhibition is good news for Sydney’s housing supply says the Urban Taskforce.

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A regional rail fantasy map

Here's master mapmaker Adam Mattinson's vision of what a high quality regional rail network could look like in Victoria. Sheer fantasy, you say?

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Are the politicians trying to con us on this one?

If the "20-minute" city is defined by how many everyday services can be accessed by bicycle then we've already got it and the claims of Federal and State leaders look like a con

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Leading Digital Transformation Is Like Urban Planning

Most companies want their businesses to keep pace with digital startups, but end up bogged down by the need to fix the daily challenges that their decades-old IT systems create. How do you redesign and rebuild major infrastructure while keeping the day-to-day work going?

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Community in the City: Conservatives Talk Urban Planning

Conservatives and government planning mix about as well as oil and water. Although most on the right would admit that governments, particularly at the local level, have a role to play in building roads, sidewalks, sewers, and other public works projects, they are wary about attempting to use policy to attempt to shape how people live.

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3rd August 2017

Planners know depressingly little about a city’s impacts on our mental health

A large body of research shows that living in cities can harm our health. We know poor urban design can lead to people being less physically active, which is a factor in weight problems, obesity and cancers. But did you know urban life might lead to poor mental health?

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Affordable housing shortfall leaves 1.3m households in need and rising – study

A new report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) reveals, for the first time, the extent of housing need in Australia. An estimated 1.3 million households are in a state of housing need, whether unable to access market housing or in a position of rental stress. This figure is predicted to rise to 1.7 million by 2025.

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Vanishing Australian backyards leave us vulnerable to the stresses of city life

The traditional Australian suburban backyard is being lost to higher-density housing and massive project homes on small lots.

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How drones, driverless cars and new technology will change cities like Adelaide and how we live our lives

WHEN Hollywood film director Ridley Scott put out Blade Runner in 1982, he based the dramatic opening shot of the sci-fi classic on his native northeast England and the blue-collar Middlesbrough with its vast chemical plants and steelworks lighting up the night sky.

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Have we passed peak car (parking)?

Australian city dwellers have passed peak travel (kilometres per capita) but it seems they haven't passed peak car ownership or peak parking

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Is public transport the only solution to congestion?

Public transport is a big part of the answer to congestion but it can't do it alone. But congestion isn't the only big issue; so is providing access to places as population grows

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Is popular support for city growth disappearing?

No matter what experts think, slowing population growth – and hence immigration – seems to be a very powerful political idea winning support across the demographic board

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Battle for Box Hill: Residents warns of slums as high-rise surge in hot market

Box Hill's skyline will dwarf that of Hobart or Canberra within three years, with 11 towers approved or under construction and dozens more to come.

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Millenials prefer revitalized historic areas not malls

Are millennials the key to preservation? A new survey finds that millennials prefer to live, work and play in neighborhoods with historic buildings.

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Why Sydney's new light rail trams won't carry passengers on inner west line

Different standards for Sydney's inner west light rail line and a new $2.1 billion line from the central city to the south east mean trams carrying passengers won't be able to switch between the two.

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Class divide defies social mixing and keeps public housing stigma aliv

Public housing reform is again agitating the inner suburbs, just as it did four decades ago when citizen action and courageous academic research brought the tower-block model crashing down.

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20 July 2017

Farming the suburbs – why can’t we grow food wherever we want?

Food provides the foundations for human flourishing and the fabric of sustainability. It lies at the heart of conflict and diversity, yet presents opportunities for cultural acceptance and respect.

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Blaming migrants won’t solve Western Sydney’s growing pains

Western Sydney is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia. It’s also one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse, as a key arrival point for refugees and new migrants when they first settle in Australia.

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Driverless cars set to shift how we think

Driverless cars in Adelaide. Are we really ready for this? “Absolutely,” says Rita Excell, executive director of the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative.

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“Smart” Cities And Buildings: The Emergence Of The Cyber Safe Building

The increase in IoT-enabled devices and interconnectivity between various building management systems (BMS) prompts larger questions about cybersecurity and data privacy concerns. These challenges are hardly new, but they are magnified in an IoT-connected world.

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Growth Infrastructure Compacts need careful management

The Greater Sydney Commission’s proposed Growth Infrastructure Compacts will need careful management to ensure that development and infrastructure are both achieved, says the Urban Taskforce.

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This Is Your Brain on Architecture

Sarah Williams Goldhagen was the architecture critic for The New Republic for many years, a role she combined with teaching at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and elsewhere. She is an expert on the work of Louis Kahn, one of the 20th century’s greatest architects, known for the weighty, mystical Modernism of buildings like the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and the Bangladeshi parliament in Dhaka.

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How did a single computer failure take out the whole of the Melbourne rail network?

If you don’t live in Australia, then your only experience of Metro Trains Melbourne is probably the ghoulishly jolly Dumb Ways To Die animated clip that went viral in 2012. But, as the clip loosely implies, the group operates one of the southern hemisphere’s largest metro rail networks.

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10 Chinese Megacities to See Before You Die

Polluted and crowded. Also distinct and completely fascinating.

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Five lessons from Tokyo, a city of 38m people, for Australia, a nation of 24m

The release of 2016 Census data provides a good opportunity to reflect on the future growth of Australian cities. And what better example of the future to use than Tokyo?

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How is Melbourne’s population density changing? (2006-2016)

With the first major release of 2016 census data, it’s possible to take a detailed look at the latest population density numbers in Melbourne. This post will explore how and where Melbourne’s density is increasing by comparing data from the 2006, 2011, and 2016 censuses.

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13 July 2017 

With better data access, urban planners could help ease our weight problems

A recent episode of ABC TV’s Ask the Doctor pointed to poor urban planning as a major culprit in worsening obesity rates and associated lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. The show highlighted suburbs without footpaths, fresh-food outlets or exercise opportunities.

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Getting smarter about making cities smart

Every city is evolving at its own particular pace, though all are aligned to a common principle of modernizing their infrastructure services – public transportation, utilities, health care – by leveraging technology and law enforcement in “smart” ways to improve quality of life while assuring operational efficiency.

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Is faux heritage the future?

Melbourne City Council requires the facade of this old pub to be retained when redeveloped even though the building has no demonstrated heritage value.

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Should Australia have a population of 15 million?

THE optimal population size for Australia is just 15 million people. That’s the opinion of environmental experts Peter Martin and James Ward from the University of South Australia, and Paul Sutton from the University of Denver.

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Are outer growth suburbs dystopian?

The media loves to portray fringe growth suburbs as hell on earth and suggest they should be done away with. But they're neither optional nor dystopian.

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Is Melbourne Metro being built way too fast?

The Sunday Age reckons the Andrews Government has cynically chosen to use a truck-intensive tunnelling method so it can get the Melbourne Metro rail project finished faster.

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Tracking the heartbeat of modern cities

It has been 35 years since globally influential urban planner Professor Michael Batty last visited Brisbane. So what does he make of the changing face of Queensland’s capital?

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Is popular support for city growth evaporating?

No matter what experts think, slowing population growth – and hence immigration – seems to be a very powerful political idea winning support across the demographic board.

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Should corridors be protected for HSR?

Infrastructure Australia reckons protecting corridors for East Coast High Speed Rail would save billions, but the case hasn't been made that the project makes sense.

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Aussies choose Urban Living- 2016 Census

The results of the 2016 Australian Census clearly demonstrate the swing to urban living across the country, says the Urban Taskforce.

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26 June 2017 

Bust the regional city myths and look beyond the 'big 5' for a $378b return

Investing in regional cities’ economic performance makes good sense. Contrary to popular opinion, new research out today shows regional cities generate national economic growth and jobs at the same rate as big metropolitan cities. They are worthy of economic investment in their own right – not just on social and equity grounds.

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Co-housing works well for older people, once they get past the image problem

Housing Australia’s ageing population in homes that are affordable, accessible and sustainable presents a major challenge, particularly in a time of rising housing costs. Older people want homes where they can feel comfortable and independent, and which allow them to remain connected to their family and friends. However, many fail to anticipate the health and financial challenges that can diminish their housing choices as they age. With an emphasis on social interaction, environmental sustainability and accessible design, co-housing can provide an attractive housing option for seniors.

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What are the prospects for dockless bike share in Australia?

Dockless bike share faces a much bigger challenge in Australia than in countries like China, especially given new entrant oBike has to make it work commercially

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Are towers inherently wrong for public housing?

St Louis' famously demolished Pruitt-Igoe public housing project has a lesson for the debate over high-rise stemming from the Grenfell Tower fire; it's not really about the architecture

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Could the average trip to work nearly double by 2030?

The average one-way commute could increase by 28 minutes by 2030 according to Melbourne's Herald Sun. Sounds horrendous but it's scary tabloid journalism

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Lyft Isn’t Reinventing City Buses. It’s Undermining Them.

If it carries passengers like a city bus, and it has fixed routes and fares like a city bus, it might as well be a city bus.

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The population debate we have to have in Victoria

Melbourne's rapid population growth means urban and regional planning has become one of the most vexed public policy challenges, requiring long-term, bipartisan decisions in a political system that encourages expediency, immediacy and conflict.

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Can security bollards be done better?

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