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.

 

14 September 2018

Urbanites can be divided into six different tribes, to help make cities fit for all

When analysed across the years, digital traces can help scientists and governments to understand at an unprecedented scale how societies in different parts of the world cope with major events, such as recessions or major policy changes.

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Can Density Prevent Diabetes?

A team of academics from several Australian universities have begun a two-and-a-half year study to determine the best strategies for designing high-density developments that promote physical and mental health—specifically type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.

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Why are peppercorn trees always planted at schools?

Have you ever wondered how the trees on your street were chosen? The answer is more complex than you might think.

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Developers accused of demolishing Corkman Irish Pub sentenced for dumping asbestos

Developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski were each fined $120,000 for failing to securely contain asbestos-riddled debris at the site of the demolished Corkman Irish Hotel in inner-city Carlton, and for then dumping it in Cairnlea, in Melbourne's north-west.

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Sky rail construction blamed by residents for damaging Melbourne homes

Two homeowners in Melbourne's south-east claim construction of the State Government's sky rail project has caused serious structural damage to their homes — a claim disputed by the authority in charge.

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North East Link road project design to feature twin tunnels, green bridges, new cycling paths

Bridges covered in greenery, 25 kilometres of cycling and walking paths and better noise standards will form part of the proposed $15.8 billion North East Link, plans unveiled by the Andrews Government have revealed.

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German Cities To Trial Ambitious Free Public Transport Plans

The university city of Tübingen, in southwest Germany, is testing free public transportation for all residents. Two weeks ago, the city began a two-year pilot project using its own funds to provide free rides on Saturdays.

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An Australian Place to Call Home

As Melbourne’s population hits 5 million, adding 1 million people in only a year, Victoria must use its land wisely to meet the growing need for affordable housing

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Making Cities Work for Every Urban Dweller

It’s the urban age for people – and for other species too – so it’s time to start planning for all the plants and animals that call our cities home

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Slowing Foot Traffic Costs Cities, Auckland Study Finds

Pedestrians are often seen as contributing to the cost of congestion by obstructing the flow of traffic. In fact, walking is the most important transport mode in Auckland city centre. But what if you could put a dollar value on the benefit of a walkable city? Until recently this has not been measured. A world-leading project has shown it can now measure the value of walking versus other forms of transport

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Designing greener streets starts with finding room for bicycles and trees

Today there is growing support for bicycling in many U.S. cities for both commuting and recreation. Research is also showing that urban trees provide many benefits, from absorbing air pollutants to cooling neighborhoods.

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6 September 2018

Has Daniel Andrews gone loopy on rail?

The Andrews government's planned $50 billion loop rail line around outer suburban Melbourne signals Victorian Labor has joined the other parties in giving up on rational urban policy

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Liverpool mixed-use city centre should be the model for all centres

The announcement by NSW Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, that the Liverpool city centre has been rezoned for mixed-use is a good model for all centres across Sydney.

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Work Habits Are Changing: Cities Need to Keep Up

Changes in the world of work are well-documented. Smart technologies, AI, cloud computing, wireless mobility-you name it-all have a profound impact on how work is being performed. Recent research shows that remote work has been on a steady rise. Should cities care?

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Data Analytics in Urban Planning: New Tools for Old Problems

Asian societies are rapidly urbanizing. As populations, wealth and cities expand in the region, the need for urban planning is critical. Some cities in Asia are doing it better than others, and Singapore is one of them. BRINK Asia spoke with Huang Zhongwen, director of Digital Planning Lab at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), about the complexities and intricacies of urban planning and about how urban planners in Singapore are making the most of new tools such as geospatial and data analytics to address what are really age-old issues that cities have faced through the centuries.

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Look up Australia, cable cars could ease our traffic woes

Sections of cities all over the world are being demolished to meet increasing demand for transport infrastructure. The process of building new roads, harbour crossings, metro systems and light rail lines seems unending. Large-scale construction includes loss of public space, housing and backyards.

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Our new PM wants to `bust congestion' - here are four ways he could do that

Road congestion is costing Australia more than an avoidable A$16 billion every year. This is set to almost double to A$30 billion by 2030. That's why we have a new minister for cities and urban infrastructure, Alan Tudge, who says he's looking forward to "congestion busting".

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Introducing land rent, the ACT's excellent idea for making houses cheaper

Australian home prices have risen 60% in the past five years. That's great news for the 7 million households who own one. But at the same time 3 million Australian households pay a total of A$50 billion per year in rent. The more prices rise, the further away their dreams of home ownership drift.

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`Children belong in the suburbs': with more families in apartments, such attitudes are changing

Australian cities are growing rapidly. Echoing international trends, higher-density housing will accommodate much of this growth in the inner city. Such housing - mostly apartments, townhouses and blocks of flats - is usually associated with young urban professionals and the childless elite. But families with children do live in apartments and even more will do so in the future.

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Local councils put affordable housing supply in the too hard basket

Public concern about housing affordability in Australia is well documented. It would be reasonable to assume our local governments are giving the supply of affordable housing the attention it deserves. However, our national survey reveals that while it’s a growing concern for many local governments across the country, especially in metropolitan areas, most councils do not view the provision of affordable housing as a priority for them.

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Spills and City Deals: what Turnbull's urban policy has achieved, and where we go from here

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recently announced ministry includes a new Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population. Alan Tudge's first Tweet in his new role announced he is "looking forward to my new congestion busting role".

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Isn’t there a much, much better way to do cross-city public transport?

Melbourne needs better cross-city public transport, but the Andrews government’s promise to build a single suburban orbital rail “loop” isn’t the way to provide a real solution. Despite the eye watering cost, it doesn’t even come close.

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27 August 2018

Are Australian bridges safe, and can we do better?

After the tragedy in the Italian city Genoa, where a highway bridge collapsed killing more than 40 people, nations seem to be taking stock of the maintenance levels of their bridges. There are reports thousands of UK bridges are at risk of collapse, and there are hundreds of similarly damaged bridges in France, Germany and Italy itself. Australia is no different to other developed countries in this regard, where a lot of bridges are old and deteriorating, and we would be foolish to think we are immune.

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Technology hasn't killed public libraries - it's inspired them to transform and stay relevant

In 2017, archaeologists discovered the ruins of the oldest public library in Cologne, Germany. The building may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls, and dates back to the Roman era in the second century. When literacy was restricted to a tiny elite, this library was open to the public. Located in the centre of the city in the marketplace, it sat at the heart of public life. We may romanticise the library filled with ancient books; an institution dedicated to the interior life of the mind. But the Cologne discovery tells us something else. It suggests libraries may have meant something more to cities and their inhabitants than being just repositories of the printed word.

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Genoa bridge collapse: maintaining these structures is a constant battle against traffic and decay

As rescue workers look for survivors in the concrete rubble that used to be part of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italian authorities are starting their investigation into the possible causes behind this terrible tragedy. It is too early to determine what may have caused the catastrophic collapse of more than 100 metres of the multi-span, cable-stayed suspension bridge, completed just over 50 years ago. But it's important to understand that bridge engineering does not end when construction finishes and traffic starts to flow.

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Is Canberra's public transport the best we can do?

Whenever the ACT government is pressured into defending its light rail network plan the response is that overseas experience has shown that wherever light rail has been introduced there have been increases in property values, development and public transport use. In Canberra it seems that there will be another effect that is exemplified by a proposition made by Hindmarsh developers to the Woden Valley community council in August. Hindmarsh will underwrite a cooperative exercise with the community to plan the surroundings of its proposed twin 27-storey tower development that is to be situated within 200 metres of the light rail route.

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'Australia's tallest skyscraper' risks turning Melbourne into 'Asian mega city'

An ambitious plan to build Australia's tallest tower in the inner city suburb of Southbank has sparked fears that Melbourne could be transformed into an "Asian mega city". But opinion is divided on whether the $2 billion project will even go ahead, with one planning expert predicting that it's nothing more than a stunt designed to build the profile of the developers and architects.

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Cities: Our representation to the global community

Every country in the world today is fighting tooth and nail to establish and sustain their economies. Governments around the world invest a substantial amount of their resources to urbanize their towns and cities. The process of urbanization is meticulous and of global significance. A country's development and modernism are key elements that control its future. After all, trade and economics are no longer domestic concerns. Avant-garde cities are not merely cities with beautiful landscapes. For a city to truly represent its country, it has to walk a tightrope of history and modernity. A city's historical landmarks add to its culture while its infrastructure defines its place in today's times.

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The Importance of Building Smart Cities and the `Internet of Things'

Being connected to the wider world has never been easier as access to high speed broadband internet continues to expand and become widely available across the country. By embracing IoT technology, developers can work to create nationalised networked cities and bring "smart cities" into reality throughout Australia - something that residents are actively looking for when purchasing their future homes, and a unique selling point developers can use to secure buyers for their new projects.

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Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs Reveals What Its Toronto Smart City May Look Like

Last October, the urban technology company Sidewalk Labs, part of Google's parent company Alphabet, announced its marquee project, Quayside: a ground-up development on the Toronto waterfront that would serve as a testing ground for new urban infrastructure, urban design, and building technologies. Back then, questions abounded: What products would be tested at Quayside? What would the buildings look like? What sort of data would Sidewalk Labs gather on Quayside's residents, workers, and visitors? While the latter question remain unanswered, a recent public presentation by Sidewalk Labs gave strong hints as to the project's look and feel.

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Victorian Trial of Driverless Bus a Success

La Trobe University believes Victoria is ready for driverless vehicles after the successful trial of an autonomous bus on local roads. The driverless "Autonobus" shuttle, manufactured by French company Navya, uses 360-degree cameras and sensor systems to detect objects and runs a set route based on map coordinates. The electric bus has ferried hundreds of students around La Trobe's Bundoora campus in Melbourne's north as part of a year long trial.

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World trends in creating communities come to Sydney

The growing trend towards large urban renewal projects that create communities will be profiled at the CREATING COMMUNITIES CONFERENCE in October. "We understand community concerns in Sydney about the need for amenities and parks to be part of urban renewal projects," says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. "So we are bringing the world leaders in urban renewal projects to Sydney to present the latest new mixed use developments that deliver for communities."

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8 August 2018

How many people make a good city? It's not the size that matters, but how you use it

Australia's population clock is, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, steadily ticking away at an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 23 seconds. It's set to tick over to 25 million around 11pm tonight. Many are debating what the ideal population is for a country like Australia. But because most of this population growth is concentrated in our big cities, perhaps we should be thinking less about that and more about the ideal size of a city. Historically, there have been many theories on what this would be.

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Designed features can make cities safer, but getting it wrong can be plain frightening

City planners and designers can help make spaces safer in many ways. One strategy is known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED, pronounced "sep-ted"). This approach is based on the idea that specific built and social environmental features can deter criminal behaviour. Strategies can be as simple as good maintenance, like rapidly removing graffiti, which can deter some offenders.

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What's wrong with big solar in cities? Nothing, if it's done right

Many of us are familiar with developments of big solar farms in rural and regional areas. These are often welcomed as a positive sign of our transition towards a low-carbon economy. But do large-scale solar installations have a place in our cities? The City of Fremantle in Western Australia is considering a proposal to use a former landfill site for a large-scale solar farm.

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Canberra loses leading urban planner Patrick Troy, dead at 82

A leading urban planner, an influential Labor member and a "sucker for causes" - Patrick Troy was a man of many facets. The professor in urban ecology and human environment died last week at the age of 82, leaving a gap in the Australian National University, where he spent 46 years as a research academic. In his long career, he was an engineer, town planner, transport planner and public servant.

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Melbourne now Australia's most densely-populated city

Melbourne's skies are officially full of students. Nineteen-year-old Iman Shaukat from Malaysia is one of them and she loves city life. McCrindle Research's Geoff Brailey said it was time for all Australian suburbs to embrace higher density living as the national population officially hits 25 million people tomorrow night.

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AR Is Transforming Tech. What Can It Do for Cities?

If it isn't already there, augmented reality is coming to a device near you. Cities need to work to ensure that AR makes the leap from "cool experience," to a technology that improves residents' lives. As today's cities look for better ways to use the troves of new data at their disposal, augmented reality (AR) offers a new way of bringing this data to life. This technology-which assimilates digital objects and information into the real world via headsets, mobile devices, and other tech tools-has a unique capacity to enliven information and processes via immersive experiences.

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Australia's population to hit 25 million people today

A new resident is added every minute and 23 seconds in Australia and the country is expected to celebrate a milestone today. Today at just after 11pm, Australia will welcome its 25 millionth resident. The Population Clock estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics assumes one birth every one minute and 42 seconds, one death every 3 minutes and 16 seconds, one person arriving to live in Australia every minute and one second, and one resident leaving the country to live overseas every one minute and 51 seconds.

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Clover Moore warns Waterloo revamp will create 'ghettos of the future'

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore has warned the Berejiklian government's proposed higher-density overhaul of the Waterloo social housing estate is a "planning disaster" set to create "ghettos of the future" in the city's inner south. The government's three design options for the massive redevelopment, released last week, included towers up to 40 storeys and as many as 7200 homes, more than triple the 2000 current residences.

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The Rise of `Urban Tech'

From food-delivery startups to mapping and co-living companies, technology focused on urban systems is drawing billions of dollars in venture capital. The terms high-tech and venture capital conjure images of industries such as artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency. But the fact of the matter is that cities and urbanism represent the biggest new tech sector of all, what I like to call "urban tech."

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Google Is Still Planning a `Smart City' in Toronto Despite Major Privacy Concerns

After nine months, the new deal between Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto is still light on details about data, surveillance, and privacy. After nine months of closed-door negotiations, Google's sister company Sidewalk Labs and public corporation Waterfront Toronto have signed an agreement to proceed with a controversial plan to create Toronto's neighbourhood of the future. The new deal, released Tuesday, solidifies Sidewalk Labs' $50-million investment to forge a final agreement to build "Sidewalk Toronto" on Quayside, a 12-acre plot of land on Toronto's waterfront.

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NSW housing approvals flat but non residential approvals falling

The June data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates that housing approvals in NSW were flat while non-residential approvals are falling. "Housing approvals across NSW are steady for high density dwellings and for houses." Says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson "But non-residential approvals have been dropping since October 2017."

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31 July 2018

Parramatta Towers win Development of the Year

Meriton's Altitude Towers in Parramatta have won the Development of the Year 2018 award.

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South West Sydney wins major Development Excellence Awards

The 2018 Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards acknowledged two important projects in South West Sydney as winners.

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Timber framed Office Building and a Spice Alley win Development Excellence Awards

Two unusual projects were winners of the 2018 Development Excellence Awards. "Along with the usual apartment towers and retail and commercial developments this year's Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards there were two unusual innovative projects that demonstrated new ways of thinking by developers," says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.

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Kiwis push boundaries with commercial drones

New Zealand's commercial market for drones is booming, largely thanks to a collaborative approach by its Civil Aviation Authority. Its Part 101 consultation rules and Part 102 unmanned aircraft certification has resulted in 108 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) receiving certification in the past few years.

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This Week in Tech: The World's 50 'Smartest' Cities in 2018

For the fifth year, the Center for Globalization and Strategy at Barcelona's IESE Business School has compiled its annual list of the world's smartest cities according to its Cities in Motion Index. The index calculates the performance of 165 cities across 80 countries using a rubric of indicators, including urban planning, mobility and transportation, environmental performance, and technology and connectivity accessibility.

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Urban Planning for Connected and Automated Vehicles: Join the Webinar

The conversation about the transformative potential of self-driving vehicles has quickly progressed into the offices of urban planners around the nation. Urban planning, much like infrastructure, is a permanent investment in the life of our cities' urban fabric.

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Why narrow streets are the way of the future

Narrow streets are commonplace in city centres throughout Australia; now urban planners are paving the way for skinny roads in the suburbs. Vehicle speeds, cost and stormwater drainage are all factors pushing councils to make their streets more slender.

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Plan revealed to curb Perth and Peel urban sprawl once and for all

Further details of how Perth and Peel will make room for 800,000 new homes within 30 years without further urban sprawl were revealed on Wednesday by the state planning system's top public servant.

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2018 Australian Urban Design Awards jury announced

The jury for the 2018 edition of the Australian Urban Design Awards has been announced, with submissions for the awards program being accepted up until 27 July.

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Three `living labs' which show how autonomous robots are changing cities

Ready or not, autonomous robots are leaving laboratories to be tested in real-world contexts. With more and more people living in cities, these technologies offer ways to cope with ageing populations and poorly maintained infrastructures, while promoting safer transport, productive manufacturing and secure energy supplies.

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Reimagining Parramatta: a place to discover Australia's many stories

There are jackhammers everywhere. A new Parramatta is emerging out of the rubble, seeking to make real its tag line: "Australia's next great city". Thickets of new residential and commercial towers are rising - testament to the city's ferocious ambition - overshadowing what remains of the squat, 1970s office blocks built during Parramatta's previous development boom.

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Empty car parks everywhere, but nowhere to park. How cities can do better

It's a familiar story in Australian cities: a new apartment building is proposed, and debate soon follows about whether the new residents will have enough public transport or coffee shops. Just kidding. Heated discussion is almost invariably about how much car parking will be built and whether it will be enough to stop cars swamping surrounding streets. In Melbourne, hundreds of planning appeals each year centre on this topic.

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21 June 2018

What can we learn from oBike's demise?

It promised a lot, but this month oBike walked away from Melbourne after just one year. The key problem was the same one faced by all forms of cycling in Australian cities

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Is Melbourne the new New York?

The Age's comparison of the density of Melbourne's CBD with the density of New York City might massage the prejudices of its readers, but it's rubbish. "Surpasses" New York City? Seems a strange word (it usually implies "better than"?) as it's clearly meant to convey something that concerns voters. But is it a real worry? Or is it a case once again of The Age framing the news in a way likely to press its readers' buttons i.e. playing to their preconceptions and prejudices?

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To design safer parks for women, city planners must listen to their stories

The rape and murder of aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon in an inner-city Melbourne park - while deeply shocking - is part of an avalanche of gendered violence perpetrated against women in cities every day.

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Rail access improves liveability, but all regional centres are not equal

Our research on the liveability of regional cities in Victoria has identified an important element: liveability in these areas requires fast, reliable and frequent rail connections to capital cities.

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Aim for cities of all sizes to give everyone a fair go

We live in an urban world. By 2030, 66% of the world's population will live in cities, concentrated in only 3% of the planet's land area. But city sizes vary greatly, so what can city size tell us about their residents' quality of life?

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We can design better intersections that are safer for all users

A major issue for road safety is collisions at intersections between vehicles and vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. In such collisions, often the driver is momentarily unaware of either the vulnerable road user or of their planned path through the intersection. While many factors can cause this lack of "situation awareness", the design of the intersection is critical. With numbers of vulnerable road users increasing, how intersections are designed requires urgent attention.

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Higher density and diversity: apartments are Australia at its most multicultural

Increasing numbers of city dwellers live in apartments. This is particularly the case for migrants. And that makes apartment buildings important hubs of multiculturalism in our cities. However, our recent research shows that researchers and policymakers have largely overlooked the implications of this combination of increasing cultural diversity and increasing housing density.

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Overcrowded housing looms as a challenge for our cities

Overcrowding is an inevitable and often overlooked result of the affordable housing shortage in our cities. When a dwelling requires four or more extra bedrooms to reasonably accommodate occupants, the standard commonly used in Australia defines that as severe overcrowding. In 2011, 41,390 Australians lived in severely overcrowded dwellings, an increase of one-third from 2006. This increase occurred mostly in cities where house prices had risen sharply.

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London and Hong Kong have enough public housing, so why doesn't Sydney?

Australia's housing market has become a competitive sport, says Nicole Gurran, professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney. Gurran gave an impassioned talk at TEDxSydney on Friday June 15 in which she shed light on the lack of social housing in Sydney compared to global cities like Hong Kong or (even) London.

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Developer criticised for plan to dredge Queensland wetland and build 3,600 homes

Australia's largest private property developer has launched a third attempt to dredge and reclaim the Ramsar-listed wetland south of Brisbane to build an artificial harbour and 3,600 homes.

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4 June 2018

Western Sydney Aerotropolis won't build itself - a lot is riding on what governments do

The stars aligned over Warwick Farm, New South Wales, this week. Sharing the stage at the Aerotropolis Investor Forum, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Liverpool City Mayor Wendy Waller were resolutely on the same script. For many Australians, including the prime minister himself, the fact that all levels of government are backing the Western Sydney airport project was remarkable. Yet bipartisan support is essential for such a project to succeed.

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Growing cities face challenges of keeping the masses moving up, down and across

Cities worldwide face the problems and possibilities of "volume": the stacking and moving of people and things within booming central business districts. We see this especially around mass public transport hubs. As cities grow, they also become more vertical. They are expanding underground through rail corridors and above ground into the tall buildings that shape city skylines. Cities are deep as well as wide.

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Tomorrow's Cities: How Barcelona shushed noise-makers with sensors

In the heart of the bustling city of Barcelona is a square that at first sight seems like an oasis of calm. The Plaza del Sol, as the name suggests, is a suntrap and the perfect place to while away a few hours.

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Makeover for Parramatta Road corridor to finally get underway

Clogged with traffic, noisy, poorly planned and struggling to cope with WestConnex and other construction. Few would dispute NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet's comment last year that Parramatta Road had to be "one of Australia's ugliest road corridors". The occasion was the State Government announcing work would commence this financial year on the first of 32 projects to revitalise a 22-kilometre-long swathe of the city between the main western railway line and Parramatta River.

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Google plan for data-driven 'smart city' sparks privacy, democracy concerns

In the Canadian city of Toronto, city officials are negotiating a project that will give a section of the city's waterfront to the US tech giant Google. Under the arrangement, Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs will build and run a high-tech "radical mixed-use" site called Quayside.

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Amazon's HQ2 competition is pushing 'loser' cities to become the next Silicon Valley -- but some experts say it's a dangerous plan

In January, Amazon named 20 finalists for its $US5 billion second headquarters, HQ2, which promises 50,000 jobs over the next two decades. The announcement meant over 200 North American cities that had applied for the project did not make the shortlist. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Amazon made calls to these rejected cities in early January. Some of these cities are now making changes based on the tech giant's feedback.

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Preparing Australian cities for the fourth industrial revolution

This is a slightly edited version of a speech by Martin Parkinson, secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to the Property Council of Australia last week.

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Development Industry leading in Greening Cities

A number of Sydney developers are leading the move towards urban greening. "The Urban Taskforce recently had a forum on `Urban Greening' and this has led to a publication with examples of greenery being incorporated into buildings," says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson "The Central Park project by Frasers Property and Sekisui House is an excellent example of green landscape being incorporated into the façade of a 33 storey apartment building in a manner that responds to the seasons. As well as the integration of landscape and building the site includes a significant amount of public parkland and water features."

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Non-residential building approvals drop by 31% in NSW

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for April 2018 show a big drop in non -residential approvals for NSW.

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Does Festival Hall warrant heritage protection?

Heritage Victoria's recommendation to list Melbourne's Festival Hall on the state Heritage Register highlights the shortcomings of the current approach to heritage. Australians regret the loss of many beautiful historic nineteenth century buildings like Melbourne's Federal Coffee Palace. We're also used to controversies about protecting buildings constructed in the post-war period with claims to high architectural value e.g. Sydney's Sirius House.

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Is Melbourne Airport's SkyBus up to the job?

A rail line from Melbourne airport to the CBD will very likely be necessary one day, but an upgraded SkyBus can do the job in the short-to-medium term at vastly lower cost. A rail line between Melbourne Airport and the CBD is front and centre in the news thanks to the Prime Minister's offer to contribute up to $5 Billion on a matching basis toward the cost of construction.

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24 May 2018

Xiong'an, Xi Jinping's new city-making machine turned on

Behind mega urban projects often stand strong political wills. Xiong'an is called China's number-one urban project, and it is orchestrated by President Xi Jinping. China is midway through the largest urbanisation process in human history. New cities have mushroomed in recent decades. The most prominent are Shenzhen and Pudong Shanghai, both of which are now major global financial and business centres.

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Kyoto has many things to celebrate, but losing its trams isn't one of them

Few, if any, of the nearly 57 million tourists who visit Kyoto this year are aware the city once boasted the most extensive tram network in Japan. Kyoto is a beautiful city and the cultural heart of the nation. It is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration this year. It's also the 40th anniversary of a less celebrated episode in the city's history - the closure of the tram system, or "Shiden" as it was known.

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Melbourne Airport is going to be as busy as Heathrow, so why the argument about one train line?

Public discussion of rail links to airports has been narrowly focused on the idea of a single line and where to run it. In Melbourne, the politics of this debate has so far prevented a railway from being built, because it is not possible for one line to meet all of the landside access needs of the airport. The issue of rail access for a new western Sydney airport has also not been resolved.

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Lessons in resilience: what city planners can learn from Hobart's floods

Hobart is a city known for its risk of catastrophic fire, such as the devastating wildfires of 1897-98 and 1967. As the second-driest city in Australia, until last week it was easy to forget that Hobart is also vulnerable to serious flooding. Like many cities, Hobart's closeness to nature can be a double-edged sword - the hilly terrain affords spectacular views of the mountain and the river, but makes the city especially prone to wildfire and flash-flooding.

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Long-running battle ends in a win for residents, koalas and local council planning rules

Gold Coast City Council has won a four-year legal battle with Boral Resources, with the courts upholding the council's refusal to approve a proposed quarry because of its impacts on the amenity of local residents - including the area's koalas. In some rare good news for local government in Queensland, which has been under a cloud lately, the Court of Appeal's decision confirms that councils are entitled to rely on their own planning schemes when deciding on local development applications. Even though Boral had secured approvals from the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, the Queensland Court of Appeal has upheld the council's decision to refuse Boral's application to develop a quarry.

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Test family loving city life in high density challenge

Urban planner Amanda Shipton decided to test the common belief that apartment life was not suitable for kids by spending a month in a city flat with her family - and now the Shiptons are mulling a permanent shift. They are not alone in discovering the benefits of inner-city flats. Five months into WA's first social experiment on apartment living, all the sceptics who have spent a month in the Oracle tower in the CBD have enjoyed it.

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Reimagining urban planning for breakthrough in smart city development

When we discuss smart cities, there is one component that is at the core of it: Urban Planning. In fact, urban planning can be termed as the structural scaffolding of a smart city; its support system as well as the optimized layout plan of the city. A smart city cannot be conceived without elaborate and meticulous urban planning. Hence stems the need of reworking the fundamentals of urban planning in synchronization with the infrastructural and technological needs of a viable smart city framework.

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Smart Pedestrian Project will use data to help inform urban planning

Urban planning decisions will be informed by data collected from smartphones and traffic-counting technology to help reduce traffic gridlock in the Liverpool CBD. The Smart Pedestrian Project, launched last week at the University of Wollongong's Liverpool campus, will involve the collection of data in a non-intrusive way to track patterns of real-time movement in the city centre.

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Savona Becomes Europe's First LEED Gold-Certified City

Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification (GBCI) named Savona, Italy, as Europe's first LEED Gold-certified city. Located in the coastal region of Liguria in northwest Italy, Savona has in recent years taken clear steps toward citywide sustainability initiatives by transforming into a low-impact urban center. City officials have set high air-quality standards to reduce air pollution in the city and recent statistics, according to a GBCI press release, show that crime rates have drastically decreased, making Savona a "safe and livable city."

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Delivering Sustainable Urban Logistics

The growth of e-commerce and the expectation of immediate delivery is transforming how we buy everyday goods. We have become accustomed to getting what we want, when and where we want it. Thus, the logistics of moving goods around-namely warehousing, transportation, and delivery-are becoming some of the most critical development challenges for rapidly growing cities around the world.

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Does Festival Hall warrant heritage protection?

Australians regret the loss of many beautiful historic nineteenth century buildings like Melbourne's Federal Coffee Palace. We're also used to controversies about protecting buildings constructed in the post-war period with claims to high architectural value e.g. Sydney's Sirius House. Sometimes, though, buildings that lack aesthetic merit are nevertheless nominated for the highest form of protection solely because of their contribution to the course of social and cultural history.

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20 April 2018

Sensors in public spaces can help create cities that are both smart and sociable

Information from smart technology in public spaces could soon transform the way such areas are used and also managed.

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Australia must build to withstand extreme weather

Why do we keep spending millions on insurance claims after disasters, rather than invest in more sustainable construction that minimises damage to buildings in the first place? Australians need to rethink how to build cities and towns to better withstand extreme weather.

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A closer look at business cases raises questions about `priority' national infrastructure projects

Infrastructure Australia's latest infrastructure priority list has been criticised for being "too Sydney-centric" and for giving Melbourne's East West Link, cancelled in 2014, "high priority" status. The cancelled Roe 8 project in Perth was removed from the list.

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With health assuming its rightful place in planning, here are 3 key lessons from NSW

The way cities are designed and managed has big impacts on our health. While Australia is considered a world leader in research on health and cities, nationally our planning policies remain underdeveloped relative to our knowledge base. To remedy this, healthy planning advocates need to better understand how urban planning systems can be influenced.

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Airport rail link can open up new possibilities for the rest of Melbourne

Melburnians have been talking about a train to Tullamarine Airport since well before it opened. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made clear his enthusiasm for an airport rail line, with or without state government support.

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Sexism and the city: how urban planning has failed women

We need to have a conversation about sexism and the city. Gender affects all other "vulnerable group" considerations in the cities, where nearly 90% of Australians live.

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Sydney plans ignore problems facing residents to sell city to the world

Sydney's much-lauded new urban policies are keen to reinforce the image of Sydney as a city on the move. But while these policies are touted as game changers, they represent a significant step backwards.

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Peter Calthorpe Is Still Fighting Sprawl-With Software

The architect and urban designer Peter Calthorpe was an advocate of transit-oriented development (TOD) and smart growth long before those concepts were buzzwords.

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Excessive car parking requirements will make boarding houses unviable

The proposed changes to the NSW Affordable Rental Housing SEPP to increase car parking requirements will make boarding houses unviable.

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Efforts To Manage Emerging Infectious Diseases Should Encourage More Inclusive Urban Planning

The rise of these infectious diseases is often described in terms of biological processes, but they cannot be reduced to just this dimension. A range of factors play a role, in particular increasing urbanisation and human mobility.

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6 April 2018

Avoiding the buzz kill: mozzies, wetlands and public health

With more and more urban creeks and wetlands around Australia undergoing restoration and re-naturalisation, entomologist Cameron Webb argues it’s time we built our cities with mosquitoes in mind.

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Our legacy of liveable cities won't last without a visionary response to growth

Australia's major cities are growing more rapidly than ever before, gaining three million residents in a decade. Concerns about the risks to their long-term liveability and health are growing too. Is the consistent placing of Australian cities at the top of most liveable city rankings a reason for complacency?

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Mission nearly impossible: the City of Sydney's efforts to increase the affordable housing supply

A key goal of the City of Sydney, one of Australia's wealthiest local governments, is to deliver "a range of affordable and social housing options that re?ects the diversity of ages, family relationships, socio-economic backgrounds and employment ?elds in the local population".

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The urban agenda: what will New Zealand's new government bring for towns and cities?

Almost 90% of New Zealand's population is urbanised. Getting policy right for towns and cities will be crucial for the new Labour-led coalition government's ambitious policy agenda to transition to a low-emissions economy while addressing major social issues such as unaffordable housing, inequality and poverty.

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