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.

 

1 November 2018

Artificial intelligence set to speed up development approvals with semi-automated planning decisions: AHURI report

Slow development approvals and inconsistent planning decisions could soon be a thing of the past, with disruptive technologies set to streamline urban planning. Artificial intelligence could soon be sophisticated enough to semi-automate urban planning processes, better predicting the effects of a proposed development and fast-tracking approvals.
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Desire paths: the illicit trails that defy the urban planners

We’ve all been there. You want a short cut – to the bus stop, office or corner shop – but there’s no designated path. Others before you have already flattened the grass, or cut a line through a hedge. Why not, you think.
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Immigration and population levels in NSW to be assessed by 'expert panel'

Immigration has become a prominent issue for Ms Berejiklian, with the Premier raising it on multiple occasions as congestion, housing affordability and urban development look set to become hot topics ahead of next year's state election.
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Urban Planning Guru Says Driverless Cars Won’t Fix Congestion

Mr. Calthorpe is a Berkeley-based urban planner who is one of the creators of New Urbanism, which promotes mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods. His designs emphasize the proximity of housing, shopping and public space. He is not opposed to autonomous vehicles. Mr. Calthorpe’s quarrel is with the idea that the widespread adoption of personally owned self-driving cars will solve transportation problems. In fact, he worries it will lead to more urban congestion and suburban sprawl.
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Maintaining the golden age for some Sydney suburbs, density for others

Urban density has become controversial in Sydney. The broad consensus among state policymakers is that we must have urban growth and a denser city, but where? Density in a scientific sense is the measure of the volumetric mass of an object. But planners think of density as the mass of people or jobs over land, and the community seems to think the denser a place gets, the worse it becomes.
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A better way to do development and bring the community along

Deliberative development could go a long way to replacing the more typical adversarial approach, argues Panos Miltiadou, managing director of Lucent, the first developer to be licensed as a Nightingale housing provider with its Lt. Miller and Nightingale apartments in Brunswick East, Melbourne, currently under construction.
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Fishermans Bend developers face height restrictions under new planning rules

Under the new planning framework, development height will be restricted to mid-rise buildings in several precincts, and 20-storey developments will be required to be set back 10 metres from the street. Developers will also be allowed to build higher dwelling density projects "in exchange for the provision of a defined public benefit", under a strategy aimed at boosting the amount of social housing.
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Smart Cities Council A/NZ releases new development code

The Smart Cities Council and Green Building Council of Australia have released a new standard of practice designed to ensure smart cities are built in ways that are sustainable and deliver numerous benefits to citizens. The Code for Smart Communities is a new benchmark for urban development practices across urban regeneration precincts, greenfield communities and institutional campuses.
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Mum-and-dad plans languish while big developers surge ahead in WA Planning Commission

Nine private landowners collectively own 28 hectares of rural land on sand dunes at the back of Singleton and have spent 10 years and $250,000 in efforts to rezone the blocks urban in order to subdivide them. But while they have patiently waited, neighbouring developments on the same length of dunes have progressed to the earthworks stage, one of which was applied for after the initial Singleton application.
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LandCorp to create Perth micro-lot communities in huge land release

LandCorp wants to deliver Perth’s ‘missing middle’ – the name given to the type of homes that are neither low-density suburbia nor high-density towers. The industry hopes will deliver housing choice and affordability – prices of micro-lot homes are usually around 70-80 per cent of the median house price in an area – for first-home buyers, empty-nesters, downsizers and investors, without building out greenery or compromising Perth’s liveability.
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Northern Gateway City Consortium Unveil Masterplan for $22 Billion City

Boyuan, along with its consortium partners Scentre Group, Western Sydney University, Logos and world-renowned neurosurgeon Professor Charlie Teo will spearhead planning and construction of the new city. The site of the new city is the largest single owner land holdings in the new created Western Sydney Aerotropolis and, according to analysis carried out by Urbis, will inject $21.6 billion into the fast growing regional economy.
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Here’s how to design cities where people and nature can both flourish

Urban nature has a critical role to play in the future liveability of cities. An emerging body of research reveals that bringing nature back into our cities can deliver a truly impressive array of benefits, ranging from health and well-being to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Aside from benefits for people, cities are often hotspots for threatened species and are justifiable locations for serious investment in nature conservation for its own sake. Australian cities are home to, on average, three times as many threatened species per unit area as rural environments. Yet this also means urbanisation remains one of the most destructive processes for biodiversity.
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22 October 2018

Reimagining Sydney: this is what needs to be done to make a Central City CBD work

Today, I introduce a bold proposal to build a Central CBD for metropolitan Sydney, as a real complement to the City of Sydney CBD to the east. Central City 2048 is a 30-year strategic plan, which builds on the Greater Sydney Commission's Greater Sydney Region Plan. Central City 2048 presents a vision for a dynamic, connected and sustainable CBD at the heart of the Greater Sydney metropolitan region.

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Is it time to move beyond the limits of `built environment' thinking?

The constructed world around us provides the stage for our daily life. The term "built environment" is in the past tense, describing a scenario after the fact. What does it actually mean beyond the obvious connotation of buildings and parks? If we look closely at these two words they tell a hidden story. We have built, which is made, created and manufactured, and environment, which can be either human-made or natural. The term links the made world with our natural world. It describes the world we made so far. But the two are separated.

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Canadians increasingly live in the auto-dependent suburbs

Canada is a suburban nation. More than two-thirds of our country's total population now live in the suburbs, meaning policy-makers must deal with the multitude of issues regarding this suburban explosion. In all our largest metropolitan areas, the portion of suburban residents is higher than 80 per cent, including the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal regions.

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Federation Square recommended for heritage listing, threatening Apple store plans

Melbourne's Federation Square has been recommended for heritage protection in a move that could make it more difficult for tech giant Apple to get a permit to build its new store alongside the Yarra River. The National Trust originally made the nomination because chief executive Simon Ambrose said the square needed to be protected for future generations for its historical, architectural, cultural and artistic significance.

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Melbourne train link promised between CBD and Sunshine under Labor's airport rail plan

A new rail tunnel is proposed to be built between Melbourne's CBD and Sunshine under a Labor Government plan to boost train services to the city's booming western suburbs and create fast links to Geelong and Ballarat. The tunnel and extra services would be integrated with the proposed airport rail link, with Sunshine station to become a "super hub".

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Melbourne to build mini-CBDs to cope with the population boom

When you drive or fly into Melbourne, catching sight of the city's skyline on the horizon is one of the first signs you're getting close. Towering over the low-lying suburbs, it sticks out like a beacon, calling people towards the economic heart of the city.

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Isn't long-term planning for urban public transport a no-brainer?

The Rail Futures Institute's Melbourne Rail Plan is the sort of comprehensive metropolitan plan that the Government's failed to release, preferring instead to pull out ad-hoc projects just before the next election. It's hard to pin down what's truly "visionary" from what's merely "a nice possibility", but Victoria's Rail Futures Institute's promised Melbourne Rail Plan 2019-2050 looks a lot more like a game-changer than the Victorian Government's headline election pledge to build a suburban orbital rail line through Melbourne's middle-ring suburbs.

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Cities are using new cloud technology to fight increasingly expensive and catastrophic flooding

Intense storms are becoming much more frequent, resulting in heavier rainfall and flooding that wreaks havoc on local infrastructures, budgets and economies. This summer was one of the wettest on record in much of the Northeast. Study after study have shown that storms with extreme rain are becoming more common, and consequently posing a new challenge to old, outdated stormwater systems in cities large and small. Most of the nation's stormwater systems are simply unable to handle the increasingly heavy rainfall. And it gets worse as urban development increases because there are fewer places for water to go.

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Chinese city 'plans to launch artificial moon to replace streetlights'

In Chengdu, there is reportedly an ambitious plan afoot for replacing the city's streetlights: boosting the glow of the real moon with that of a more powerful fake one. The south-western Chinese city plans to launch an illumination satellite in 2020. According to an account in the People's Daily, the artificial moon is "designed to complement the moon at night", though it would be eight times as bright.

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The Mexican town that refused to become a smart city

Lupita Tecual Porquillo had heard a rumour that the plaza was going to be "remodelled". The 51-year-old grocery store owner lives around the corner from the centre of Santa Maria Tonantzintla, a sleepy town in the state of Puebla, about three hours from Mexico City. She assumed "remodelling" meant repairing the plaza's centuries-old cobblestone pavement.

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How consumer technology is driving smart cities

In just a few short years, we've come to expect miraculous things from our phones. It's not enough to order a ride, anywhere, anytime. Consumers have become accustomed to seeing the car make its way toward them in real time. Consumer technology has advanced so rapidly that any systems lagging behind stand out glaringly. That disparity is one reason cities are under pressure to adopt smart city projects, which use sensors, connected devices, and data to improve municipal systems. So said a panel of smart city experts, on stage at the 2018 GeekWire Summit.

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2 October 2018

Our fast-growing cities and their people are proving to be remarkably adaptable

Outer-suburban dwellers in our large capital cities are the modern version of Menzies' "forgotten people", if the government is to be believed. The image of a low-income commuter forced to spend over an hour driving to the CBD is all too common, as the media reach for a way to make sense of population growth.

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The problem isn't dockless share bikes. It's the lack of bike parking

It's a local government truism that Australian city dwellers care about only three things - rates, rubbish and parking. They want lower rates, the freedom to turf out as much trash as they like, and convenient free car parking. The arrival of dockless share bikes set these attitudes towards parking and rubbish on a collision course.

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Why trackless trams are ready to replace light rail

I began my life as an activist academic in 1979 when the Western Australian government closed the Fremantle railway, saying buses would be better. Patronage immediately fell by 30% and I ran a four-year campaign to save the railway. We won. I have been writing books and running campaigns ever since on why trains and trams are better than buses. But I have changed my mind. The technology has changed, and I think it will end the need for new light rail.

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Lord Mayor Sally Capp gets aboard push for a big Australia

Booming populations are nothing for Australia's big cities to be afraid of, says the mayor of the nation's fasting-growing capital. Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has called on the nation to embrace population growth and change the way new inner-city suburbs are created. She wants our big towns to look more like Sydney's latest development, Barangaroo, and less like her own city's troubled Docklands area.

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Australian cities need to "build up" and "move out"

A new report calls for the development of a national plan of settlement, providing a national vision for Australian cities and regions for the next fifty years. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has released a report titled Building Up and Moving Out.

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Wishlist of goals for cities and nationwide planning

MP John Alexander flagged some ambitious goals for cities and nation-wide planning when he addressed The Fifth Estate's Tomorrowland 2018 just two weeks ago on 6 September and he was optimistic. Now we know why. The Building Up & Moving Out report released on Monday by the committee that he chaired has endorsed a great wish list of ideas for Canberra to embrace.

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Can simulations help Singapore better plan the future?

SECURITY forces in Singapore can soon learn how to best respond to a real attack on the city, through digital simulations on a 3D model. The "Virtual Singapore" project will soon be accessible to state agencies for urban planning and disaster mitigation in the city. The project will also be made available to the public later on.

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Iconic London phone boxes get high-tech upgrade, prompting surveillance fears

The British telephone box is not dead yet. In parts of central London, a box stands sentinel every 30 metres; and if phone companies got their way they'd plant one every 15 metres. But these are not the red cast-iron cubicles that for generations were emblems of Britain. Instead, critics say, they are eyesores, covered in digital ad screens and capable of being turned into surveillance posts.

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Tick a Box Planning makes Sydney Apartments Dull

At a recent forum on Innovative Apartments it became clear that the design of Sydney's apartments is being overly controlled by a tick a box planning system. "Over the last decade the government rules and guides for the design of apartment buildings has become more complex leading to a tick a box planning assessment process that is leading to less innovation and design diversity".

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NSW Government Architect role important for the state's urbanisation

The NSW Government must appoint a new Government Architect to replace Peter Poulet. "The recent move of the current NSW Government Architect, Peter Poulet, to a reduced role in the Greater Sydney Commission leaves a vacant leadership role for design in the NSW Government".

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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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