Articles on Cities

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The person using this shelter in New South Wales certainly meets the official definition of homeless, but how they see themselves is important. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

What’s in the name ‘homeless’? How people see themselves and the labels we apply matter

People who self-identify as 'homeless' have poorer wellbeing than others in the same circumstances, yet that's the label they must adopt to qualify for help.
The village bell was once a powerful symbol of sonic identity. Living in the noise of today’s global cities, what sounds exist that express our communal identity? Eric Fidler/flickr

Let cities speak: what sounds define us now?

Sound, as a still relatively unexplored medium of urban design, provides an obvious starting point in the search for new relationships and identities in the contemporary city.
Noise transformation and community-led design projects are reclaiming unwanted spaces that lay adjacent to motorways. rogiro/flickr

Let cities speak: reclaiming a place for community with sounds

Communities have an increasing desire to be informed and included in local art, design and infrastructure projects. This has inspired new ways of dealing with noise-afflicted areas.
St Canice’s rooftop garden, where a horticultural therapy program demonstrated its benefits for mental health and wellbeing.

Biophilic urbanism: how rooftop gardening soothes souls

In a world of increasing urbanisation, density, pressure and, some say, isolation, there's a natural salve for stress, pressure and mental illness. And it’s right above our heads.
Kansir/flickr

The mall isn’t dead – it’s just changing

The mall's inventor, Victor Gruen, envisioned thriving hubs of civic activity, rather than bland, asphalt-enclosed shopping centers. Is his original vision now being realized – or further corrupted?
Australia’s population is highly concentrated in a few cities, so once centres like Newcastle have absorbed the spill-over from high-cost capitals, where will the talent go? City of Newcastle/AAP

From ‘white flight’ to ‘bright flight’ – the looming risk for our growing cities

Australia has few places to capture the spill-over of talented workers priced out of the big cities. Some may leave the country altogether – and where talent goes, capital flows.
Restoring and expanding Australia’s run-down public housing stocks will need an increase in funding on top of the reforms in the budget. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Budget 2017 charts new social and affordable housing agenda

The budget is pushing for a much-needed reboot of the social housing sector. What it isn't offering is extra funding to renew and expand run-down housing stocks.
Unless the demand pressures are eased, first home buyers are still likely to be crowded out of the market. Sam Mooy/AAP

Budget needs a sharper policy scalpel to help first home buyers

The budget acknowledges the crisis of affordability for first home buyers, but fails to do enough about demand pressures on prices to put home ownership back within their reach.
The budget brought no increase in rent assistance to help low-income renters in the private rental market. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Is this the budget that forgot renters?

For the majority of Australia’s renters, housing will remain unaffordable, insecure, and out of reach following the 2017-18 federal budget.
Having embraced expert advice on bond aggregation to finance housing, Scott Morrison needs to ensure the Commonwealth commits to long-term investment and cooperation. Julian Smith/AAP

Bond aggregator helps build a more virtuous circle of housing investment

The bond aggregator by itself cannot create a housing development pipeline. It needs co-investment from government to make it feasible.
The public and finance sectors – but not the government, it seems – are questioning the wisdom of investing in infrastructure for projects like the Adani coal mine. Lukas Coch/AAP

To get the ‘good debt’ tick, infrastructure needs to be fit for the future

If infrastructure is to meet the needs and challenges of an uncertain future, we need to move beyond the AAA ratings mindset and aim for net-positive social and ecological outcomes as well.
When public investment in a development like Sydney’s Northern Beaches Hospital boosts land values, who should reap those gains: the community or individual owners? NSW Premier's Office/AAP

Tax on ‘unearned gains’ is the missing piece of the affordable housing puzzle

Who is entitled to the increase in value created by planning approvals, new infrastructure, population growth or urban development? For John Stuart Mill, the answer would have been the community.
Are the millennials doomed to be nomads, locked out of the home-ownership market forever? sharon_k/flickr

Off the plan: shelter, the future and the problems in between

Owning a home has deep cultural and economic connotations. A home owner is a member of a street, a community. They are a successful adult human. They own a piece of the pie, the dream.

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