Articles on Cities

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The largest desalination plant in Australia, Victoria’s A$3.5 billion ‘water factory’ can supply nearly a third of Melbourne’s needs. Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

Cities turn to desalination for water security, but at what cost?

Sydney and Melbourne are bringing desalination plants back on stream and Adelaide plans to increase its plant's output. Perth depends on desalination. But is it the best way to achieve water security?
Residents evacuated from the Neo200 building in Melbourne were unaware of the fire risk posed by its cladding. Ellen Smith/AAP

Don’t overlook residents’ role in apartment building safety

As more and more Australians live and work in high-rise buildings, their responsibilities and roles in ensuring all occupants' safety must not be neglected.
A cake made to farewell the last tenant to leave the Sirius building, which was built in Sydney at a time when governments saw the need to invest directly in public housing. Ben Rushton/AAP

Is social housing essential infrastructure? How we think about it does matter

If we recognised social housing as infrastructure as essential as transport links, schools and hospitals, not properly investing in it could become unthinkable.
The fire in the Melbourne CBD on Monday was a reminder of the urgency of developing a system that guarantees only materials that meet building safety standards are used. Bekah Jane/Twitter

Cladding fires expose gaps in building material safety checks. Here’s a solution

Fortunately, no lives were lost in the latest cladding fire in Melbourne, but it's a stark reminder of the urgent need to track and verify that building materials comply with safety standards.
The 392 apartments in Opal Tower (centre) were evacuated on Christmas Eve when residents heard loud cracks and defects were found. Paul Braven/AAP

Beyond Opal: a 10-point plan to fix the residential building industry

While Opal Tower residents are more badly affected than most, up to 80% of multi-unit buildings have serious defects. Here's what government can do right now to fix the industry.
Housing affordability becomes less of a concern in the years after buying a house, especially for people who bought a decade or more ago. Paul Miller/AAP

Head start for home owners makes a big difference for housing stress

Affordability is a problem across Sydney for prospective home buyers. But if they are able to become owners, new research shows affordability becomes much less of a problem over five to ten years.
Lochiel Park in Adelaide was Australia’s first large-scale attempt to create homes that use near net zero energy. Stephen Berry

When the heat hits: how to make our homes comfortable without cranking up the aircon

Air conditioning changed both building design and people's active management of home temperatures. A return to houses designed for our climate can keep us comfortable and cut energy use and emissions.
In 1919, 1,376 new Norway Maples were planted along streets in Brooklyn. Department of Parks of the Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York

Not so long ago, cities were starved for trees

In 1910, along one 45-block stretch of New York City's Fifth Avenue, there were only 13 trees.

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