Articles on city planning

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The right side of the ‘latte line’ in Sydney, looking across Paddington towards Bondi Junction and the eastern suburbs. R. Freestone

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

The State of Australian Cities Conference begins in Adelaide today. In major cities across the nation, there's a stark contrast between lofty planning goals and the sprawling reality on the ground.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff launch Sidewalk Toronto, a high-tech urban development project. Mark Blinch/Reuters

Can a tech company build a city? Ask Google

Toronto has entered a joint venture with a Google sister company to create a high-tech urban development area. The goal is to 're-imagine cities from the internet up' – Google's internet, of course.
The first autonomous vehicles are already upon us, but once their use becomes widespread they will change cities as surely as the original cars did. AAP/nuTonomy

Driverless vehicles could bring out the best – or worst – in our cities by transforming land use

It's clear autonomous vehicles will disrupt our cities, their land use and planning. Whether they make urban life better or worse depends on how well we anticipate and adapt to their impacts.
The city of Vancouver is set among a beautiful background, but the scenic wonder masks other problems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver’s urban conundrum: Let’s design better cities

Vancouver may be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but the president of Emily Carr University says the city could benefit from the discipline of design.
Perth has long had many fine parks but is losing vegetation cover in a band of increasingly dense development across the city. Ruben Schade/flickr

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

A new study shows major Australian cities are suffering an overall loss of green space – although some areas are doing better than others.
An outstanding example of sustainable residential building, Breathe Architecture’s The Commons apartments in Melbourne won a 2014 National Architecture Award. Image courtesy of Australian Institute of Architects

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

New South Wales is the only state that has made meaningful progress on legislation and enforcement of standards capable of creating a sustainable built environment.
A tiny house in the backyard appeals to some as a solution that offers both affordability and sustainability. Think Out Loud/flick

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

New research has found a marked increase in people, particularly among women over 50, who are building or want to build a tiny house. However, inflexible planning rules often stand in their way.
At first glance, old industrial sites, like this one in Carrington Street, don’t look like much. But they provide vital spaces for creative precincts to flourish. Paul Jones

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

A new project documents who uses urban industrial lands slated for redevelopment. It reveals a vibrant but largely hidden sector at the interface between creative industries and small manufacturing.
Generic plotting of ‘green space’ on an urban plan does not target mental wellbeing unless it is designed to engage us with the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Zoe Myers

Green for wellbeing – science tells us how to design urban spaces that heal us

Successful parks and urban green spaces encourage us to linger, to rest, to walk for longer. That, in turn, provides the time to maximise the restorative mental benefits.
Much of what is being built is straightforward ‘investor grade product’ – flats built to attract the burgeoning investment market. Bill Randolph

Why investor-driven urban density is inevitably linked to disadvantage

The inexorable logic of the market will create suburban concentrations of lower-income households on a scale hitherto only experienced in the legacy inner-city high-rise public housing estates.
Melbourne’s ambitions to be a ‘20-minute city’ aren’t likely to be achieved by its recently updated planning strategy. Nils Versemann / shutterstock.com

A 20-minute city sounds good, but becoming one is a huge challenge

While many talk about 30-minute cities, some aim for residents to be able to get to most services within 20 minutes. But cities like Melbourne have an awful lot of work to do to achieve their goal.
Night-time lighting – seen here in Chongqing, China – is one of many aspects of city living that can make us more stressed. Jason Byrne

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

Research shows planners and built environment professionals have surprisingly poor knowledge about how cities might harm mental health. The good news is that simple steps can make a big difference.

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