Articles on Urban infrastructure

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An increase in the use of self-driving cars will change parking requirements in the city. Shutterstock

How self-driving cars will make our cities more charming

An increase in the use of self-driving cars will change parking infrastructure in cities, and hopefully result in more colourful character neighbourhoods.
Cairns has lots of hard grey infrastructure but much less green infrastructure that would reduce the impacts of the city’s growth. Karine Dupré

Cities can grow without wrecking reefs and oceans. Here’s how

Urbanisation is the main reason for rising temperatures and water pollution, but receives little attention in discussions about the health of water streams, reefs and oceans.
Another election, another infrastructure promise – in the Andrews government’s case, a $50 billion suburban rail loop. Penny Stephens/AAP

Infrastructure splurge ignores smarter ways to keep growing cities moving

In the election bidding wars, parties commit billions to transport projects, often before all the work needed to justify these has been done. More cost-effective alternatives hardly get a look-in.
Federal and state governments have put their hands up to fund airport rail links before we have even seen business cases. David Crosling/AAP

Missing evidence base for big calls on infrastructure costs us all

Billions of taxpayer dollars are committed before all the evidence for, and against, infrastructure projects is in. As well as missing business cases, basic rules of economic modelling are broken.
Flood waters rise in the Montreal neighbourhood of Cartierville in May 2017. (Fred/flickr)

Urban floods: We can pay now or later

The risk of urban flooding is rising. Overall, residents and municipalities are ill prepared, but there are steps homeowners can take to protect themselves.
Victorians who opposed the East West Link before the November 2014 election would have felt not much had changed when the new government announced the West Gate Tunnel in March 2015. Courtney Biggs/AAP

Sidelining citizens when deciding on transport projects is asking for trouble

Transport infrastructure has such an impact on what kind of city we become that more democratic planning is long overdue. But public consultation is typically limited and focused on design issues.
Parts of the world are grappling with the urbanisation problem but some other parts experience the opposite: their cities are shrinking. Shutterstock

Managing shrinking cities in an expanding world

Urbanisation has been a well-established trend and for some countries will continue to be. But some others experience the opposite, resulting in underused and abandoned infrastructure.
For suburbs like fast-growing Tarneit in the Wyndham area, ‘hard’ infrastructure gets priority, leaving ‘soft’ social infrastructure to catch up later. Chris Brown/flickr

Some suburbs are being short-changed on services and liveability – which ones and what’s the solution?

Traditionally, new communities first get hard infrastructure – schools, hospitals, transport – and 'soft' social infrastructure comes later. Liveability and public health suffer as a result.
A drain carries water but does little else, but imagine how different the neighbourhood would be if the drain could be transformed into a living stream. Zoe Myers

More than just drains: recreating living streams through the suburbs

Drains take up precious but inaccessible open space in our cities. Converting these to living streams running through the suburbs could make for healthier places in multiple ways.
A fully loaded semitrailer can cause 10,000 times more damage to roads than a family car. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Trucks are destroying our roads and not picking up the repair cost

Australia should follow the lead of other nations like New Zealand and Switzerland and increase the charges for heavy vehicles on roads, proportionate to the amount of wear and tear they cause.
The national broadband network promised by the incoming Rudd government was politicised from the start. Lukas Coch/AAP

The NBN: how a national infrastructure dream fell short

The highly politicised nature of the NBN has led to a lack of transparency that makes it even harder to fix the mess that has been made of this vital national infrastructure.
Both Donald Trump and his political opponents are on board the global infrastructure bandwagon. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Making sense of the global infrastructure turn

The trillions of dollars spent on infrastructure demands democratic transparency and accountability. This applies to both the investment and to the effects on cities, societies and the environment.

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