Articles on Urban life

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Highton Shopping Village in Geelong. Leila Farahani

This is how to create social hubs that make 20-minute neighbourhoods work

Low-density suburbs can cause social isolation that's harmful for individual and community well-being. But research confirms we can plan neighbourhood centres so they become vibrant social hubs.
Movies from the “neo-noir” genre offer a darker and bleaker vision of the city, in stark contrast to the world of the TV sit-com. Tan Zi Han/Shutterstock

Movies and TV choose to tell us different stories about the cities of today

Movies often portray the city as a dystopia, particularly in the 'neo-noir' genre, which explores postmodern themes. TV shows and ads present an altogether sunnier picture of life in the city.
Riders on San Francisco’s Muni light rail system. David Lytle

What public transit can learn from Uber and Lyft

Millions of Americans rely on public transit to get to school, work or stores, but many can't get the service they need. 'Uberizing' transit by offering more options on demand could fill the gaps.
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.
The High Line in New York City, a former elevated railroad trestle converted to a public park. Shinya Suzuki/Flickr

Urban nature: What kinds of plants and wildlife flourish in cities?

In an urbanizing world, people increasingly are seeking out nature in cities. Research shows that diverse species of animals, plants and insects can thrive in areas that humans have altered.
The closure of the Gatwick Hotel means those most in need of shelter have lost another place they could stay. Darkydoors from www.shutterstock.com

Goodbye to the Gatwick, and to so much of the old St Kilda

When wealth accumulation becomes the driver of urban regeneration, residents who already have little or no say in the future of our cities are further marginalised by gentrification.
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.
Community murals can rekindle an area’s shared memories and sense of identity. Photo: Martin Purcell. Reproduced with permission

How murals helped turn a declining community around

Over the past 15 years, community groups in a rundown inner-city district have created public murals as part of a successful process of reversing decades of stagnation.
People have camped in the long grass since colonisation. From this perspective, bans on the practice are a denial of Indigenous agency, culture and rights to country. Photo: K. Pollard

Contested spaces: the ‘long-grassers’, living private lives in public places

In contrast to perceptions of other homeless people sleeping rough, Darwin's "long-grassers" are applying a long cultural tradition to deal with the situation in which they find themselves.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signs legislation lowering the default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour, Oct. 27, 2014. NYC Department of Transportation/Flickr

Urban nation: What’s at stake for cities in the 2016 elections

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have painted starkly different views of U.S. cities during the campaign. Will the next president deliver the funding and political support mayors are seeking?
More than cluster of people and buildings, urbanity is a concentration of encounters and connections. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’

We're still in the early days of understanding how cities work. But we do know that creative, healthy and productive cities have certain things in common – and it's all to do with their 'urban DMA'.
Chilean-German DJ Matias Aguayo performing at Kitchener’s Bar in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Charles Leonard

Jo'burg by night: A time for dreamers, graffiti artists, lovers and dancers

Scholars of urban studies are acknowledging that the discipline is characterised by a fear of the dark and the night. But artists are giving us a creative language to engage with the darkness.

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