Articles on Urban planning

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Access to the shoreline is great, but what about places not on the coast? Béju (Happy City, Street Plan, University of Virginia)

‘Blue’ space: Access to water features can boost city dwellers’ mental health

Research into public health benefits of integrating nature into cities has focused on green spaces. New studies suggest water features are just as useful and can piggyback on other infrastructure goals.
Greater Dandenong Civic Centre was completed in 2014 with new council chambers, a library and Harmony Square. Photo: Hayley Henderson

Comeback city? Lessons from revitalising a diverse place like Dandenong

A major investment in renewing the urban centre of Dandenong is starting to pay dividends. But while research has found three keys to success, the benefits haven't reached everyone.
The lure of suburbia clearly remains strong. To deal with sprawl, planners need to increase urban density in a way that resonates with the leafy green qualities of suburbia that residents value. Julian Bolleter

GOD save us: greenspace-oriented development could make higher density attractive

Residents of the 'leafy suburbs' will continue to fear what they might lose to increasing urban density without an explicit planning approach that enhances green space in affected neighbourhoods.
One nine-year-old chose his local supermarket as a place he valued because he could “spend time with mum and help decide what goes in our trolley”. Shutterstock

Public places through kids’ eyes – what do they value?

When primary school children in a disadvantaged part of Sydney were asked to map what they valued in the area, their choices were revealing and sometimes surprising.
An artist’s rendering of Toronto’s shoreline in 2050. Regulating the future city poses new challenges for different levels of government. Picture Plane/Heatherwick Studio for Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Labs proposals put the fox in charge of the henhouse

Regulating Sidewalk Labs proposed developments poses new challenges for assigning responsibility and oversight.
The benefits of ‘superblocks’ for Barcelona include better health, access to green space and other public space, and more transport-related physical activity. Orbon Alija/iStock

Superblocks are transforming Barcelona. They might work in Australian cities too

The Spanish city is remaking urban neighbourhoods by limiting through traffic in superblocks that give priority to pedestrians and street activities, not cars.
Where’s the shade? Trees are not an immediate or whole answer to keeping cool. Cameron Tonkinwise

Keeping the city cool isn’t just about tree cover – it calls for a commons-based climate response

Trees and the shade they provide are one of the best ways of cooling cities. But they also present challenges that are best resolved by managing this shared resource as part of an urban commons.
Allowing residents to remove trees within three metres of buildings or ‘ancillary structures’ could dramatically alter the green infrastructure of dense inner Sydney suburbs like Rozelle. Tom Casey/Shutterstock

Trees can add $50,000 value to a Sydney house, so you might want to put down that chainsaw

Greater urban density is making it harder to preserve, let alone increase, tree cover. It's vital, then, to demonstrate the full value of green infrastructure for healthy liveable cities.
Show Works, based in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, makes dance floors, dance equipment and theatre scenery. Andrew Warren, used with permission

Three ways to fix the problems caused by rezoning inner-city industrial land for mixed-use apartments

Rezoning to mixed-use residential development drove small manufacturers and creative producers out of the inner city. The result is less diversity of land uses, jobs and services where we most want it.
The proposed Quayside neighbourhood in Toronto will collect data from individuals in public spaces, but getting consent is a tricky issue. Picture Plane for Heatherwick Studio for Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Toronto’s master plan raises urgent concerns about data and privacy

A report based on public consultations conducted by Sidewalk Labs has still not answered many pressing concerns about privacy and consent in Toronto's Quayside development.

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