Cities – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Implosion is the most dramatic way of demolishing a building but it’s also the most wasteful and hazardous. Luke Schmidt/Shutterstock

Unbuilding cities as high-rises reach their use-by date

The problems of demolishing high-rise buildings in busy cities point to the need to prepare for unbuilding at the time of building. We'd then be much better placed to recycle building materials.
Remains of a burnt-out property at Bruthen South, Victoria. Only analysing the reasons buildings were destroyed will tell us if building codes need to be reformed. James Ross/AAP

Australian building codes don’t expect houses to be fire-proof – and that’s by design

If the aim is to minimise the number of buildings damaged or destroyed in extreme fire events, Australia's building regulations are clearly inadequate. But that's not their aim.
Abandoned trolleys litter a roadside in Whalan, a suburb in Sydney’s outer west. Shutterstock

The war on abandoned trolleys can be won. Here’s how

Abandoned trolleys are an all-too-common sight. A solution to this intractable problem depends on a combination of policy and legal changes, public engagement and tracking technology.
A section of Beijing Daxing International Airport from the first 3D images released by China National Space Administration using data from the recently launched Gaofen-7 Earth observation satellite, which can resolve objects less than a metre wide. China National Space Administration/Xinhua

As Digital Earth gains momentum, China is setting the pace

China has embraced the concept of Digital Earth – the use of data from satellites to create a visual map of what's happening at every point on the planet – and is now a key player in making it happen.
If a vehicle was coming through this intersection would this pedestrian have right of way? Stephen Di Donato/Good Free Photos

Why Australian road rules should be rewritten to put walking first

Most people do not know the right-of-way rules, but a starting point should be that pedestrian needs and safety take priority. Current road rules are biased towards driver convenience
Morrison government assistant minister Luke Howarth argues that finding jobs for people in social housing will help free up dwellings for other people on the waiting list. Mick Tsikas/AAP

As simple as finding a job? Getting people out of social housing is much more complex than that

Helping tenants find work supposedly creates a pathway into private rental housing, freeing up social housing for others. Private rental costs and the situations of many tenants make that unrealistic.
Demonstrations against freeway construction in Melbourne included a street barricade erected in protest at the F19 extension of the Eastern Freeway. Barricade! – the resident fight against the F19

We’re still fighting city freeways after half a century

Public protests eventually forced the scrapping of some proposed freeways in 1973. Today, we have another round of projects and people are protesting again, with good reason. Government should listen.
When politicians use selected modelling results to justify their decisions on contentious projects like Melbourne’s North East Link, the credibility of transport models suffers by association. Vic Govt/AAP

The problem with transport models is political abuse, not their use in planning

Transport modelling has been tarnished by its use to justify the predetermined projects politicians favour. But, if used more transparently, it's a valuable tool for planning our future cities.
The Melbourne Transportation Plan included every freeway and major arterial road built in the city since 1969. Shuang Li/Shutterstock

50 years on from the Melbourne Transportation Plan, what can we learn from its legacy?

While called a transportation plan, it was heavily skewed towards roads. We need the type of city-shaping thinking that underpinned the plan, but today's plans must match 21st-century priorities.
The Australian and Victorian governments have both promised funding for a Melbourne Airport rail link, but a private consortium’s unsolicited proposal is also on the table. Stefan Postles/AAP

Market-led infrastructure may sound good but not if it short-changes the public

Unsolicited market proposals are not transparently assessed. Infrastructure should be built to serve the public interest, not shaped by its private backers, but the checks to ensure this are broken.
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.