Cities – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Areas with higher-density apartment living, such as Rhodes in Sydney, are home to many overseas-born residents. Marcus Jaaske/Shutterstock

Higher density and diversity: apartments are Australia at its most multicultural

The combination of higher-density living and increasing cultural diversity means we need to think about how to build social cohesion and make the most of the opportunities of apartment living.
The big global cities might be engines of growth but are also where the deepest troughs of poverty and injustice are found. Jorge CMS/Shutterstock

Aim for cities of all sizes to give everyone a fair go

The largest cities in Australia and the US are both the richest and the most likely to push out low-income earners. Having cities of all sizes will increase people's choices of where to live and work.
Shepparton residents are clearly disadvantaged by having far fewer daily train services to Melbourne than other regional centres. Alex1991/Wikimedia

Rail access improves liveability, but all regional centres are not equal

Regional areas are expanding, and yet not enough attention is being paid to improving rail access to capital cities. This affects the liveability of the areas.
When cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians come together at an intersection, design makes the difference between collisions and safety. pxhere

We can design better intersections that are safer for all users

Collisions at intersections between motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians cause many deaths and injuries. Design that considers how each group approaches intersections improves everyone's safety.
The settings on traffic lights make pedestrians wait longer by giving higher priority to vehicle traffic. Abaconda Management Group/Wikimedia

How traffic signals favour cars and discourage walking

Everyone doesn't simply wait their turn at traffic lights. Signals are set up to enable a 'green wave' for cars and adjust to heavy traffic, making walkers wait longer no matter how many there are.
Whether it’s birds in a flock or drivers in traffic, agent-based modelling can describe complex phenomena by applying a simple set of rules to each individual’s behaviour. Barry Sweet/EPA

Traffic is complex, but modelling using deceptively simple rules can help unravel what’s going on

By identifying and applying the key rules governing the behaviour of each individual, agent-based modelling offers insights into complex phenomena like traffic jams and flocking.
Planning and design for healthy, liveable communities in the Australian tropics can involve quite different considerations from those that apply down south. Silvia Tavares

Making a global agenda work locally for healthy, sustainable living in tropical Australia

There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan for sustainable, healthy urban living. Urban diaries help identify what works – and doesn't work – for tropical cities like Cairns or Townsville.
Cities are growing vertically as well as horizontally, so infrastructure needs to ensure people can move up and down as well as across the city. Alpha/Flickr

Growing cities face challenges of keeping the masses moving up, down and across

Cities are expanding upwards and downwards, as well as outwards. With urban density also increasing, moving people efficiently around the city, often using ageing infrastructure, is quite a challenge.
A public barbecue in Lyndhurst, New South Wales, does the job but could be so much better. Mattinbgn/Wikimedia

The public barbie, an Aussie icon frozen in time

The need for public cooking facilities has long been recognised, but why has the basic public barbecue failed to evolve along with Australians, their lifestyles and the foods they eat?
A car is set alight during the 2005 riots that prompted soul-searching in France about segregated and badly designed housing projects. A.J./Wikimedia

When neighbourhoods become dangerous, look to local strengths for a lifeline

Planning matters. The 2005 riots in France started in badly designed housing projects, while innovative planning helped Medellín, Colombia, shed its reputation as the most violent city in the world.
Hobart is facing a rental accommodation shortfall of about 5,000 households, but the statewide shortage totals more than 29,000 households. Dave Hunt/AAP

Councils’ help with affordable housing shows how local government can make a difference

Tasmania has an estimated rental housing shortfall of 29,200 households across the state. Especially in disadvantaged rural areas, local councils have had to step in to help house residents locally.
Xiong’an represents Xi Jinping’s plan to outdo even the extraordinary rise of Shenzhen (above) from small market town to mega-city in just a few decades. Jerome Favre/EPA/AAP

Xiong'an, Xi Jinping’s new city-making machine turned on

Xiong’an is called China’s No.1 urban project. Orchestrated by President Xi Jinping, the mega-city to be built just over 100 kilometres south of Beijing is also very much a political project.
Housing is just one of the essentials in household budgets and it’s when there’s no way to manage all these costs that financial stress really sets in. Emma Baker

Housing affordability stress affects one in nine households, but which ones are really struggling?

Housing affordability is one of Australia’s great unsolved problems. Some households can make adjustments to cover high housing costs, but the ones deprived of essentials are under real stress.
People are alarmed about Airbnb’s impacts, but these are far from uniform across the city. Justin Lane/EPA

Airbnb: who’s in, who’s out, and what this tells us about rental impacts in Sydney and Melbourne

The patterns of Airbnb listings in Australia's biggest cities suggest impacts on rental housing are likely to be biggest in high-end areas that appeal to tourists. Low-income areas are less affected.