Cities – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Electric scooters could solve the ‘last mile’ problem of urban transport if operators learn from the mistakes that plagued the introduction of dockless bikes. CrowdSpark/AAP

Can e-scooters solve the ‘last mile’ problem? They’ll need to avoid the fate of dockless bikes

Shared electric scooters appeal as a way to cover that awkward distance between public transport stops and your destination. But first e-scooter operators must solve the littering and dumping problem.
Caggara House in Brisbane caters for low-income residents aged 55 and over who previously lived alone in state-owned houses that were too big for their needs. UDIA Qld/Facebook

A community fix for the affordable housing crisis

Much of the innovation in providing social housing is coming from community housing providers around the country. And it's desperately needed given the state of housing inequality in Australia.
Australia is a long way from achieving responsible consumption and production – SDG 12 – and China exposed the reliance on shifting the problem elsewhere when it stopped accepting waste for recycling. Joe Castro/AAP

Business as usual? The Sustainable Development Goals apply to Australian cities too

Australia has yet to properly acknowledge that the Sustainable Development Goals aren't just an issue for other countries. The problems that demand our attention are much closer to home.
Children in suburbs with low levels of education and employment and high rates of poverty and crime are also missing out on the experiences that help make upwards social mobility possible. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Young Australians’ prospects still come down to where they grow up

Children growing up in the most disadvantaged suburbs also lack the social opportunities to develop skills and aspirations that would improve their prospects in life.
The southern elevation of Two Pavilion House, showing the separate pavilions that give the house its flexibility. Image: Scott Burrows

We need more flexible housing for 21st-century lives

People living with the change and uncertainty of this century need flexible and adaptable housing. Here we look at a couple of examples of what's possible.
Autonomous vehicles are coming to our cities – in fact, driverless buses are already on the road in Adelaide. David Mariuz/AAP

Why driverless vehicles should not be given unchecked access to our cities

To maximise the benefits and limit the costs, the use of autonomous vehicles should be pooled and their access to the city restricted.
Vendors in Australia are not legally obliged to tell prospective buyers about past crimes such as murder committed on the property. Dan Peled/AAP

What should buyers of a house be told about it?

It's still mostly a case of 'buyer beware' when it comes to finding out about a property. But many buyers feel they should be told if, for example, it was the scene of a violent murder.
Melbourne and Sydney have similar access to public transport overall, but this and other liveability indicators vary greatly across the cities. Julian Smith/AAP

Melbourne or Sydney? This is how our two biggest cities compare for liveability

Every year, our big cities vie for global liveability honours. But as well as differences between the cities, liveability varies widely within them, leaving plenty of work to be done.
The housing boom increased wealth gains for affluent households while rising housing costs undermined income gains for less affluent households. Sam Mooy/AAP

How the housing boom has driven rising inequality

The Productivity Commission neglected the impact of housing costs. After allowing for these costs, the top 10% of households' average disposable income grew at 2.7 times the rate of the bottom 10%.
Getting more out of ‘lazy’ land, such as this community housing built over a Port Phillip City Council-owned car park, is a key strategy to reduce the shortage of affordable housing. CIty of Port Phillip

Put unused and ‘lazy’ land to work to ease the affordable housing crisis

As Melbourne's population hits 5 million, it's a reminder that growing cities must make much better use of vacant and underused land to meet the urgent need for affordable housing.
Local councils across Australia are concerned about a shortage of affordable housing, but feel the problem is beyond local government’s capacity to solve. Dave Hunt/AAP

Local councils put affordable housing supply in the too hard basket

A national survey shows councils know much of the housing in their local areas isn't affordable. But providing affordable housing is not a priority because they see it as being beyond their means.
Cable cars grace many urban skylines, including this one in Portland, in the United States. Patrick M/Flickr

Look up Australia, cable cars could ease our traffic woes

Popular as gondolas in ski-fields around the world, cable cars, aerial trams, wires or ropeways are increasingly used for mass transit in progressive cities. Is this the future for Australian cities?
Converting existing larger homes into smaller units could provide options for older people wanting to stay in their neighbourhood. from www.shutterstock.com

Flatting in retirement: how to provide suitable and affordable housing for ageing people

As the number of older people is expected to double by 2050 in most countries, architects are exploring how existing housing stocks could be turned into affordable shared retirement homes.
Women spend more time in a cubicle than men, mostly for biological reasons. from shutterstock.com

Why queues for women’s toilets are longer than men’s

Men spend, on average, around 60 seconds in a toilet, while women spend 90. This is for many reasons, including biology. This leads to a bottleneck that keeps women waiting around to use the loo.
There are more than 50,000 public bridges in Australia. (The Sea Cliff bridge is one Australia’s newer bridges, built in 2005). from shutterstock.com

Are Australian bridges safe, and can we do better?

Australian bridges are generally safe, but we don't have transparent information about how often they're inspected or maintained.
Many are conflicted about whether the population should continue to grow and what the population of the future should look like. from shutterstock.com

Here’s what a population policy for Australia could look like

Many people think a population policy is about control – like the one-child policy in China, for instance. But modern population policies are about population-well-being.
The State Library in Victoria illustrates that libraries are so much more than just places that contain books. from shutterstock.com

Technology hasn’t killed public libraries – it’s inspired them to transform and stay relevant

In the digital age, libraries got creative about how to translate services they've always offered into new formats. And they've transformed their spaces to have a variety of community uses.