Articles on Cities

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Tel Aviv has a reputation as a “non-stop city” but is also known for its local government’s use of smart technology to listen to and respond to residents’ needs and concerns. Alexandra Lande/Shutterstock

How does a city get to be ‘smart’? This is how Tel Aviv did it

To be a smart city is to know what your people want and need. And smart city leaders make sure residents can tell them by using technology to maintain a constant two-way flow of information.
Sydney’s WestConnex is being constructed as a “high priority” project, despite its business case failing to meet Infrastructure Australia’s stated requirements. Ben Rushton/AAP

A closer look at business cases raises questions about ‘priority’ national infrastructure projects

Analysis of the business cases for three of the biggest projects deemed "high priority" by Infrastructure Australia raises questions about the process.
Torre Glòries in Barcelona is an obvious example of statement architecture, but much of the gender bias built into cities is more insidious and pervasive. Wikimedia Commons

Sexism and the city: how urban planning has failed women

Women encounter many difficulties in cities that are products of male design and planning. We need to move past the practice of one group shaping our world on behalf of everyone else.
Health objectives are at last being integrated into all levels of planning in New South Wales, from cities and towns to local places and buildings. pisaphotography/Shutterstock

With health assuming its rightful place in planning, here are 3 key lessons from NSW

The connections between city planning and health are many and varied, but getting health objectives integrated into all aspects of planning in New South Wales has been a long struggle.
Good Shepherd Chapel (c.1969, architect: A. Ian Ferrier) in Mitchelton, Brisbane, was demolished in 2004. Ferrier Slide Collection, used with permission

Uneasy heritage: Australia’s modern church buildings are disappearing

Of the thousands of churches erected to serve the fast-growing communities of post-war Australia, very few are protected. Are we happy to lose buildings that are so much part of our modern heritage?
The familiar images of high-rise development, looking north here from Surfers Paradise, tell only one part of the story of the Gold Coast. Andrew Leach

Looking past the Gold Coast the world sees today

Behind the built-up glitz of Surfers Paradise lies a deep history that has been written and overwritten in successive layers that have become thinner and thinner as time goes on.
Will Gwynne walks through one of the nine Melbourne estates that is being sold in the public housing ‘renewal’ program. David Kelly

Voices of residents missing in a time of crisis for public housing

The problem with most public housing 'renewal' programs is that the residents have the least say in what happens to the places they call home. The evidence of housing research is also being ignored.
‘Soft fall’ surfaces are widely used in play areas where children might fall, but can also get very hot in the sun, which undermines this safety benefit. Brisbane City Council/Flickr

Materials that make heat worse for our kids demand a rethink by designers

Commonly used surfaces in play areas, such as "soft fall" materials and Astroturf, can heat up to 80-100°C in the sun. This makes them a hazardous design choice, especially as the climate gets hotter.
Overflowing bins are one way to spoil the amenity of public space, but sensors can now alert councils when bins need emptying. Wikimedia

Sensors in public spaces can help create cities that are both smart and sociable

Researchers are installing sensors to collect data about the use of public spaces. This can improve the management and public amenity of these places, but will users see the technology as intrusive?
Very wet weather is likely to persuade many regular cyclists and walkers to travel instead by car if they can. This is Bondi Junction after a storm hit Sydney. David Moir/AAP

Too wet? Too cold? Too hot? This is how weather affects the trips we make

The relationship between weather and our travel choices is complicated. We can't change the weather, but, with many other factors in play, good policy and design can reduce its impacts.

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