Articles on Cities

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It’s now possible to experience virtual walks through nature – like this video, for example – but can that ever match the real thing? Video screenshot, sounds from the core/YouTube

Can virtual nature and poo transplants solve city dwellers’ health problems?

Faecal transplants and virtual nature are technological solutions to ‘nature deficit disorder’ from urban living. Such 'quick fixes' offer some benefits, but are no substitute for the real thing.
Including community members as participants and co-creators of the Dragon of Shandon is central to the festival’s success. OpenLens.ie/Dragon of Shandon

A dragon-led recovery: how a community is reaping the benefits of a spooky Halloween festival

Urban festivals built on community involvement can reinvigorate places and create a shared sense of place and purpose that lasts long after the event is over.
Lots of parking: the extraordinary amount of valuable land used to park cars in most cities could soon be freed up for other uses. Antonio Gravante/Shutterstock

Freeing up the huge areas set aside for parking can transform our cities

Cities around the world are starting to rethink the vast areas of land set aside for parking. The convergence of several trends likely will mean this space becomes available for other uses.
Maya Demetriou, 90, pictured after the court ruling that the minister did not properly consider a heritage listing recommendation, will be the last tenant left in the Sirius building. Perry Duffin/AAP

Last of the Millers Point and Sirius tenants hang on as the money now pours in

All but a handful of the former public housing tenants are gone. But despite the government again rejecting the recommended heritage listing of the Sirius building, the fight to save it isn't over.
Without medium-density housing being built in the established suburbs – the ‘missing middle’ – the goals of more compact, sustainable and equitable cities won’t be achieved. zstock/shutterstock

Becoming more urban: attitudes to medium-density living are changing in Sydney and Melbourne

Residents of established middle suburbs are slowly coming round to the idea, but governments and the property sector lack the capacity to deliver compact cities that are acceptable to the community.
The ageing population is one factor in increasing numbers of people living alone, and innovative and inclusive responses are needed. shutterstock

We are living alone together in today’s cities – and that calls for smart and ‘bolshie’ moves

Living and dying alone presents many challenges for cities, and we'll need more than technology to meet these. Only an inclusive, innovative response can deliver the essential element of human care.
Play activates cities and engages people, and by appropriating urban spaces it changes what these mean to people.

Bringing back an old idea for smart cities – playing on the street

As adults we often trivialise the value of play. But playing games lets us play with possibilities, see how they play out – and exploring alternative realities helps us see the familiar in new ways.
Having to own multiple cars comes at a cost to the finances and health of residents in the sprawling outer suburbs. David Crosling/AAP

Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth

One of the most effective ways to reduce health inequalities across Australia is to design neighbourhoods that free residents from having to rely on cars for transport.
For suburbs like fast-growing Tarneit in the Wyndham area, ‘hard’ infrastructure gets priority, leaving ‘soft’ social infrastructure to catch up later. Chris Brown/flickr

Some suburbs are being short-changed on services and liveability – which ones and what’s the solution?

Traditionally, new communities first get hard infrastructure – schools, hospitals, transport – and 'soft' social infrastructure comes later. Liveability and public health suffer as a result.
In Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, just over a third of dwellings are within 400 metres of a public transport stop with services every 30 minutes, but the proportions are much lower in other cities. Angela Brkic/AAP

City-by-city analysis shows our capitals aren’t liveable for many residents

Governments, developers and urban planners all aspire to create liveable cities. Yet when it comes to Australian cities, the rhetoric and reality don’t quite match.
Vital Signs takes stock of all the key elements of a city’s successes and challenges, and the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation uses this data to guide its grant-making. Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation

Taking the pulse of a city: Melbourne’s Vital Signs

A decade after Toronto produced the first Vitals Signs report, community foundations in Melbourne and other cities are using these reports' up-to-date data to inform their decisions.

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