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Skateboarding is an increasingly popular activity. A man skateboards in Moscow. Maxim Shemetov

Skateboarding is good for you – and good for public places

Skateboarders are being driven from Melbourne's Lincoln Square after community complaints. But skaters are citizens too, and with obesity on the rise, their activities should be encouraged.
When public housing like the properties in Sydney’s Millers Point is privatised, it profoundly changes the social mix of the inner city to something much more homogenous. AAP/Newzulu/Peter Boyle

Suburbanising the centre: the Baird government’s anti-urban agenda for Sydney

The NSW government agenda would deny the 'right to the city', that network of diverse communities, practices and places which give rise to the convivial and inclusive potential of cities.
The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour. 'It's Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne', Tourism Victoria

Why we should design smart cities for getting lost

If smart cities run on big data and algorithms that channel only 'relevant' information and opinions to us, how do we maintain the diversity of ideas and possibilities that drives truly smart cities?
The size and pace of activity in Tokyo can be overwhelming, but at the human scale the city has an incredibly rich layering of experiences built over generations.

Lessons in living heritage from Tokyo to Adelaide

The concept of living heritage can help us make decisions that go beyond preserving historical facades to protect and add to, rather than freeze, the stories and layers of the past.
Unless councillors are helped to focus on their representative roles, local democracy’s effectiveness could be in danger. AAP/Darren Pateman

How council mergers and reforms imperil local government democracy

If local councils are bigger and councillors represent more residents, it is important that they focus on understanding their communities’ needs and aspirations, rather than on day-to-day operations.
Zaha Hadid’s ongoing Australian projects and draft designs will attract plenty of attention in the future. London Aquatics Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid. Artur Salisz

Will the death of ‘starchitect’ Zaha Hadid bring life to more of her designs?

Celebrated architect Zaha Hadid, who died last week, had three projects on the go in Australia. Will there be a surge of interest in her work - as has happened to other architects who have died prematurely?
Without metropolitan governance that is responsive to city residents’ wishes, states are much influenced by federal priorities – that is, by the money on offer. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Metropolitan governance is the missing link in Australia’s reform agenda

Representative and accountable metropolitan government is needed to lead metro-scale planning, infrastructure investment and services, and partnerships with the private sector and civil society.
From Prime Minister David Cameron down, UK ministers have been keen to unveil ambitious ‘City Deals’, often before difficult policy and funding details have been resolved. flickr/Number 10

City Deals: nine reasons this imported model of urban development demands due diligence

The new cities minister apparently shares the Property Council and KPMG's enthusiasm for the UK 'City Deals' model, but he should look more closely at this 'tried and tested' model before adopting it.
Several preventative measures can be taken to reduce the impact of fraudulent property industry behaviour on consumers. AAP/Dan Peled

How can we arrest the rise in white-collar crime in Australia’s property industry?

Consumers lose out when a real estate agent acts fraudulently – be that false advertising, deceptive conduct or misusing trust funds. Research shows a link between such misconduct and lower regulatory and educational standards.
Those opposed to forced municipal mergers have reason to be sceptical of NSW Premier Mike Baird’s promises that it will improve councils’ performance. AAP/Paul Miller

Do mergers make for better councils? The evidence is against ‘bigger is better’ for local government

If forced amalgamations proceed, we may well see hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer and ratepayer funds squandered simply because policymakers preferred dogma to empirical evidence.
The sale of the port of Fremantle, the last capital city port to be privatised, is now in limbo. AAP/Kim Christian

WA port sales the latest privatisations to hit political hurdles

The Barnett government's plans to sell ports, including the last capital city port slated for privatisation, appear to have been torpedoed by the WA Nationals' change of heart.

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