Articles on Cities & Policy

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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.
The Greening the Pipeline 100-metre pilot park at Williams Landing is the first step in transforming 27 kilometres of the heritage-listed main outfall sewer into a linear park and bike track. Greening the Pipeline, courtesy of Melbourne Water

How Melbourne’s west was greened

Tree plantings are making a visible difference to Melbourne’s west. It's the result of a collaborative model of greening, one that Australian cities need to apply more widely.
Mass evacuations in response to natural disasters like Hurricane Maria are a logistical challenge, but also face psychological barriers to residents being willing and able to leave. EPA

Psychology holds key to getting people out before disaster strikes

Promoting individual resilience will contribute to reductions in disaster threats for at-risk communities globally.
While parts of Australian capital cities are highly liveable, access to the features that underpin liveability is highly unequal. kittis/shutterstock

This is what our cities need to do to be truly liveable for all

The challenge of creating liveable communities across Australia's capital cities comes down to seven key factors. And assessed on this basis, parts of our cities don't fare so well.
Staying physically active can play a big part in ageing well – and a well-designed neighbourhood helps with that. Maylat/shutterstock

Eight simple changes to our neighbourhoods can help us age well

Our ageing population presents several social and economic challenges, particularly for the health sector. Physical activity can tackle many of these.
“Looking for one girl to share a master room with another 3 girls.” Screenshot from Gumtree ad, August 19 2017, 11:58

Room sharing is the new flat sharing

City living costs are driving people to organise themselves to share a room with strangers. These precarious living arrangements hardly qualify as a home.
The first autonomous vehicles are already upon us, but once their use becomes widespread they will change cities as surely as the original cars did. AAP/nuTonomy

Driverless vehicles could bring out the best – or worst – in our cities by transforming land use

It's clear autonomous vehicles will disrupt our cities, their land use and planning. Whether they make urban life better or worse depends on how well we anticipate and adapt to their impacts.
Perth has long had many fine parks but is losing vegetation cover in a band of increasingly dense development across the city. Ruben Schade/flickr

We’re investing heavily in urban greening, so how are our cities doing?

A new study shows major Australian cities are suffering an overall loss of green space – although some areas are doing better than others.
“I don’t think there are many women who think, ‘Oh, my ideal project would be a massive tower.’ ” Anthony Delanoix/Unsplash

Mansplaining Australian cities – we can do something about that

Cities aren't just a male creation, but women's contributions have been sidelined. There are ways we can rediscover and restore these women to their rightful place in the stories of our cities.
An outstanding example of sustainable residential building, Breathe Architecture’s The Commons apartments in Melbourne won a 2014 National Architecture Award. Image courtesy of Australian Institute of Architects

Sustainable cities? Australia’s building and planning rules stand in the way of getting there

New South Wales is the only state that has made meaningful progress on legislation and enforcement of standards capable of creating a sustainable built environment.

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