Articles on Cities & Policy

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Hosier Lane, the iconic Melbourne laneway. David Kelly

Graf all you want, but don’t you dare be poor!

Businesses have traded on graffiti and the air of edginess that draws visitors to Melbourne's laneways. But they draw the line at sharing space with the homeless, whose right to the city is denied.
Chinese are starting to question government control of the terms of public debate, as conveyed by this propoganda banner in Hangzhou in 2010. Philip Roeland

Do moves against Hangzhou G20 ‘rumours’ help show China at its best or worst?

Hangzhou is hosting the G20 summit and China is anxious to present a positive picture of the country to the world, but the official attitude to non-compliant citizens isn't helping.
The rear of 30-32 Oxford Street, an area of Sydney affected by an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900. Wikimedia/NSW State Archives

Why 100 years without slum housing in Australia is coming to an end

New research finds almost a million Australians are living in poor or very poor-quality housing, with more than 100,000 in dwellings regarded as very poor or derelict.
Nne-star-rated ‘Catalyst’ houses built to maximise passive solar principles were evaluated against seven control houses built to DHHS standards. Trivess Moore

Sustainable housing’s expensive, right? Not when you look at the whole equation

Emerging research challenges the idea that sustainable housing is unaffordable. It shows sustainability and good design can be affordable when analyses include social, health and wellbeing benefits.
Tracking what you stop to pay attention to and what you ‘don’t see’ can tell us a lot about what might be going on inside your mind.

The Panopticons are coming! And they’ll know when we think the grass is greener

Eye-tracking technology helps us understand how people interact with their environment. This can improve policy and design, but can also be a tool for surveillance and control.
City policymakers are realising creative workers don’t have to be permanently clustered together if they can collaborate as needed. Steve Purkiss/flickr

Gaming trends show cities need to rethink how they tap into creative economy

Cities seeking to attract creative industries have relied heavily on the cluster concept. New research suggests a technology-driven transformation of how the sector works calls for a new approach.
In countries where many if not most households have pets, ‘no pets’ rental policies are a serious obstacle to housing security. Mike Hoff/flickr

As pet owners suffer rental insecurity, perhaps landlords should think again

Landlords and property agents often apply 'no pets' rules even though many households see them as part of the family. Their difficulty in finding rental housing then becomes a source of great stress.
Urban planning was once an Olympic event, although the first gold medal – awarded to Germany’s Alfred Hensel for the Nuremberg stadium – turned out to be an unfortunate choice.

‘No More Hunger’ Games: if only we cared about the real-world Liveability Olympics

Imagine cities competed to eliminate hunger, poverty, unemployment, crime and greenhouse emissions, and to offer housing and transport for all. Don't scoff – urban planning was once an Olympic event.
A self-driving bus completes a demonstration drive in Tokyo in July. Toru Hanai/Reuters

Smart cities: does this mean more transport disruptions?

New technologies do not exist in a vacuum. To succeed, new transport technology needs to match the ways we want to move around cities and be accommodated by laws and regulations.
Renaissance master Andrea Palladio designed Villa La Rotonda with rooms of various characters, which at night served as viewing boxes for fireworks displays in the surrounding landscape. Bogna/Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: why a building and its rooms should have a human character

Might we enjoy our homes more if their rooms were characterised by their sense of loftiness or intimacy or cheerfulness or melancholy rather than lifeless labels such as 'media room' or 'home office'?
Connecting the city and regions, long-distance commuting is a significant factor in regional centres. Peter Mackey/flickr

Commuters help regions tap into city-driven growth

Long-distance commuting may help promote the development of regional cities by boosting local populations, skills and incomes.
Public protests forced a backdown on a proposed merger of university art schools, but their value to cities is still being underestimated. Joel Carrett/AAP

Why arts schools matter, not just for art’s sake but for urban renewal in Sydney and other cities

Art schools are emerging globally as very powerful instruments of urban renewal. In a time of transformation, Sydney must learn to tap into the value of having multiple art colleges.
The Western Distributor project announced by the Andrews government will benefit Melbourne’s suburban residents in the west and north, but inner-city elites are mobilising against it. AAP/Melissa Meehan

Inner-city bias: the suburbs need a fair go

It's a project that creates benefits for Melbourne's western suburbs and the state as a whole. But the inner-city elite don't like it and recent experience suggests their opinion holds sway.
In a citizens’ jury, difficult issues are passionately but respectfully discussed by a cross-section of people from the community. NHS Citizen Assembly

City calls on jury of its citizens to deliberate on Melbourne’s future

A citizens' jury has been working to refresh the Future Melbourne strategy. It's part of a broader shift from government decision-making for communities to decision-making with communities.
China has the most extensive high-speed rail network in the world, which has helped reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Jason Lee/Reuters

High-speed rail? At $200 billion we’d better get it right

High-speed rail is now a well-established technology and Australia needs it, as long as the project ticks all the boxes needed to deliver both private and public benefits.

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