Articles on Cities & Policy

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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.
From its earliest days, the influx of outsiders created the distinctive urban character that has driven the development of Shanghai into a modern metropolis. Wenjie, Zhang/flickr

Shanghai, a modern metropolis born of a refugee crisis

From its earliest days as a haven for refugees, Shanghai developed a distinctive character and urban identity that have driven its emergence as one of the world's great metropolises.
By persuading some drivers to travel a different route or at a different time, congestion charges can dramatically improve the flow of traffic. AAP/Andrew Brownbill

How to make cities work better – here’s what the government needs to do

Bigger cities increase wages, output and innovation, but also problems of congestion and pollution. Congestion charges can minimise these problems by dramatically improving traffic flows.
Planting trees can make cities more desirable and safer places to live in. Joe Castro/AAP.

Greening cities makes for safer neighbourhoods

Not only do healthy, well-maintained trees provide shade and benefit the ecosystem, they can have a meaningful social impact: people in newly greened neighbourhoods start to look out for each other.
Uber may open cities from taxi oligopolies, but ultimately it closes them off to the possibility of more meaningful alternatives. Scott L/flickr

How Uber opens cities only to close them

Uber actively encloses what could be a more open city in which riders and drivers work to benefit city residents.
In addition to a shortage of public toilets, current innovations in their design may not be suitable for an ageing population. AAP/City of Sydney

Caught short: we need to talk about public toilets

Millions of people need to be confident that suitable public toilets will be available when they leave their homes. A shortage of such facilities is a serious problem for an ageing population.
Melbourne is powered by the coal-fired stations of Gippsland, which illustrates the problems with any urban strategy that neglects regional roles and interests. AAP/Julian Smith

‘The urban’: a concept under stress in an interconnected world

City-centric thinking arguably obscures connections between 'humans' and 'nature', and 'urban' and 'rural' or 'wild'. Growing evidence of the depths of these links is testing the concept of 'urban'.
Despite Malcolm Turnbull’s enthusiasm for public transport, the Coalition tends to favour road projects over rail. AAP/Lukas Coch

Election 2016: will the infrastructure promises meet Australia’s needs?

The Coalition, Labor, and the Greens are making substantial commitments to projects that not only lack proper business cases, but are not even on the Infrastructure Australia priority list at all.
On average, Gen Ys are $50,000 short of the deposit they expect they’ll need to buy their first home. Lolostock from www.shutterstock.com

What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?

Without long-term solutions to the imbalance between incomes and house prices, Gen Ys face a lifetime of renting without the financial and emotional security of home ownership.
Housing costs are driving poorer families into areas with fewer and fewer opportunities. Kate Ausburn/flickr

Smart cities wouldn’t let housing costs drive the worse-off into deeper disadvantage

The 2016 articulation of an urban agenda assumes building more highways, railways and trams will produce better, more productive cities that somehow give everyone a job.

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