Articles on Cities & Policy

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Policies focused on ownership do little to help lower-income households that are struggling to pay the rent. Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Housing affordability has improved slightly, but people on lower incomes will continue to struggle

The policy focus remains on home ownership, but a new survey shows slight improvements in affordability do little to help people on low incomes. Their plight calls for better social housing policy.
Floral tributes form a makeshift memorial to Courtney Herron, whose body was found in Royal Park, Melbourne, on Saturday. David Crosling/AAP

Carelessly linking crime to being homeless adds to the harmful stigma

Media coverage often uses the label 'homeless' in ways that link the plight of tens of thousands of Australians to criminality. But a homeless person is much more likely to be vulnerable than violent.
The Northern Territory government is expanding the CCTV surveillance network. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Is China’s social credit system coming to Australia?

Darwin is one of the aspiring 'smart cities' that is adopting Chinese technology that can identify and track individuals. Add changes in Australian law, and we have the makings of a surveillance state.
Bright light does not necessarily make a space feel safer, as seen here where there’s a sharp drop-off into dark shadows at the edge of the path. grafxart/Shutterstock

More lighting alone does not create safer cities. Look at what research with young women tells us

Bright lighting alone does not make a space feel safe. It can blind and disorientate and create dark shadows at the edges. Tellingly, 'unsafe' places had much higher illuminance than 'safe' places.
Scott Morrison talked about first home buyers during the election campaign, but had little to say about social housing. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Is this a housing system that cares? That’s the question for Australians and their new government

The Morrison government, having added a housing minister to its ranks, needs to recognise housing as having more than just economic value. Its impact on our ability to give and receive care is critical.
Tongans gathered in the Sunraysia centre of Mildura to celebrate the Tongan team’s victory over Lebanon in the Rugby League World Cup in November 2017.

The forgotten people in Australia’s regional settlement policy are Pacific Islander residents

A greater focus on the well-established migrant populations and second-generation youth is crucial when planning for the social and economic well-being of rural and regional areas.
Venice is among the cities that have had public protests against soaring numbers of tourists – including this protest banner on the Rialto bridge. Andrea Merola/EPA/AAP

Rethinking tourism so the locals actually benefit from hosting visitors

The future of tourism depends on ensuring visitors do not wear out their welcome. Giving locals more of a say in tourism can help ensure they share in the benefits and minimise the costs.
Sydney CBD is highly accessible and remains clearly the dominant centre in the metropolitan region. Holli/Shutterstock

How close is Sydney to the vision of creating three 30-minute cities?

When a city gets to a certain size, it starts to make sense to have multiple centres of activity, and three are planned for Sydney. So what needs to be done to bring the city closer to this goal?
As one of the fastest-growing cities in the developed world, Melbourne’s suburban sprawl has many costs. Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

Rapid growth is widening Melbourne’s social and economic divide

State and local governments can't do much about the rapid population growth in Melbourne, but they can take steps to reduce the costs of growing disparities between the outer suburbs and inner city.
New housing estates on the city fringes might be soulless, cookie-cutter developments, but communities can invest them with layers of meaning that create a sense of place. Lukas Coch/AAP

How to turn a housing development into a place where people feel they belong

A sense of place matters for people and communities. When a suburb is created from scratch, close attention needs to be paid to the cues from the landscape and meanings people attach to the area.
Landcorp’s WGV residential development in Fremantle is demonstrating the benefits of making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Josh Byrne & Associates

Cutting cities’ emissions does have economic benefits – and these ultimately outweigh the costs

The debate about the transition away from fossil fuels has focused on costs, but right here in Australia we have examples of the benefits of sustainable new energy sources for our cities.
When most inner-city apartment residents don’t use cars to get around, you can expect public transport to feel the impacts of new developments. Eric FIscher/Wikimedia

Crowded trains? Planning focus on cars misses new apartment impacts

Traffic impact assessments required of major building developments mainly focus on the movement of cars, but these account for only 30-40% of trips by inner-city apartment dwellers.
Parks are places where children make their own decisions, explore their imaginations and expand their abilities. Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock

Why suburban parks offer an antidote to helicopter parenting

Parents are more willing to let children do their own thing in parks. It's a chance for children to make their own decisions, explore their abilities and imaginations, and weigh up risks.
Walking accounts for about 90% of all travel in Melbourne city centre, yet pedestrians are allocated only 24% of street space. Adam Calaitzis/Shutterstock

Move away from a car-dominated city looks radical but it’s a sensible plan for a liveable future

A newly released ten-year plan for Melbourne aims for fewer cars, safer streets and more shared spaces. A significant amount of parking and road space would be reallocated to walking and cycling.
Pedestrians walking along Bridge Street to Erskineville station in Sydney could take advantage of an extra southern entrance, as could many people now choosing not to catch the train. Chris Standen, used with permission

How to increase train use by up to 35% with one simple trick

In Sydney, 44 of 178 train stations have a single side entrance. It adds up to 12 minutes of daily travel time for people walking the long way to their platform. It's enough to make some drive instead.
Indonesia plans to relocate its capital from the sprawling city of Jakarta – and it isn’t the only country with plans to build whole new cities. AsiaTravel/Shutterstock

Indonesia isn’t the only country planning new cities. Why not Australia?

Other countries are planning new cities using technological innovation to achieve more sustainable development. Such plans aren't new for Australia, but existing city growth is the focus of attention.
Australia’s new National Construction Code doesn’t go far enough in preparing our built environment for climate change. Sergey Molchenko/Shutterstock

Don’t forget our future climate when tightening up building codes

Fires and building failures highlighted serious gaps in Australian building regulations. But recent revisions and recommendations still fall short of preparing our buildings for climate change.

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