Articles on Cities & Policy

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Victorians who opposed the East West Link before the November 2014 election would have felt not much had changed when the new government announced the West Gate Tunnel in March 2015. Courtney Biggs/AAP

Sidelining citizens when deciding on transport projects is asking for trouble

Transport infrastructure has such an impact on what kind of city we become that more democratic planning is long overdue. But public consultation is typically limited and focused on design issues.
In both Indian and Australian cities, cyclists who deliver goods and services have to take it slow. Malini Sur

Slow cycling isn’t just for fun – it’s essential for many city workers

Cycling is a low-cost and non-polluting way to make deliveries in congested cities. Slow cyclists should be recognised as good for the economy and environment, not treated like second-class citizens.
Benjamen Gussen’s proposal for a ‘charter city’ in the Pilbara stimulated this imaginary depiction. Justin Bolleter

New cities? It’s an idea worth thinking about for Australia

Business-as-usual projections assume our four biggest cities must absorb three-quarters of Australia's population growth over the next 30 years. Might new cities be a better way to deal with it?
The argument that stronger supply will deliver more affordable housing isn’t borne out in areas where new unit and apartment construction is booming. Joel Carrett/AAP

Affordable housing policy failure still being fuelled by flawed analysis

The clichés about housing supply and regulatory restraints are distractions from the need to focus on expanding the affordable housing sector to directly meet the needs of low-income households.
The IPCC’s first cities conference revealed the challenges in bridging the gaps between scientific knowledge and policy practice, and between cities in developed and developing nations. Cities IPCC/Twitter

IPCC cities conference tackles gaps between science and climate action on the ground

The first IPCC conference on cities has highlighted the challenges of reconciling science, urban practices and politics. But it was an important recognition of cities' leading role in climate action.
The Hawkesbury’s waters look beautifully natural but treated sewage makes up to 20% of the river flow where the North Richmond Filtration Plant draws its water. Karl Baron/flickr

More of us are drinking recycled sewage water than most people realise

Perth is looking at recycling all its sewage in the city's future water supply. But many Australians' drinking water already contains indirectly recycled treated sewage.
Ruth and Maurie Crow with a plan of their linear city. Image courtesy of SEARCH Foundation

There’s more to the compact city than getting dense

Ruth and Maurie Crow were early advocates of the compact city. They also warned 50 years ago that a clear justice intent was needed to shape cities for their citizens rather than vested interests.
When an ageing person is forced to move out of their family home, that can trigger a host of problems that policy is doing little to prevent. Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

For Australians to have the choice of growing old at home, here is what needs to change

Millions of older Australians live in houses that don't safely meet their needs, but they're not ready for a nursing home. Lack of suitable housing and the moving costs leave them with nowhere to go.
The old pathways to home ownership have been displaced by more uncertain routes that waver between owning and renting. Glenn Hunt/AAP

Home ownership foundations are being shaken, and the impacts will be felt far and wide

Increasingly insecure pathways to home ownership are not just a problem for property markets. The fallout is likely to hit retirement incomes, the welfare base, gender equity and the broader economy.
In the past, house building matched high immigration. Construction has increased, particularly in Sydney, but needs to make up the backlog of a decade of undersupply. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

How migration affects housing affordability

Australian governments are faced with a choice: make the difficult decisions to fix planning systems so more houses can be built, or tap the brakes on Australia's migrant intake.
The morning traffic builds up on the Tasman Highway at Montagu Bay. Congestion has become a hot issue for Hobart residents. Wiki ian/Wikipedia

Growth pains and gridlock come to Hobart, and building more roads is not the best way out

Hobart is a smaller city with big city problems that have become an election issue. Recent growth is creating traffic congestion that affects productivity, residents' health and liveability.
The Urban Planning Exhibition Centre in Shanghai – good planning is immensely valuable. Jordiferrer/Wikimedia Commons

Australian cities are crying out for better planning, but the research funding is missing

Given the challenges Australian cities face, the need for urban planning based on solid research is greater than ever. Sadly, when it comes to research funding, planning is at the back of the queue.
What does a green star rating – One Central Park apartments in Sydney received five stars, for instance – actually mean? AAP

Greenwashing the property market: why ‘green star’ ratings don’t guarantee more sustainable buildings

Buildings are central to creating more sustainable cities, and green ratings are often used to assess how well a building measures up against this goal. But the current system has serious flaws.

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