Articles on Cities & Policy

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Soaring heating costs mean many vulnerable Australians endure cold houses and the associated risks to their health. Paul Vasarhelyi from www.shutterstock.com

Forget heatwaves, our cold houses are much more likely to kill us

The idea of a hot and sunny land is so baked into our thinking about Australia that we've failed to design and build houses that protect us from the cold.
At first glance, old industrial sites, like this one in Carrington Street, don’t look like much. But they provide vital spaces for creative precincts to flourish. Paul Jones

Can our cities’ thriving creative precincts be saved from ‘renewal’?

A new project documents who uses urban industrial lands slated for redevelopment. It reveals a vibrant but largely hidden sector at the interface between creative industries and small manufacturing.
‘Build to rent’ means developers build housing with the intent of retaining the building and renting it out to lower-income families. shutterstock

‘Build to rent’ could be the missing piece of the affordable housing puzzle

A modest rebalancing of federal tax policy toward build-to-rent housing could fill affordable housing funding gaps. Australian funds are already investing in such a scheme in the US.
Generic plotting of ‘green space’ on an urban plan does not target mental wellbeing unless it is designed to engage us with the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Zoe Myers

Green for wellbeing – science tells us how to design urban spaces that heal us

Successful parks and urban green spaces encourage us to linger, to rest, to walk for longer. That, in turn, provides the time to maximise the restorative mental benefits.
Green space, easily accessible to everyone no matter what their income, should be a priority in designing high-density residential areas. Marcus Jaaske from www.shutterstock.com

What’s equity got to do with health in a higher-density city?

Being crowded into poor-quality high-density units harms residents' health, but design features that are known to promote wellbeing can make a big difference to the lives of low-income households.
Much of what is being built is straightforward ‘investor grade product’ – flats built to attract the burgeoning investment market. Bill Randolph

Why investor-driven urban density is inevitably linked to disadvantage

The inexorable logic of the market will create suburban concentrations of lower-income households on a scale hitherto only experienced in the legacy inner-city high-rise public housing estates.
Adelaide’s aims in becoming a smart city include better traffic flows and highly co-ordinated transport networks. moisseyev/iStock by Getty Images

Lessons from Adelaide in how a smart city can work to benefit everyone

Smart city thinking makes good use of rapidly developing technology to help make cities work better, easier-to-navigate, safer, healthier and more enjoyable places to live.
The relationship between drivers and cyclists is highly unequal, both physically and culturally. Photographee.eu from www.shutterstock.com

Cars, bicycles and the fatal myth of equal reciprocity

The primacy given to the car has shaped our cities, the roads that serve them and our very thinking about the place of driving in our lives. And it's a mindset that leaves cyclists highly vulnerable.
While state investment decreases on average with distance from the CBD, Melbourne’s neediest suburbs aren’t forgotten. ymgerman from www.shutterstock.com

Melbourne shows up Sydney in funding the most disadvantaged suburbs

The neediest suburbs get a much poorer deal in Sydney than in Melbourne. A new study provides a suburb-by-suburb breakdown of state investment, including what facilities and services have been funded.
Celebrity cows: Southern Girl and Iceberg enjoy a ‘hay cocktail’ at the Commodore Hotel in New York. Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, contact for re-use

Cows in Antarctica? How one expedition milked them for all their worth

What would possess an Antarctic expedition to take dairy cows to the icy continent? Back in 1933, Admiral Byrd did so for reasons of image-making, publicity and territorial ambition.

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