Informed citizens are essential to support good planning and infrastructure decisions. Marginalising urban planning gets us nowhere.
Urban planners have been blamed for a lot of things, including higher housing costs. But the solution is to refine the process, not sideline the good planning that makes cities safe and liveable.
The original conflict between development and preservation of natural assets is broadening as the risks of climate change become ever more obvious.
Conflicts over coastal areas have largely been between development and preserving what makes these attractive places to live. Rising sea levels are now complicating our relationship with the coast.
A polarising election issue in Western Australia, the Roe 8 project illustrates the need for better and more democratic decision-making.
One reason Perth's Roe 8 project is the subject of passionate protests is that it's a case of a government asserting power over people rather than exercising power with local communities.
The Turnbull government’s focus seems to be largely on infrastructure projects that drive economic growth.
One year on, the Turnbull government is touting the economic benefits of an infrastructure agenda that neglects the other important functions of transport projects.
A quirk in the planning rules enabled the Primaries Warehouse in Fremantle to be redeveloped as a model of progressive higher-density design.
Exceptional projects can emerge when regulations are sensibly relaxed due to context. A Fremantle project is a model of progressive higher-density possibilities resulting from flexible planning rules.
Delhi: in need of clean air and fresh water.
A project in the Western Himalaya has highlighted some valuable lessons for the future.
Upper Coomera is one of those fast-growing fringe suburbs that are hotter because of tightly packed housing with less greenery.
Recently published research has found that the concentration of poorer people in hotter places is a real problem for cities' capacity to cope with climate change.
Place-making: a seasonal beach in Campus Martius Park, Detroit 2014.
Big ideas and big dollars have been invested in making 'memorable' places. Paradoxically, as similar solutions are adapted in diverse settings worldwide, this can lead to an uneasy new placelessness.
The closure of the Myer store would once have been a crippling blow for Fremantle, but now it is a site of new activity and possibilities.
City of Fremantle
The rise in temporary use of urban space requires a looser planning vision that can draw on this new type of city-making to inform longer-term developments.
Melbourne is being transformed by high-rise apartments, with some even being purpose-built for the Airbnb market.
If the sharing economy is here to stay, planners and designers must respond with imagination to spread the positive effects of the tourism economy for the benefit of residents as well as tourists.
Suburban expansion on Perth’s fringe pushes into the SouthWest Ecoregion.
Richard Weller/Donna Broun
If Perth can preserve the rich biodiversity of its setting, it will become a model for sustainable city development that fully connects with the value of natural ecosystem services.
The apartheid government built universities for black students far from major cities or safe routes.
The system of apartheid is long gone. But its legacy of poor funding for historically black universities - and of planning that banished black universities to cities' margins - remains.
How people conceive of their city’s future is important in shaping how the city’s future unfolds.
With foresight, we can steer our cities closer to the future we want instead of the futures we fear.
Opponents of projects are often scorned as NIMBYs, but active citizenship and local consultation are key elements in creating a city that works well for as many people as possible.
Cities are home to many different people who will not always agree. We need to learn to embrace public debate as an ongoing, constructive process for working through diverse views and values.
The Green Growth Plan for Perth represents the first strategic environmental assessment of a whole city in Australia.
With a strategic plan adopted, it not only shows where development should be avoided but clears the way for development in other areas. So Perth needs to get it right.
Khartoum at sunset. The city’s architectural heritage is under threat.
Students at the University of Khartoum are protesting about a secretive plan to move the institution from its historic buildings.
The EVA Lanxmeer development in the Netherlands provides a model for how to incorporate green infrastructure in all aspects of the planning process.
Green infrastructure can be delivered relatively easily using existing planning processes. The main obstacle could be psychological: planners are wary of disruption to embedded practices.
Zaha Hadid’s ongoing Australian projects and draft designs will attract plenty of attention in the future.
London Aquatics Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid. Artur Salisz
Celebrated architect Zaha Hadid, who died last week, had three projects on the go in Australia. Will there be a surge of interest in her work - as has happened to other architects who have died prematurely?
One of the architects of 443 Queen Street says: ‘The Queenslander – elevated on stilts and open to natural ventilation – was an inspiration for the tower’.
Landmarks identify and define cities. Town-planning instruments should protect these landmarks from new development that does not respect the setting.
The shimmer of a heat mirage shows how a hard road surface increases urban temperatures by radiating heat into the air.
Wikimedia Commons/Brocken Inaglory
It seems like a 'no brainer' to use urban greening to help cities adapt to increasing heat, but the uptake of green infrastructure, such as trees and vegetated roofs, surfaces and walls, is slow. Why?