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Analysis and Comment (21)

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, offers an idea of how pleasant and practical the Velotopian dream of a bike-friendly city might be. AAP/Visit Denmark

Utopia: seriously, good urban planning should aspire to it

The Australian television satire Utopia invited the public along for a laugh that architects and planners have been sharing for decades. We laugh at the idea of utopia to disassociate ourselves from the…
How one half lives: Villa Bajo Flores in Buenos Aires. Roy Maconachie

Gated communities lock cities into cycles of inequality

In recent years, many films have portrayed the landscape of urban marginality and inequality in Latin America. Brazil Central Station and City of God were both popular, but few can rival the Mexican thriller…
Landscape architects need to mediate between the soft and hard elements of the city. Forecast, photo by John Gollings

Future forecasting: landscape architects might save the world

I predict we’re going to hear a lot more from landscape architects in the coming years. There has long been a misunderstanding about what they actually do – “something about gardens” being a common response…
Immigrant faces from the early 1900s watch Ellis Island visitors pick their way through a crumbling hospital. Aimee VonBokel

Artists' installations raise questions about abandoned buildings

This fall, French street artist JR and American cinematographer Bradford Young each installed a series of portraits in crumbling New York buildings. The two projects were not coordinated, but together…
When it gets hot in the city, where’s the best place to go? Alpha/Flickr

Smart urban design could save lives in future heatwaves

Heatwaves — Australia’s biggest natural killers — are getting more frequent and hotter thanks to climate change. One day cities such as Melbourne may see unprecedented heat, perhaps 48C or higher. But…
Six-star green projects like Melbourne’s Pixel Building are largely confined to Australia’s city centres. Supplied

Green building revolution? Only in high-end new CBD offices

Australia is allegedly in the midst of a “green building revolution”, powered by the awarding of ratings to developers who build sustainable buildings. But this brave new world is only a reality in the…
Green and gone: Perth’s Burswood Park Golf Course is about to make way for a football and casino complex. Moondyne/Wikimedia Commons

Our cities need more trees and water, not less, to stay liveable

Australia’s major cities routinely rank among the world’s most liveable. But for all our clean streets, good healthcare and educational opportunities, one of the things we have to contend with is our sweltering…
The Field Day music festival, held annually in The Domain in Sydney, is among a growing number of private or ticketed events held in public parks. jo3hug

Private events help fund public parks, but there’s a cost too

Privatisation of the public realm is increasingly seen by governments as a relatively painless user-pays way of addressing their budget problems and parks have not escaped the trend. Public spaces such…
It’s a jungle out there. Flickr/Janitors

Could Australia build a New York Highline?

The celebrated New York Highline is one of the world’s urban redesign success stories. Formerly an abandoned railway, it is now an elevated park running past, over and through the buildings of Manhattan…
Our cities may be booming, but what about our regions and suburbs? Flickr/Takver

A more sustainable Australia: from suburbia to newburbia

A more sustainable Australia. As the 2013 election campaign continues, we’ve asked academics to look at some of the long-term issues affecting Australia – the issues that will shape our future. Australia’s…
The urban civilisation drawn to cities innovates and enriches. Even in Melbourne. melburnian/Flickr

In search of a formula with which to build better cities

When Isaac Newton produced his Laws of Motion in 1687, it led to speculation that his new gravitational force could explain the social forces between people. Thinkers put forward various arguments for…
Britain’s woeful road infrastructure for cyclists is dragging us down. Tim Ireland/PA

Who put the brakes on cycling in Britain?

Making a city more bicycle-friendly is not simply a matter of painting a few lines and installing parking spaces. It requires cities to work with cyclists as participants in redesigning the city. Ensuring…
In modern cities, the ratio of “landscape” to “hardscape” is all out of whack. Roger Gordon

Is there room for nature in our cities?

Welcome to the CBD. Take a look at all the glass masonry and asphalt. The streets are canyons. Apart from a tree in the footpath, or a Peregrine Falcon way overhead, there’s little nature to be seen. Nature…
We are all now used to an international standard of cooling comfort: 22 degrees celsius. bondidwhat/Flickr

Air conditioning: we need to talk about indoor climate change

For the past few weeks, billboard posters across Doha have promoted the International Climate talks with the < 2°C logo - a reference to the ambition of maintaining average global temperatures less…
Even Los Angelenos are taking the train. Thomas Hawk

All aboard: the growth of global rail and our future cities

There is a major rail revival around the world, including light rail, metro rail, heavy rail, and high speed rail. At the same time car use has peaked and is in decline in most cities. However transport…
Recycling is all very well, but how do we stop producing waste in the first place? Yoav Lerman

For a truly sustainable world, we need zero waste cities

The current state of worldwide urban development is depressing. We are not moving towards environmentally sustainable design and reduced consumption quickly enough. There have been dire warnings about…
Suburban development makes new homes for humans, but leaves koalas with nowhere to go. Darryl Jones

Koala Cul-de-sac? Development a dead end for wildlife

It’s obviously feel-good, family-friendly marketing, but the brutal reality is those “Sugar Glider Road”, “Wallaby Close” and “Fairy Wren Circuit” street signs are almost certainly memorials for absent…
From the workplace to the workhome: architectural design should evolve to reflect the growing number of people taking part in home-based work. seier + seier

Home is where the work is: the case for an urban design revolution

Welcome to the Future of Work, a series from The Conversation that looks at the ongoing evolution of the workplace. Today, London Metropolitan University’s Frances Holliss looks at the growth of home-based…
Obesity can be seen as a carbon store on our waistlines originally sourced from coal mines and oil wells. Bobcatnorth/Flickr

Putting health at the heart of sustainability policy

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Today Anthony…

Research Briefs (2)