Urban design

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Some materials and surfaces radiate much more heat (red areas) than others, as can be seen in this thermal image of Arncliffe Street in Wolli Creek, Sydney.

Building cool cities for a hot future

Hot spots occur at the scale of where people live – the building, the street, the block – which means urban design and building materials have profound implications for our health and well-being.
The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour. 'It's Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne', Tourism Victoria

Why we should design smart cities for getting lost

If smart cities run on big data and algorithms that channel only 'relevant' information and opinions to us, how do we maintain the diversity of ideas and possibilities that drives truly smart cities?
The size and pace of activity in Tokyo can be overwhelming, but at the human scale the city has an incredibly rich layering of experiences built over generations.

Lessons in living heritage from Tokyo to Adelaide

The concept of living heritage can help us make decisions that go beyond preserving historical facades to protect and add to, rather than freeze, the stories and layers of the past.
City residents are embracing the bike as the fastest, most convenient transport in areas like Brunswick, yet an apartment building has been blocked for not providing car parking. flickr/Takver

Nightingale’s sustainability song falls on deaf ears as car-centric planning rules hold sway

It's up to state governments to ensure urban planning rules properly reflect both the desires of residents in the 21st century and the principles of sustainability.
Australian cities are increasingly building up rather than building out. AAP/Joel Carrett

Speaking with: Hazel Easthope on designing for high density living

Speaking with: Hazel Easthope on high density living and design.
Higher density housing provides unique challenges that make the mix of design, build and social considerations all the more important in creating sustainable and enjoyable living environments.
Prefabricated buildings don’t have to be dull. The challenge will be to get Australians to embrace them. Wendy Miller

Not just daggy dongas: time to embrace prefabricated buildings

Memories of school demountables might cause some people to sneer at prefabricated buildings. But they can be stylish too, not to mention offering a possible way to ease the housing affordability problem.
Now that we have your attention… Image sourced from Shutterstock.com

Forget siestas, ‘green micro-breaks’ could boost work productivity

Everyone know it's good to escape to the great outdoors, but new research shows just 40 seconds with some greenery can boost our ability to concentrate.
An increasing number of apartments being built in Australia’s cities are failing to meet basic requirements. Image sourced from Shutterstock.com

Life in a windowless box: the vertical slums of Melbourne

Standards for apartments are desperately needed in Melbourne where planning laws allow things banned in cities including New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Vancouver.
It’s not always as ostentatious as Dubai, but our coastlines are home to ever-growing numbers of manmade structures. NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Concrete coastlines: it’s time to tackle our marine ‘urban sprawl’

Urban sprawl has spread to the sea, as more and more man-made structures are being built along the world's coastlines. Just as we do on land, we need to think about how to build sustainably at sea.
Santana Row, located in San Jose, California, is one of many Lifestyle Centers cropping up around the country. Parading themselves as a Main Street from a bygone era, these new retail centers hope to recreate what was lost in the rush to cover America with large malls from the 1950s through the 1990s. Santana Row

Lifestyle centers: reinvented communities or dressed-up shopping malls?

Meet the indoor shopping mall's hipper, “New Urbanist” cousin.
To understand public heath, you have to understand how the public lives. Commuters via STH/Shutterstock

To tackle inequalities, build health into all public policies

Many of today’s public health issues – diabetes, cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease – are strongly associated with social inequalities. Literature from across the world shows that gaps in income…
The inner suburbs of Melbourne are surprisingly more leafy than the outer suburbs. Andrew

Fewer trees leave the outer suburbs out in the heat

When you look out of your window in the morning, how many trees do you see? Your answer might depend on what suburb you live in. As you go further from the city centre, the amount of tree cover in a suburb…
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…

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