Articles on Urban life

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Community murals can rekindle an area’s shared memories and sense of identity. Photo: Martin Purcell. Reproduced with permission

How murals helped turn a declining community around

Over the past 15 years, community groups in a rundown inner-city district have created public murals as part of a successful process of reversing decades of stagnation.
People have camped in the long grass since colonisation. From this perspective, bans on the practice are a denial of Indigenous agency, culture and rights to country. Photo: K. Pollard

Contested spaces: the ‘long-grassers’, living private lives in public places

In contrast to perceptions of other homeless people sleeping rough, Darwin's "long-grassers" are applying a long cultural tradition to deal with the situation in which they find themselves.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signs legislation lowering the default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour, Oct. 27, 2014. NYC Department of Transportation/Flickr

Urban nation: What’s at stake for cities in the 2016 elections

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have painted starkly different views of U.S. cities during the campaign. Will the next president deliver the funding and political support mayors are seeking?
More than cluster of people and buildings, urbanity is a concentration of encounters and connections. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’

We're still in the early days of understanding how cities work. But we do know that creative, healthy and productive cities have certain things in common – and it's all to do with their 'urban DMA'.
Chilean-German DJ Matias Aguayo performing at Kitchener’s Bar in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Charles Leonard

Jo'burg by night: A time for dreamers, graffiti artists, lovers and dancers

Scholars of urban studies are acknowledging that the discipline is characterised by a fear of the dark and the night. But artists are giving us a creative language to engage with the darkness.
A colorized 1937 photograph of a shantytown on the outskirts of Seattle. photoretrofit/Reddit

In Rio’s bulldozed favelas, echoes of America’s shantytowns

Like Brazil's favela dwellers, America's working poor felt a sense of pride and community in their shantytowns – and desperately resisted the powerful interests that sought to demolish them.
Melbourne is powered by the coal-fired stations of Gippsland, which illustrates the problems with any urban strategy that neglects regional roles and interests. AAP/Julian Smith

‘The urban’: a concept under stress in an interconnected world

City-centric thinking arguably obscures connections between 'humans' and 'nature', and 'urban' and 'rural' or 'wild'. Growing evidence of the depths of these links is testing the concept of 'urban'.
Much of the ‘smart cities’ rhetoric is dominated by the economic, with little reference to the natural world and its plight. Ase from www.shutterstock.com

Taking the city’s pulse: we need to link urban vitality back to the planet

The rhetoric of 'smart cities' is dominated by the economic, with little reference to the natural world and its plight. Truly smart and resilient cities need to be more in tune with the planet.
Jane Jacobs holds up documentary evidence at a 1961 press conference during the campaign to save the West Village. Wikimedia Commons

What might Jane Jacobs say about smart cities?

In an age of data-driven urban science, we need to remember how Jane Jacobs gave voice to the multiple languages, meanings, experiences and knowledge systems of a vibrant city.
Streetlife density in Florence – urban buzz or overcrowding? Kim Dovey

Urban density matters – but what does it mean?

One person's high density may be another's sprawl; the same tall building may be experienced as oppressive or exhilarating; a "good crowd" for one can be "overcrowded" for another.

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