Articles on Urban planning

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Predicting the growth of a city

Is there a universal law that can accurately predict the seemingly random growth of a city? Patterns in urban migration are…
A ‘ghost bike’ at notorious Bow flyover in East London. Dominic Lipinski/PA

There are solutions to these needless cyclist deaths

It has been a grim month for cycling in London. Just days ago newspapers wrote of five deaths in nine days, and barely is the ink dry before yet another death this morning makes six in under two weeks…
Sometimes the best plans aren’t enough. Ben Birchall/PA

Overhaul the planning system to boost building of better homes

As a planning academic you might think that I get heavily involved in the planning system – commenting on draft development plans, or objecting to proposed developments – but actually I tend to steer clear…
We should worry less about emissions and more about getting people out of harm’s way. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Climate change and bushfires - you’re missing the point!

Climate change has yet again been blamed for another natural disaster, this time the recent bushfires in NSW. But much more important is the role of poor land-use planning decisions that are increasing…
Planning law could do much more to prevent us living in bushfire-prone areas. Brian Yap

Living with fire: deciding where to build

With an early, devastating start to the bushfire season in New South Wales and Queensland, recent disasters in Victoria and Tasmania, and projections that current trends will continue under climate change…
Things could be looking up for urban planning if Greg Hunt has his way. Michelle Robinson

The new government has a plan for Australia’s cities

The new Coalition Government has been elected with a mandate to reduce the national debt and make Australia “open for business”. Does this mean fixing Australia’s cities will be left to market forces…
Beautiful – but most greenbelt is on private land. Barry Batchelor/PA

Greenbelt myth is the driving force behind housing crisis

What a strange place the UK is - when the most important thing Britons spend money on becomes even less affordable, it’s received as good news. Because that is what “confidence returns to the housing market…
Private land disguised as public space. Even London’s City Hall is rented back from the private sector. Toby Melville/PA

The privatisation of public space

When a public utility is acquired by a private equity firm, there is no doubt what kind of process is underway. The take-over of provision of services and, by extension, ability to profit from them is…
The Spirit of Detroit may yet rise again. Dave Sizer/Flickr

Bankruptcy is not the end, but the beginning for Detroit

On the surface it appears that the City of Detroit is facing a hopeless future. A closer look suggests that the picture is not so bleak. The alarm has been raised by the State of Michigan placing the city…
Wrexham, like this driver, is ill-prepared for floods and other climate change-related problems. Matt Price/Flickr

How ready for climate change is your town or city?

More than half the world’s population now lives in cities or urban areas, which means our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change is tied up with cities’ ability to cope. Responsible for more than…
The high street: here today, gone tomorrow. Andrew Matthews/PA

The high street is not dead, just sleeping

A bonfire of red tape that would “revitalise our high streets” - that’s what planning minister Nick Boles has promised. This might have been drawn from Mary Portas’s 2011 report on the future of the high…
TGV POS, the world’s fastest train - but high speed rail won’t bring prosperity to the regions as quickly. bigbug21/Wikipedia

HS2 alone won’t address the north-south divide

A commitment to building a new wave of high-speed rail networks has emerged, such as HS2 in Britain. But given how costly they are, their wider impact has been under-investigated. It is little wonder that…
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…
Passau, Germany under record flood waters. But who will pay for the clean up? Steve Parsons/PA

Governments shirk their responsibilities in the name of ‘resilience’

The 21st century appears to be one riven by shocks - whether terrorist, financial or climatic. In the aftermath, institutions, people, and societies more generally are frequently encouraged to be more…
There’s a bright future for the inner suburbs. It’s just common sense that inner city living is more sustainable. Flickr/Gary Denness

Let’s settle this: inner city living is more sustainable

There’s plenty of debate over the future of sustainable urban planning. Is it outer suburban sprawl that’s unsustainable, or is it high-density inner city living that’s at fault? Brendan Gleeson recently…
China’s fast-track urbanisation doesn’t have to be unsustainable. Flickr/dcmaster

China’s cities get eco-smart, what can Australia learn?

China is urbanising faster than any other country in history. It now has 120 cities with over one million people and 36 cities with over two million. By 2030 there will be one billion people living in…

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