Articles on Urban planning

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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…
Urban expansion is driving people further out, and it’s unsustainable. www.shutterstock.com

The grass isn’t greener in the outer ‘burbs

For a long a time real estate close to the palace was socially desirable, and anyone with aspirations didn’t want to know about the rest. Today in Melbourne inner-city people are embarrassed to reveal…
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…
Planning new developments for sustainability should reflect the evidence. Fernando de Sousa

Good intentions not enough: do your sums on urban sustainability

It is not surprising that there is plenty of debate about making urban development more sustainable. However, like much of the debate on sustainability in general, there is little or no attempt to define…
Urban development in coastal Australia brings people closer to mosquito habitats while often also creating new wetlands. Webb, Medical Entomology

Using urban planning to reduce mosquito-borne disease

There are many ways to prevent mosquito-borne diseases – insecticides to kill mosquitoes, vaccines to prevent infection and healthy doses of insect repellent before heading off for fishing trips. But while…
London bike share has proved more successful than schemes in Australia, but focusing on infrastructure could help improve sharing here. cat1788/Flickr

Fixing Australian bike share goes beyond helmet laws

Bike share programs in Melbourne and Brisbane were much heralded by the governments that installed them. But they’ve proved far less popular than schemes overseas. Is Australian bike share doomed? Since…
Overshadowed by private interests: Barangaroo’s current design essentially privatises the shoreline. AAP/Supplied

Barangaroo: Development interests counter the public interest

In 2006, Philip Thalis was part of the team which won an international design competition to revitalise Barangaroo. Three years later, the government abandoned their approved plan, opting instead for a…
Dealing with the law is intimidating, now Queensland wants to make it more expensive as well. Martin Howard

Scales of justice tipping against the community in Queensland

The cost of litigation is a barbed wire fence that stops many people using our court system. This fence becomes a towering barrier when people are trying to protect not their private interests, but something…
Australian cities spread and spread; if new suburbs are to succeed, they need flexibility. Peter Mares

Tomorrow’s suburbs: building flexible neighbourhoods

Australian cities are growing fast – and fastest at the fringe. Streets, houses, parks and shops are appearing where recently all was paddocks and cows. A new house is completed in an urban growth area…
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…
It’s a nice place for a house, but where will you put the strawberry farm? Chip_2904/Flickr

Will Sydney or Melbourne have more hungry people in 2036?

The Victorian Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, recently announced an urban expansion for Melbourne: 5,958 hectares of new suburbs and transport corridors. But he didn’t mention the implicit costs of changing…

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