Articles on Urban planning

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Lots of parking: the extraordinary amount of valuable land used to park cars in most cities could soon be freed up for other uses. Antonio Gravante/Shutterstock

Freeing up the huge areas set aside for parking can transform our cities

Cities around the world are starting to rethink the vast areas of land set aside for parking. The convergence of several trends likely will mean this space becomes available for other uses.
Without medium-density housing being built in the established suburbs – the ‘missing middle’ – the goals of more compact, sustainable and equitable cities won’t be achieved. zstock/shutterstock

Becoming more urban: attitudes to medium-density living are changing in Sydney and Melbourne

Residents of established middle suburbs are slowly coming round to the idea, but governments and the property sector lack the capacity to deliver compact cities that are acceptable to the community.
Having to own multiple cars comes at a cost to the finances and health of residents in the sprawling outer suburbs. David Crosling/AAP

Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth

One of the most effective ways to reduce health inequalities across Australia is to design neighbourhoods that free residents from having to rely on cars for transport.
While parts of Australian capital cities are highly liveable, access to the features that underpin liveability is highly unequal. kittis/shutterstock

This is what our cities need to do to be truly liveable for all

The challenge of creating liveable communities across Australia's capital cities comes down to seven key factors. And assessed on this basis, parts of our cities don't fare so well.
Staying physically active can play a big part in ageing well – and a well-designed neighbourhood helps with that. Maylat/shutterstock

Eight simple changes to our neighbourhoods can help us age well

Our ageing population presents several social and economic challenges, particularly for the health sector. Physical activity can tackle many of these.
The first autonomous vehicles are already upon us, but once their use becomes widespread they will change cities as surely as the original cars did. AAP/nuTonomy

Driverless vehicles could bring out the best – or worst – in our cities by transforming land use

It's clear autonomous vehicles will disrupt our cities, their land use and planning. Whether they make urban life better or worse depends on how well we anticipate and adapt to their impacts.
The city of Vancouver is set among a beautiful background, but the scenic wonder masks other problems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver’s urban conundrum: Let’s design better cities

Vancouver may be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but the president of Emily Carr University says the city could benefit from the discipline of design.
Perth has long had many fine parks but is losing vegetation cover in a band of increasingly dense development across the city. Ruben Schade/flickr

We’re investing heavily in urban greening, so how are our cities doing?

A new study shows major Australian cities are suffering an overall loss of green space – although some areas are doing better than others.
A woman takes an oral cholera vaccine in a hospital. But cholera vaccines are not always effective and never long lasting. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

What’s driving multiple outbreaks of cholera in Nigeria

Many states in Nigeria are reeling from cholera outbreaks. They need better health and sanitation infrastructure to disrupt transmission of the bacteria which cause the disease.
An outstanding example of sustainable residential building, Breathe Architecture’s The Commons apartments in Melbourne won a 2014 National Architecture Award. Image courtesy of Australian Institute of Architects

Sustainable cities? Australia’s building and planning rules stand in the way of getting there

New South Wales is the only state that has made meaningful progress on legislation and enforcement of standards capable of creating a sustainable built environment.
A tiny house in the backyard appeals to some as a solution that offers both affordability and sustainability. Think Out Loud/flick

Interest in tiny houses is growing, so who wants them and why?

New research has found a marked increase in people, particularly among women over 50, who are building or want to build a tiny house. However, inflexible planning rules often stand in their way.
Crews work to restore power and traffic lights knocked out by Hurricane Matthew, Oct. 8, 2016, in Flagler Beach, Florida. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Rebuilding after disasters: 5 essential reads

As Texas and Florida rebuild after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, they should plan for future climate change and design infrastructure that can respond to and recover from extreme events.
At first glance, old industrial sites, like this one in Carrington Street, don’t look like much. But they provide vital spaces for creative precincts to flourish. Paul Jones

Can our cities’ thriving creative precincts be saved from ‘renewal’?

A new project documents who uses urban industrial lands slated for redevelopment. It reveals a vibrant but largely hidden sector at the interface between creative industries and small manufacturing.
Much of what is being built is straightforward ‘investor grade product’ – flats built to attract the burgeoning investment market. Bill Randolph

Why investor-driven urban density is inevitably linked to disadvantage

The inexorable logic of the market will create suburban concentrations of lower-income households on a scale hitherto only experienced in the legacy inner-city high-rise public housing estates.

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