Articles on Cities & Policy

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Dongguan Street in Dalian reflects both Chinese and colonial history, prompting increasing debate about how to manage this contested heritage.

China wrestles with contested heritage of conflict and colonial rule

The West, Russia and Japan all left their marks on China today. Urbanisation too is usurping the old China. This long, mixed heritage and what should be done with it remains contested.
Uninviting, car-dominated streets, like this one in Melbourne, reduce our experience menu by discouraging beneficial activities like walking and sharing places with other people. Daniel Bowen/Flickr

Is your ‘experience diet’ making you unwell?

If the menu of potential activities that do us good is made to look uninviting or challenging, we are more likely to choose the easier but less healthy option.
The vast amounts of data from more than 650 Earth observation satellites are transforming how we see and shape urban landscapes. Pitney Bowes Australia courtesy PSMA

Digital Earth: the paradigm now shaping our world’s data cities

The huge volume and high quality of data streaming down from Earth observation satellites are transforming how we see and shape our cities.
Residents of slums like Kamla Nehru Nagar, a kilometre away from Patna Junction, have yet to share in the promised benefits of smart cities. Sujeet Kumar

Indians promised benefits of 100 smart cities, but the poor are sidelined again

Indians were promised they would be included in planning 100 smart cities and that everyone would benefit. But many of the millions of slum residents have had no say in their homes being destroyed.
This playable tram generates different musical compositions at different speeds when viewed through a smartphone camera using an augmented reality app. James H.H. Morgan

Take the tram into a more playable city

Melbourne has its first playable art tram – a 32.5-metre-long musical score played via augmented reality. So what's the idea of playable trams and playable cities really about?
Old mine sites suffer many fates, which range from simply being abandoned to being incorporated into towns or turned into an open-air museum in the case of Gwalia, Western Australia.

Afterlife of the mine: lessons in how towns remake challenging sites

The industrial patterns of mining shaped many Australian towns, which found varied uses for disused mine sites. The mining boom ensures the challenges these sites present will be with us a long time.
Australia’s sprawling cities present many challenges to sustainability, but planning innovations can help achieve at least half of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

Our cities fall short on sustainability, but planning innovations offer local solutions

Planning innovations around the world offer inspiration, but ultimately the innovations needed to make Australia's sprawling cities more sustainable must be shaped by local conditions.
Cairns has lots of hard grey infrastructure but much less green infrastructure that would reduce the impacts of the city’s growth. Karine Dupré

Cities can grow without wrecking reefs and oceans. Here’s how

Urbanisation is the main reason for rising temperatures and water pollution, but receives little attention in discussions about the health of water streams, reefs and oceans.
Grey nomads are champions of a radical type of portable urbanism as they travel to far-flung places like Lake Ballard in Western Australia. Image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Grey nomad lifestyle provides a model for living remotely

Grey nomads travel Australia because they have the desire and the means to do so. Could future generations end up following in their footsteps because they can no longer work and stay in one place?
Cities are the laboratories where the tech giants are exploring urban innovations. ShutterOK/Shutterstock

Are the tech giants taking over as your city leaders?

Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Airbnb and Tesla are redefining key aspects of daily life such as work, mobility and leisure, using our cities as laboratories for their innovations.
CRRC’s version of the optically guided bus, now operating in Zhuzhou, is more like light rail than its predecessors. CRRC

Looking past the hype about ‘trackless trams’

The autonomous rail rapid transit (ART) system developed in China might make buses sexy, but the technology alone won't resolve the issues of road space and right of way in Australia.
Flooding in Sydney last week was the latest example of Australian cities’ lack of resilience to a more extreme climate. Dean Lewins/AAP

Design for flooding: how cities can make room for water

Australia's coastal settlements are highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. Climate-resilient urban landscapes that can cope with large amounts of water need to become the new normal.
Brisbane’s South Bank parkland isn’t exactly getting out in the wild, but experiences of urban nature are important for building people’s connection to all living things. Anne Cleary

Why daily doses of nature in the city matter for people and the planet

Moves to connect people with nature for both the conservation and health benefits point to the need for people to experience nature as they find it in the city, rather than only out in natural areas.
A Townsville City Deal was signed two years ago and the city is now one of Queensland’s ten leaders on smart city performance. Lukas Coch/AAP

Just how ‘city smart’ are local governments in Queensland?

How smart are our cities now? In Queensland, a study of all 78 local government areas reveals major gaps between the ten leading the way in becoming smart cities and the rest of the state.

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