Articles on Cities & Policy

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With the tensile strength of steel but six times lighter, bamboo can be used for ambitious buildings once it has been treated to ensure its durability. Courtesy of Green School Bali

Bamboo architecture: Bali’s Green School inspires a global renaissance

Bamboo has been used since ancient times for building, but only in recent decades has pioneering work in Bali inspired its wider use for substantial and enduring structures.
If more of us were free to work from home, fewer of us would be stuck in traffic. Daria Chichkareva, fkigali/Shutterstock

Flexible working, the neglected congestion-busting solution for our cities

Two-thirds of surveyed workers work from home one day a week on average, but could do at least half their work out of the workplace. If they commuted less often, congestion could be greatly reduced.
Increasing heat in Sydney and other Australian cities highlights the urgent need to apply our knowledge of how to create liveable low-carbon cities. Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock

We have the blueprint for liveable, low-carbon cities. We just need to use it

The research has been done. The evidence is in. We know how to create cities that are sustainable, liveable and affordable. But we have yet to apply that knowledge widely across Australian cities.
The crisis of confidence in the safety and soundness of new apartment buildings won’t end without a decisive response from federal, state and territory governments. David Crosling/AAP

Would you buy a new apartment? Building confidence depends on ending the blame game

Unsafe apartments are being evacuated as confidence plummets – even the author of a report commissioned by building ministers wouldn't buy a new apartment. What will it take for governments to act?
Public opposition to plans for an Apple store was the trigger for the nomination of Federation Square for heritage listing, but it still had to meet the criteria. Andi Yu/AAP

How can a 17-year-old place gain heritage status? What this means for Melbourne’s Fed Square

A youthful Fed Square satisfied five criteria to be added to the Victorian Heritage Register. The listing protects the square as a public place, but doesn't prevent its continuing evolution.
Increasing numbers of older Australians face a harder time paying the bills when they retire because they’ll still be paying off a mortgage or renting a home. Art_Photo/Shutterstock

Fall in ageing Australians’ home-ownership rates looms as seismic shock for housing policy

People over 65 who still have a mortgage or are renting are projected to double in number by 2031. The trend is likely to hit government budgets and leave more retirees in poverty.
Show Works, based in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, makes dance floors, dance equipment and theatre scenery. Andrew Warren, used with permission

Three ways to fix the problems caused by rezoning inner-city industrial land for mixed-use apartments

Rezoning to mixed-use residential development drove small manufacturers and creative producers out of the inner city. The result is less diversity of land uses, jobs and services where we most want it.
The government intends to destroy Djab Wurrung sacred trees and sites to upgrade the Western Highway at the same time as it seeks heritage status for the Eastern Freeway. Allies Decolonising/gofundme

What kind of state values a freeway’s heritage above the heritage of our oldest living culture?

The Victorian government plans to destroy trees and sites sacred to Djab Warrung people to make way for the Western Highway at the same time as it seeks heritage listing for the Eastern Freeway.
Shared houses work well for 82% of people living in them in their early 20s, but only 25% see this as a long-term option. Earlyspatz/Wikimedia

First home buyer schemes aren’t enough to meet young adults’ housing aspirations

The housing aspirations of young Australians change as they enter their late 20s and early 30s. But having somewhere safe and secure to call home is the top priority for all young adults.
Fortitude Valley is unique in Australia for its concentration of live music venues, like The Valley Drive In, in one small neighbourhood. The Valley Drive In/Facebook

Tighter alcohol licensing hasn’t killed live music, but it’s harder for emerging artists

The good news is that the growth of live music continued under Queensland's liquor licensing reforms. The bad news is that venues rely on late-night alcohol sales to cover costs.
For young women in Queensland, the risk of unwanted sexual attention is high when they go out at night. vchalShutterstock

Unwanted sexual attention plagues young women going out at night

Rates of unwelcome advances haven't changed under Queensland's 'Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence' policies. In one entertainment district, it happened to 26% of women the night they were interviewed.
Queenslanders are drinking heavily when they go out and breathalyser tests show most don’t realise how drunk they are.

Queenslanders are among our heaviest drinkers on nights out, and changing that culture is a challenge

Even after 'Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence' policies took effect in 2016, Queenslanders still drink more heavily on nights out. Reported levels of aggression are higher than in other states too.
Public alarm at alcohol-related violence led the Queensland government to change liquor licensing laws in 2016. The results of a two-year evaluation are now in. Qld Police/AAP

Lessons from Queensland on alcohol, violence and the night-time economy

A comprehensive two-year evaluation of statewide measures introduced in 2016 has shown it's possible to reduce alcohol-related violence while also producing economic benefits.
Urban greening is just one aspect of the transformation required to ensure our future cities are sustainable, liveable places. Matt Leane/Shutterstock

If we want liveable cities in 2060 we’ll have to work together to transform urban systems

Future Earth Australia is working to create a long-term national plan of transformation for our cities. As part of this, everyone in Australia is invited to have their say in a survey.
When neighbourhoods lose their corner stores, they also lose a place where people meet and feel like part of their local community. Susan Fitzgerald/Flickr

More than milk and bread: corner store revival can rebuild neighbourhood ties

As neighbourhoods lost their milk bars, they also lost a daily point of connection for locals. But all is not lost. In some areas, the humble corner store is making a comeback.
Older Australians aspire to the security of owning their own home, but prefer smaller houses in their later years. yopinco/Shutterstock

What sort of housing do older Australians want and where do they want to live?

Most older Australians want to live in a home they own, preferably in the middle and outer suburbs of a city. But increasing numbers look unlikely to realise their housing aspirations.
The Bangladesh government wants Karail, an established community of 200,000 people in the capital Dhaka, to make way for development. Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World/flickr

What sort of ‘development’ has no place for a billion slum dwellers?

A community of 200,000 in Dhaka faces eviction to make room for "development". Is it time to rethink the concept, especially with a billion people now living in informal settlements worldwide?

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