Articles on Urban life

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Come on Australia. Celebrate World Sparrow Day! Isabel Winney/Peri Bolton

Why you should celebrate World Sparrow Day

The humble sparrow represents a conduit to nature for many, and its wellbeing is connected to ours. That's reason enough to celebrate World Sparrow Day.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore gives car-sharing a try. By 2016, one in ten of the city’s households will have joined a car-share scheme. AAP Image/Paul Miller

1,000 cars and no garage – why car-sharing works

Owning a car can be a hassle, especially if you live somewhere where driving is an occasional, rather than daily, necessity. This might help to explain why car-sharing schemes are going from strength to…
Bright lights, big city - in the 1950s lighting for productivity and security was overtaken by lighting for spectacle, mood and advertising. Lighting the Sails - 59 Productions Vivid LIVE 2014.

Let there be light: behind the trend of illuminating cities for art

If you’re in Melbourne or Sydney over the next couple of weeks, you can enjoy the nightly transformation of some familiar urban landmarks. How should we understand this growing global enthusiasm for spectacular…
Our cities are growing; we must rise to the challenge. Erwin Soo

Ten themes that will help build cities designed for people

Ten themes shape the dilemmas, challenges and opportunities for the 21st-century city. Each relates to how we live and shape our places. The tradition of urban living, of urbanity, focuses both on the…
Growing a solution to the growing problem of urban warming. Alison Hancock/Shutterstock

Green or white? Planted or painted roofs can cool buildings

It’s getting hot in the city, and our overheated cities are only going to get hotter still as more people pile in and development and energy use intensifies. But planting away the problem could be a surprisingly…
A pair of lesser flamingos in Mumbai’s busy port area. Madhusudan Katti

Biodiversity can flourish on an urban planet

Mention the word biodiversity to a city dweller and images of remote natural beauty will probably come to mind – not an empty car park around the corner. Wildlife, we think, should be found in wild places…
Take the offer: sharing cuts waste and builds communities but we have our reasons for not always being comfortable with it. Flickr/Zervas

Sharing: if it’s so good, why don’t we do more of it?

Sharing is a good thing right? We are told it is good for the environment by cutting waste and needless consumption; we encourage it in our children for their moral growth; we see it used in advertising…
A White Shark feeds on a whale carcass off a Perth metropolitan beach in 2009. This was happening before Homo Sapiens existed. AAP/Channel10

Sharks in the city: Getting to know the neighbours

The vast majority of Australians live in coastal cities. This means most of us have sharks as neighbours. Living alongside sharks in metropolitan cities in Australia requires urban resilience. Unlike birds…
Is Australia going down the East Asian high-rise route? eugenewei

The carbon devil in the detail on urban density

How dense could we be? Very, if you follow much of the commentary in Australian debates about the way we should plan our cities. High-rise residential developments have been springing up in all Australia’s…
South-east Queensland now has a 200km long city. dazza17-DJ

Colliding cities: have our cities slipped their metro moorings?

Despite the emphasis in Australia on the “compact city” foreshadowed in every major strategic metropolitan plan such as the South East Queensland Regional Plan; there is a growing trend towards “colliding…
A new generation of architects is needed to build our cities. Flickr/MorBCN

Building the future with the next generation of architects

The “future” is something which manifests nowhere more potently than in our cities. Yet a substantial transformation over the past twenty years in the way cities are being made – both in terms of their…
By observing how the brain lights up in stressful situations, scientists have found city-dwellers are more sensitive to stress than their country cousins. Flickr

How city living stresses us out

As if any further proof were needed that traffic jams and overcrowding make us anxious, scientists have concluded that city-dwellers…
Alice Springs’ many faces: the intervention, tourism, grog - and a housing crisis.

How Alice tackles its housing crisis now will shape its future

Each year for the last three years, I’ve taken a group of architecture students to Alice Springs for a 10-day urban design workshop. I first found myself in this city during Desert Mob – the annual sale…
Choked: Lagos crumbles under the weight of its population. AAP/Pius Utomi Ekpei

Urban trauma: Why we need to rethink our cities

We are entering an era of massive population transfer - a rural exodus of unprecedented proportions. In Asia and Africa farmers and peasants are being lured to mega-cities. This brings myriad benefits…
Building away from our cities could ease congestion in urban areas. AAP

Escape from Sydney: planning the way out of congestion

Bashing planning has become a national sport, and in NSW, we’re the best at it. Stuck in traffic? Blame the planners. Housing stress? Planners are too slow and too stingy with land release. In the perception…

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