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The fire in the Melbourne CBD on Monday was a reminder of the urgency of developing a system that guarantees only materials that meet building safety standards are used. Bekah Jane/Twitter

Cladding fires expose gaps in building material safety checks. Here’s a solution

Fortunately, no lives were lost in the latest cladding fire in Melbourne, but it's a stark reminder of the urgent need to track and verify that building materials comply with safety standards.
The 392 apartments in Opal Tower (centre) were evacuated on Christmas Eve when residents heard loud cracks and defects were found. Paul Braven/AAP

Beyond Opal: a 10-point plan to fix the residential building industry

While Opal Tower residents are more badly affected than most, up to 80% of multi-unit buildings have serious defects. Here's what government can do right now to fix the industry.
Housing affordability becomes less of a concern in the years after buying a house, especially for people who bought a decade or more ago. Paul Miller/AAP

Head start for home owners makes a big difference for housing stress

Affordability is a problem across Sydney for prospective home buyers. But if they are able to become owners, new research shows affordability becomes much less of a problem over five to ten years.
Lochiel Park in Adelaide was Australia’s first large-scale attempt to create homes that use near net zero energy. Stephen Berry

When the heat hits: how to make our homes comfortable without cranking up the aircon

Air conditioning changed both building design and people's active management of home temperatures. A return to houses designed for our climate can keep us comfortable and cut energy use and emissions.
In 1919, 1,376 new Norway Maples were planted along streets in Brooklyn. Department of Parks of the Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York

Not so long ago, cities were starved for trees

In 1910, along one 45-block stretch of New York City's Fifth Avenue, there were only 13 trees.
The extra $1 billion Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) and Social Housing Minister Pru Goward say will be ‘harnessed’ for social housing is actually Commonwealth Rent Assistance for which tenants transferred to community housing providers become eligible. Simon Bullard/AAP

‘Growth’ of community housing may be an illusion. The cost-shifting isn’t

For the first time a state government housing agency has effectively contracted out all its operations in some regions, but will this improve and add to the total social housing stock?
To make a success of moving home, to the country for example, it helps to be open to the ways a place will change you. Rachael Wallis

How moving house changes you

Think moving won't change you? You might want to rethink that. To feel 'at home' you need to accept the new place where you live as part of your changing identity.
A visualisation of a Refuge City street scene. Richard Weller/Julian Bolleter

Refuge City, a new kind of city for our times

By adapting the charter city model to create a new city on the northern coast, Australia could be the world’s great 21st-century refuge.
Public bikes are meant to complement a city’s existing mass transit network, so the location of docking stations is critical. MusikAnimal/Wikimedia

Chicago, New York discounted most public input in expanding bike systems

Under 10 percent of new Citi Bike and Divvy bike docks are sited where residents suggested using interactive online maps, a new study shows. But that doesn't mean city officials weren't listening.

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