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.
Today’s urban public spaces tend to represent governments and cities rather than people and citizens. Architects and urban designers should contribute to shaping spaces for freedom and interaction.
If you disagree with the political slant of the network, it might color your views of others in the room – and change your behavior.
There are thousands of empty parking spots in cities. So what can we do to make better use of this space?
How data is changing the shape of our personal 'bubble' – in pictures.
The need for public cooking facilities has long been recognised, but why has the basic public barbecue failed to evolve along with Australians, their lifestyles and the foods they eat?
Littering in protest is indicative of a discordant society, and a culture of littering can tell us a lot about a society's ethos.
The positive mood of tweets varies with time of day and season, but it's consistently higher in parks than in built-up areas, where people are more likely to express anger and fears.
Security in cities can make some people feel safe while excluding others. New ways of planning and policing public space are needed to ensure cities are safe and accessible for all.
Casual sport can help communities thrive. But for many of Australia's most marginal communities, it's becoming harder to find a place to play.
Expo 88 helped to create Brisbane's South Bank Parklands by raising expectations of what the city could be like.
All around us, the places we inhabit send us physical and visual cues that influence our behaviour. Good design can tilt the balance so our surroundings help us act in ways that fulfil our needs.
Researchers are installing sensors to collect data about the use of public spaces. This can improve the management and public amenity of these places, but will users see the technology as intrusive?
By expanding our understanding of streets and enhancing their design, every street corner could become a space to socialise, to exercise, to play, or to trade.
Third places are shared spaces where people can informally socialise. As a potential antidote to the modern scourge of loneliness, it's worth asking what makes the best of these places tick.
It took Melbourne a very long time to create a civic square that served the citizens rather than commerce. Now an Apple store is to be built there, unless parliament supports a disallowance motion.
Public toilets are an essential amenity, but most of them aren't places we'd want to go to unless we have to. What does the failure to provide more restful and inviting places say about us?
Done right, a plaza can bring life and a sense of identity to an area. So why has urban design in Australia neglected the town square in favour of green space, and what makes for a successful one?
For a public space to be seen as safe, welcoming and accessible, a diverse range of people need to actively use it. That's why any space-changing project needs to engage broadly with the community.
Apple’s interest in Federation Square, and in co-opting the idea of the public square in general, goes beyond the quest for profit.