Articles on Cities

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The financialisation of housing has become central to wealth creation in Australian households. Andrey_Popov from www.shutterstock.com

Explainer: the financialisation of housing and what can be done about it

We now value the house as a wealth builder, not just a place to live in and raise a family. The result is a distorted investment market that makes home ownership and rental unaffordable.
People have camped in the long grass since colonisation. From this perspective, bans on the practice are a denial of Indigenous agency, culture and rights to country. Photo: K. Pollard

Contested spaces: the ‘long-grassers’, living private lives in public places

In contrast to perceptions of other homeless people sleeping rough, Darwin's "long-grassers" are applying a long cultural tradition to deal with the situation in which they find themselves.
Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are eyeing value capture as a way to fund projects, but how will they sell a new tax to voters? Paul Miller/AAP

Value capture: a good idea to fund infrastructure but not easy in practice

Consider these home truths: value capture is a tax, it would need to apply to the family home and deciding which areas it covers would be politically contentious. A broad-based land tax is simpler.
The original conflict between development and preservation of natural assets is broadening as the risks of climate change become ever more obvious. Crystal Ja/AAP

Contested spaces: conflict behind the sand dunes takes a new turn

Conflicts over coastal areas have largely been between development and preserving what makes these attractive places to live. Rising sea levels are now complicating our relationship with the coast.
Flash mobs are still appearing in Melbourne, more than a decade after the city’s first in 2003, the year in which the creator of the phenomenon said it was dead. Julian Smith/AAP

Contested spaces: flash disruptions on the CBD street

Political street protests and even the more playful flash mobs have the power to not only disrupt flows of traffic but also assumptions about norms of behaviour in public spaces.
Early in the morning and late in the evening is when shorebirds escape disturbance on the beaches on which their survival depends. Arnuchulo

Contested spaces: saving nature when our beaches have gone to the dogs

We aren’t just jostling with each other for beach space. Scuttling, waddling, hopping or flying away from beachgoers all around Australia, wildlife struggles to survive the daily disturbances.
To meet the needs of lower-income households, housing should be both affordable and located near public transport and other services. Graeme Bartlett/Wikimedia

What a difference a month makes, but Victoria can still do more to get housing and planning right

Victoria has been lagging behind other states in developing an affordable housing strategy. Now that one has been released, how well does it meet the needs of households on lower incomes?
Gumtree Brutalism: the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library (1968), designed by Queensland architect James Birrell, on the James Cook University campus.

Brutalism, a campus love story – or how I learned to love concrete

Academics are often in the vanguard of the fight to preserve heritage buildings but they are losing the battle on home turf as universities shed their 1960s and 1970s concrete skins.
Simple features, like a thoughtfully sited bench, can make a big difference to older people’s ability to enjoy public spaces in the city. alexkich from www.shutterstock.com

Contested spaces: we need to see public space through older eyes too

Several key aspects of public open space can encourage older people to get out and about. And badly designed and maintained facilities have the opposite effect and can harm their wellbeing.

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