Articles on Liveability

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Melbourne’s ambitions to be a ‘20-minute city’ aren’t likely to be achieved by its recently updated planning strategy. Nils Versemann / shutterstock.com

A 20-minute city sounds good, but becoming one is a huge challenge

While many talk about 30-minute cities, some aim for residents to be able to get to most services within 20 minutes. But cities like Melbourne have an awful lot of work to do to achieve their goal.
Night-time lighting – seen here in Chongqing, China – is one of many aspects of city living that can make us more stressed. Jason Byrne

Planners know depressingly little about a city’s impacts on our mental health

Research shows planners and built environment professionals have surprisingly poor knowledge about how cities might harm mental health. The good news is that simple steps can make a big difference.
It’s hard to see how a city can be good for all its people unless they are involved in its creation. Paul James

What actually is a good city?

Developing principles to create cities that are good for all is not easy. Who decides what is good? And for whom? We desperately need a big and general public discussion about this.
The closure of the Gatwick Hotel means those most in need of shelter have lost another place they could stay. Darkydoors from www.shutterstock.com

Goodbye to the Gatwick, and to so much of the old St Kilda

When wealth accumulation becomes the driver of urban regeneration, residents who already have little or no say in the future of our cities are further marginalised by gentrification.
Sydneysiders’ view of their city’s liveability is very different depending on whether they live in the east or west. Sam Mooy/AAP

‘Liveable’ Sydney has clear winners and losers

Justifying Sydney’s ranking as a liveable city requires greater recognition of the inequality of Sydneysiders' access to jobs, wealth, transport and housing.
Whether it’s pressures of space or a warmer climate, which is affecting Melbourne’s elms, urban greening must respond to the challenges of 21st-century urban living. Joe Castro/AAP

Higher-density cities need greening to stay healthy and liveable

Greening cities that are becoming denser is a major challenge. City-dwellers' health benefits from both well-designed green spaces and urban density, so we must manage the tensions between them.
Cities like Dhaka are internally diverse, even contradictory. Such variation extends to the types of economic activity that take place in them. Reuters/Andrew Biraj

Design in the ‘hybrid city’: DIY meets platform urbanism in Dhaka’s informal settlements

As cities trumpet their liveability, creativity and greenness, many informal settlement activities are often relegated to the shadows.
Urban planning was once an Olympic event, although the first gold medal – awarded to Germany’s Alfred Hensel for the Nuremberg stadium – turned out to be an unfortunate choice.

‘No More Hunger’ Games: if only we cared about the real-world Liveability Olympics

Imagine cities competed to eliminate hunger, poverty, unemployment, crime and greenhouse emissions, and to offer housing and transport for all. Don't scoff – urban planning was once an Olympic event.
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world despite its ranking as one of the ‘least liveable’. mariusz kluzniak/flickr

Signals from the noise of urban innovation in the world’s ‘second-least-liveable’ city

Bringing significant benefits to an emergent middle class, Dhaka's cultural, economic, environmental and political landscapes are being rapidly but unevenly transformed.
While Melbourne City Council is responsible for the CBD, governance of the vast area of metropolitan Melbourne is poorly co-ordinated between 31 councils in all. Alex Proimos/Flickr

Towards a collaborative city: the case for a Melbourne Metropolitan Commission

Governance of metropolitan Melbourne is fragmented among 31 city councils. All levels of government need to work towards creating a metropolitan authority to meet the challenges of a growing city.
People enjoy the green space of parks, but often their activities are of a fairly passive nature. AAP/Bimal Sharma

Most people just park themselves, so how do we promote more healthy activity in public parks?

Parks are found in most neighbourhoods, generally free to use and are enjoyed by diverse groups. Although most visitors don't use parks for physical activity, modest improvements can change that.
Urban plans that consider health and well-being must be part of integrative planning policies. Jason Wesley Upton/flickr

A healthy approach: how to turn what we know about liveable cities into public policy

Urban planning aims to create cities that support healthy and productive communities, and the success in putting health on the NSW planning agenda offers lessons in achieving better integrated policy.
Good access to people, services and other essential ingredients of wellbeing is a defining feature of liveable communities. flickr/US Department of Agriculture

How do we create liveable cities? First, we must work out the key ingredients

Communities that rate highly for liveability share certain essential features. We can identify and build these key ingredients into our cities to create thriving places where people want to live.
Green space and infrastructure are consistently high on the public’s list of priorities, but urban planning has struggled to incorporate their value. Wang Song/from www.shutterstock.com

How green is our infrastructure? Helping cities assess its value for long-term liveability

When communities are surveyed, green infrastructure is usually high on their list of urban planning priorities. But until now planners have lacked tools to quantify the long-term benefits.
Cities are places of integration, intense population pressures, migration flows, cultural interactions and variations in socio-economic positioning and values. But what makes them liveable? Mick Tsikas/Reuters

Liveable cities: who decides what that means and how we achieve it?

A liveable city has become the highest form of praise we can give to a city space. But we need to discuss what that means and who gets to participate in the process of governing and shaping a city.
Culture is frequently identified as the key determining variable in accounting for a city’s ‘liveability’. AAP / Kerry O'Brien Publicity, John Gollings

Rankings fever: Melbourne goes over the top – again

The world is in the grip of a rankings mania. This week alone the city of Melbourne has been awarded the mantle of Most Liveable City and World’s Friendliest City in the space of days. And don’t they want…

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