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Play activates cities and engages people, and by appropriating urban spaces it changes what these mean to people.

Bringing back an old idea for smart cities – playing on the street

As adults we often trivialise the value of play. But playing games lets us play with possibilities, see how they play out – and exploring alternative realities helps us see the familiar in new ways.
When dog owners meet, it helps build a safe and connected community. Wrote/flickr

Our pets strengthen neighbourhood ties

A study of Australian and US cities has demonstrated that pet ownership strengthens people's connections with their neighbours.
The village bell was once a powerful symbol of sonic identity. Living in the noise of today’s global cities, what sounds exist that express our communal identity? Eric Fidler/flickr

Let cities speak: what sounds define us now?

Sound, as a still relatively unexplored medium of urban design, provides an obvious starting point in the search for new relationships and identities in the contemporary city.
Noise transformation and community-led design projects are reclaiming unwanted spaces that lay adjacent to motorways. rogiro/flickr

Let cities speak: reclaiming a place for community with sounds

Communities have an increasing desire to be informed and included in local art, design and infrastructure projects. This has inspired new ways of dealing with noise-afflicted areas.
Must we become passive observers to the destruction of one of Melbourne’s most culturally diverse and socially rich suburbs?

When a suburb’s turn for gentrification comes …

Must the aggressive, homogeneous global pattern of development take its course in Melbourne's long-standing multicultural suburb of Footscray?
Community murals can rekindle an area’s shared memories and sense of identity. Photo: Martin Purcell. Reproduced with permission

How murals helped turn a declining community around

Over the past 15 years, community groups in a rundown inner-city district have created public murals as part of a successful process of reversing decades of stagnation.
Jane Jacobs holds up documentary evidence at a 1961 press conference during the campaign to save the West Village. Wikimedia Commons

What might Jane Jacobs say about smart cities?

In an age of data-driven urban science, we need to remember how Jane Jacobs gave voice to the multiple languages, meanings, experiences and knowledge systems of a vibrant city.
Mandurah is an example of built density without intensity: five-to-ten-storey buildings with generous public space but a population density less than your average suburb. Kim Dovey

How negative-gearing changes can bring life back to eerily quiet suburbs

Curbing negative gearing will help get empty housing onto the market. This could go some way to bringing life back to relatively dense urban centres that are oddly lacking intensity of public life.
Congested roads and overcrowded public transport services are common problems in many of our cities. Dam Himbeechts/AAP

Speaking with: Crystal Legacy on the politics of transport infrastructure

Australia's transport infrastructure needs urgent upgrades. But with governments willing to fund only one or two major projects, how do we decide which infrastructure project to prioritise?

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