Articles on Urban design

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Green space, easily accessible to everyone no matter what their income, should be a priority in designing high-density residential areas. Marcus Jaaske from www.shutterstock.com

What’s equity got to do with health in a higher-density city?

Being crowded into poor-quality high-density units harms residents' health, but design features that are known to promote wellbeing can make a big difference to the lives of low-income households.
Due to a fear of being harassed or assaulted, many women go out of their way to avoid travelling through parts of the city where sexual entertainment venues are concentrated. Blemished Paradise/flickr

No harm done? ‘Sexual entertainment districts’ make the city a more threatening place for women

Despite the rise of feminism, strip clubs and other 'sexual entertainment' businesses have proliferated in our cities. And women are feeling the harmful impacts of the industry's presence.
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.
Kansir/flickr

The mall isn’t dead – it’s just changing

The mall's inventor, Victor Gruen, envisioned thriving hubs of civic activity, rather than bland, asphalt-enclosed shopping centers. Is his original vision now being realized – or further corrupted?
We need to find new ways to deal with the complexity of modern cities and make them better. from www.shutterstock.com

Cities are complex systems – let’s start looking at them that way

There are very few approaches that examine all aspects of the complexity of urban design and development. Ergonomics, human factors and sociotechnical systems methods offer a way forward.
While many urban design guidelines include ambience as a required ‘city quality’, few provide ways to achieve it. Ayrcan/flickr

Unlocking the secrets of street ambience

Ambience is a result of a whole range of processes and physical objects. We can use a systems approach to examine and describe what needs to be done to achieve such a subjective quality in a street.
The opera house is raised on a terraced platform, away from the shore like an island amphitheatre. Terence Wong from www.shutterstock.com

Why the Sydney Opera House is a little overcooked

Construction should have stopped once the roofs were erected. Any citizen could then have walked up to the terraced amphitheatre, sat down and gazed back at the country from this shrine to the nation.
How will it fit in? Every new development should consider the existing neighbourhood character. Tod Jones

When gentrification lacks empathy: a case study

The Melbourne suburb of Richmond is prime inner-city real estate, but the community is paying a price for redevelopment that jars with the existing neighbourhood.

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