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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.
Some materials and surfaces radiate much more heat (red areas) than others, as can be seen in this thermal image of Arncliffe Street in Wolli Creek, Sydney.

Building cool cities for a hot future

Hot spots occur at the scale of where people live – the building, the street, the block – which means urban design and building materials have profound implications for our health and well-being.
A park, in this case Hyde Park in Sydney, is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to engage with nature in the city. Lucy Taylor

Reducing stress at work is a walk in the park

Nature is dispersed through our cities, even if we don’t notice it. And there's abundant evidence that engaging with nature, even in urban settings, is good for us.
Continued development of our cities is putting pressure on urban green spaces. AAP/David Crosling

Does higher-density city development leave urban forests out on a limb?

Achieving green cities will require more than just canopy cover targets and central city strategies. It will need new approaches to urban planning and development.
Central to Sydney’s congestion problem is the journey-to-work rat race in the city’s western suburbs like Blacktown. AAP/Dean Lewins

If the people can’t get to their jobs, bring the jobs to the people

Sydney, as a whole, is lurching toward an urban structure where its transportation problems are impossible to solve. The only alternative is to create new centres of employment.
When public housing like the properties in Sydney’s Millers Point is privatised, it profoundly changes the social mix of the inner city to something much more homogenous. AAP/Newzulu/Peter Boyle

Suburbanising the centre: the Baird government’s anti-urban agenda for Sydney

The NSW government agenda would deny the 'right to the city', that network of diverse communities, practices and places which give rise to the convivial and inclusive potential of cities.
The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour. 'It's Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne', Tourism Victoria

Why we should design smart cities for getting lost

If smart cities run on big data and algorithms that channel only 'relevant' information and opinions to us, how do we maintain the diversity of ideas and possibilities that drives truly smart cities?
The size and pace of activity in Tokyo can be overwhelming, but at the human scale the city has an incredibly rich layering of experiences built over generations.

Lessons in living heritage from Tokyo to Adelaide

The concept of living heritage can help us make decisions that go beyond preserving historical facades to protect and add to, rather than freeze, the stories and layers of the past.
Unless councillors are helped to focus on their representative roles, local democracy’s effectiveness could be in danger. AAP/Darren Pateman

How council mergers and reforms imperil local government democracy

If local councils are bigger and councillors represent more residents, it is important that they focus on understanding their communities’ needs and aspirations, rather than on day-to-day operations.
Without metropolitan governance that is responsive to city residents’ wishes, states are much influenced by federal priorities – that is, by the money on offer. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Metropolitan governance is the missing link in Australia’s reform agenda

Representative and accountable metropolitan government is needed to lead metro-scale planning, infrastructure investment and services, and partnerships with the private sector and civil society.
From Prime Minister David Cameron down, UK ministers have been keen to unveil ambitious ‘City Deals’, often before difficult policy and funding details have been resolved. flickr/Number 10

City Deals: nine reasons this imported model of urban development demands due diligence

The new cities minister apparently shares the Property Council and KPMG's enthusiasm for the UK 'City Deals' model, but he should look more closely at this 'tried and tested' model before adopting it.

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