A massive residential development in a flood-prone inner-city suburb sounds like a recipe for disaster. But good urban design can deliver higher density and reduce the flood risk.
Residents of established middle suburbs are slowly coming round to the idea, but governments and the property sector lack the capacity to deliver compact cities that are acceptable to the community.
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.
For the first time in Australia, more higher-density housing than detached housing was being built last year. Compact cities have pros and cons, but the downsides fall more heavily on the poor.
In the push for more compact cities, don't forget the ways apartment living is different. And often the downsides of these differences weigh heavily on low-income and disadvantaged households.
Australians are losing the backyards that once served as retreats from the stresses of city living. Our health is likely to suffer as cities become less green and much hotter.
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.
As increasing diversity and density come to characterise our cities, how can we build harmonious communities within apartment complexes?
Government and industry need to demonstrate the benefits of well-designed higher-density housing. Rich residential display projects may be the ideal catalyst for creating smarter cities.