Dalian is an emerging city and tourist destination in China, but its urban spaces could be improved in many ways.
Paul J Martin/Shutterstock
Australia has well established urban design guidelines, whereas many Chinese cities don't have any – and it shows. But Australia can also learn from China.
Car parking is such a pervasive feature of our cities that we have become blind to how much space it takes up.
Australian cities have a glut of parking, even as politicians move to protect parking spaces or promise even more. There are better ways to keep congestion manageable and our cities liveable.
Rob Stokes, pictured at the swearing in of the new ministry, is New South Wales’ first minister for planning and public spaces.
New South Wales now has a minister for public spaces, a nod to their importance to the life of a city. But not all is well with public spaces and some issues demand the minister's attention.
Vienna often scores highly in the rankings.
When a city scores badly on "liveability", it can put serious pressure on city leaders – but do these rankings really help improve life for local people?
The main concern when talking about the liveability of a city like Melbourne should be sustaining the health and well-being of residents.
Rather than mourn the end of a seven-year reign as 'world's most liveable city', Melbourne could raise its sights to become more liveable, healthy and sustainable for all who live in the city.
Residents of the outer suburbs like the green spaces and sense of community, but lament the lack of access to transport and other services.
Much of the growth in our cities is in the outer suburbs, now home to around 5 million people. And that creates problems like traffic that detract from the advantages residents see in living there.
Uninviting, car-dominated streets, like this one in Melbourne, reduce our experience menu by discouraging beneficial activities like walking and sharing places with other people.
If the menu of potential activities that do us good is made to look uninviting or challenging, we are more likely to choose the easier but less healthy option.
When cyclists take over road lanes, self-driving cars will operate less efficiently.
Autonomous cars and people-centered communities are mutually exclusive, writes a cyclist and transportation scholar.
Melbourne and Sydney have similar access to public transport overall, but this and other liveability indicators vary greatly across the cities.
Every year, our big cities vie for global liveability honours. But as well as differences between the cities, liveability varies widely within them, leaving plenty of work to be done.
Vienna knocked Melbourne out of its seven-year-long top spot as the ‘world’s most liveable city’.
The world's "most liveable city" ranking is based on an index designed for companies sending their employees overseas. It's not relevant to the average person.
More Australian families are raising children in high-rise apartments.
The number of families living in high-rise, inner-city apartments is growing. Yet our research shows many parents find it challenging to raise children in such housing.
A smart city is usually one connected and managed through computing — sensors, data analytics and other information and communications technology.
As cities become 'smarter', they need more and more objects fitted with technology. We need to think about designing these objects to accommodate computers, which often break down and create e-waste.
The same things tend to make people happy - such as nature and colour. (Jardin des Curiosités, Lyon, France)
We searched Instagram for city images people associated with happiness. And they consistently included similar features, such as water, nature and heritage buildings.
Shepparton residents are clearly disadvantaged by having far fewer daily train services to Melbourne than other regional centres.
Regional areas are expanding, and yet not enough attention is being paid to improving rail access to capital cities. This affects the liveability of the areas.
Have Australian commuters really enjoyed gains in quality of life that would justify all those billions of dollars spent on transport infrastructure?
We spend on average about an hour a day travelling. Given this is unlikely to change, how can we make this time more productive and enjoyable?
Being in a park tends to make people feel more positive, although the time of day and the season also affect their moods.
The positive mood of tweets varies with time of day and season, but it's consistently higher in parks than in built-up areas, where people are more likely to express anger and fears.
Originating in the Netherlands, the concept of ‘woonerfs’, areas designed to invite walking, playing, socialising and cycling while curbing motor vehicles, has spread to cities in other countries, including Berlin.
All around us, the places we inhabit send us physical and visual cues that influence our behaviour. Good design can tilt the balance so our surroundings help us act in ways that fulfil our needs.
Health objectives are at last being integrated into all levels of planning in New South Wales, from cities and towns to local places and buildings.
The connections between city planning and health are many and varied, but getting health objectives integrated into all aspects of planning in New South Wales has been a long struggle.
‘Soft fall’ surfaces are widely used in play areas where children might fall, but can also get very hot in the sun, which undermines this safety benefit.
Brisbane City Council/Flickr
Commonly used surfaces in play areas, such as "soft fall" materials and Astroturf, can heat up to 80-100°C in the sun. This makes them a hazardous design choice, especially as the climate gets hotter.
The White Night festival is an example of Melbourne’s efforts to promote itself as a convivial city.
John Gollings/AAP supplied
Australian cities generally minimise negative attributes such as crime, segregation and violence, but developing positive attributes such as inclusivity appears more challenging.