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Without medium-density housing being built in the established suburbs – the ‘missing middle’ – the goals of more compact, sustainable and equitable cities won’t be achieved. zstock/shutterstock

Becoming more urban: attitudes to medium-density living are changing in Sydney and Melbourne

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.
A tiny house in the backyard appeals to some as a solution that offers both affordability and sustainability. Think Out Loud/flick

Interest in tiny houses is growing, so who wants them and why?

New research has found a marked increase in people, particularly among women over 50, who are building or want to build a tiny house. However, inflexible planning rules often stand in their way.
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.
Cities suffer the planning consequences of rapid population growth while the federal government reaps the revenue. Gilad Rom/Flickr

City planning suffers growth pains of Australia’s population boom

Financial benefits are behind the development industry’s push for a continuous rapid population growth. But our poorly planned cities are ill-prepared and already struggling.
The Turnbull government’s line that supply is the key to affordability finds little support among housing experts. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

What housing issues should the budget tackle? This is what our experts say

Housing experts writing for The Conversation largely agree on the government policies that are causing negative distortions in the market and the wider economy. And supply is not the key concern.
To meet the needs of lower-income households, housing should be both affordable and located near public transport and other services. Graeme Bartlett/Wikimedia

What a difference a month makes, but Victoria can still do more to get housing and planning right

Victoria has been lagging behind other states in developing an affordable housing strategy. Now that one has been released, how well does it meet the needs of households on lower incomes?
The goal of healthy built environments has been missing from the NSW planning agenda for too long. from www.shutterstock.com

The mysterious disappearance of health from New South Wales planning laws

The health impacts of urban and regional planning are undisputed. So why did the NSW government adopt and then discard health objectives as part of state planning legislation?
A quirk in the planning rules enabled the Primaries Warehouse in Fremantle to be redeveloped as a model of progressive higher-density design. Stuart Smith/Panoramio

Reinventing density: bending the rules can help stop urban sprawl

Exceptional projects can emerge when regulations are sensibly relaxed due to context. A Fremantle project is a model of progressive higher-density possibilities resulting from flexible planning rules.
The EVA Lanxmeer development in the Netherlands provides a model for how to incorporate green infrastructure in all aspects of the planning process. Tony Matthews

Here’s how green infrastructure can easily be added to the urban planning toolkit

Green infrastructure can be delivered relatively easily using existing planning processes. The main obstacle could be psychological: planners are wary of disruption to embedded practices.
‘Chook farms ruin lives!’. Australians consume a lot of cheap chicken, but not all of them appreciate an intensive chicken factory as a neighbour. Marco Amati

Done like a chicken dinner: city fringes locked in battles over broiler farms

As consumption has soared and prices have fallen, the realities of industrial chicken farming often clash with the values of people who live on the urban fringes where broiler farms are sited.
City residents are embracing the bike as the fastest, most convenient transport in areas like Brunswick, yet an apartment building has been blocked for not providing car parking. flickr/Takver

Nightingale’s sustainability song falls on deaf ears as car-centric planning rules hold sway

It's up to state governments to ensure urban planning rules properly reflect both the desires of residents in the 21st century and the principles of sustainability.
Then treasurer and now New South Wales Premier Mike Baird (centre) at Newcastle’s Wickham train station in 2013. AAP/Michael Sin

Will it be the end of the line for Newcastle’s train, or for Baird?

If you're looking for key battles to watch in the New South Wales election, which could help decide who forms the next state government, then you need to know the story of the Newcastle railway line.
Community protests ensure urban planners pay attention to the politics of their work, while research evidence can more easily be neglected. AAP/Courtney Biggs

‘Not a lot of people read the stuff’: how planning defies good theory

Urban planners tend to be attuned to council and community politics. They are less well informed when it comes to applying the findings of research to improve the quality of their work.

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