Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Cities

Analysis and Comment (58)

New research shows golden orb weaving spiders are larger in cities compared to their relatives in the bush. New research shows golden orb weaving spiders are larger in cities compared to their relatives in the bush. Lizzy Lowe

City spiders are getting bigger — but that’s a good thing

Find yourself thinking that the spider living in your garden is the biggest you’ve ever seen? You could be right. New research shows some spiders are getting larger and even doing better in cities than…
Culture is frequently identified as the key determining variable in accounting for a city’s ‘liveability’. Culture is frequently identified as the key determining variable in accounting for a city’s ‘liveability’. AAP / Kerry O'Brien Publicity, John Gollings

Rankings fever: Melbourne goes over the top – again

The world is in the grip of a rankings mania. This week alone the city of Melbourne has been awarded the mantle of Most Liveable City and World’s Friendliest City in the space of days. And don’t they want…
Fast-growing Tehran is at the heart of the economic and demographic pressures for change in Iran. Fast-growing Tehran is at the heart of the economic and demographic pressures for change in Iran. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Iran peeks from behind the veil

Iran is involved in P5+1 talks with the US and Europe ostensibly about nuclear capacities. But the real talk in Iran and around the world is that Iran’s government knows things have to change. As Egypt…
Keeping cool at the Chelsea Flower Show. Keeping cool at the Chelsea Flower Show. Yui Mok/PA

Green your garden, help the environment and lower your bills

The Chelsea Flower Show is in full bloom. The UK’s annual botanical extravaganza celebrates all aspects of horticulture and is an important venue for watching emerging trends in the gardening world. But…
Disasters such as the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami show how vulnerable cities are. Sendai pictured here. Disasters such as the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami show how vulnerable cities are. Sendai pictured here. U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr

Cities are failing to cope with global challenges

The old German saying Stadt Luft Macht Frei (“urban air makes you free”) is the defining injunction of modernity. Modern western cities were launched as the vessels of liberation from a human era darkened…
Melburnians have taken to the streets to challenge government transport policy priorities. Melburnians have taken to the streets to challenge government transport policy priorities. AAP/Joe Sabljak

Without a national cities policy, who joins all the planning dots?

Australia does not have a national cities policy. But in committing funding to transport infrastructure, the federal government is significantly shaping Australian cities. Local government and community-based…
Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Not everyone’s cup of tea. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Not everyone’s cup of tea. 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia

Is anyone asking people what they want from the smart cities of the future?

Future cities, where infrastructure adapts to our needs, offer are an enticing prospect. But who is in the driving seat as these urban developments crop up around the world? We need to make sure that the…
Heatwaves are set to become the norm – better get used to them. Heatwaves are set to become the norm – better get used to them. AAP/Joe Castro

With more heatwaves to come, how will our cities hold up?

Australia’s south east is currently sweltering under an intense heatwave, one that is likely to become the second longest heatwave on record in the region. So what have we learnt from the heatwave of 2009…
The Field Day music festival, held annually in The Domain in Sydney, is among a growing number of private or ticketed events held in public parks. The Field Day music festival, held annually in The Domain in Sydney, is among a growing number of private or ticketed events held in public parks. jo3hug

Private events help fund public parks, but there’s a cost too

Privatisation of the public realm is increasingly seen by governments as a relatively painless user-pays way of addressing their budget problems and parks have not escaped the trend. Public spaces such…
Have catalytic converters changed the cost-pollution-benefit in petrol’s favour? Have catalytic converters changed the cost-pollution-benefit in petrol’s favour? Mike Egerton/PA

Failure to test for the real world has left a polluting diesel legacy

Which is the better option for cars in cities, diesel or petrol-driven engines? As a report reveals the new fleet of green, hybrid electric-diesel buses in London produce less CO2 but more harmful pollutants…
Old buildings are standing in the way of improving our cities. Old buildings are standing in the way of improving our cities. Flickr/Becky EnVérité

Towards truly resilient cities: stop being soft on old buildings

Making Australian cities truly resilient to extreme events is being held back by archaic planning. The majority of buildings don’t fall under new sustainability and resilience regulations, meaning private…
Cars stuck in traffic at an intersection. Cars stuck in traffic at an intersection. www.shutterstock.com/e2dan

Stuck in traffic: how to get our cities and economy moving

The strength of Australia’s economy depends on how well our cities function - yet right now, it’s as if we’re driving with the handbrake on. Cities are crucial to productivity. When they work well, they…
Things could be looking up for urban planning if Greg Hunt has his way. Things could be looking up for urban planning if Greg Hunt has his way. Michelle Robinson

The new government has a plan for Australia’s cities

The new Coalition Government has been elected with a mandate to reduce the national debt and make Australia “open for business”. Does this mean fixing Australia’s cities will be left to market forces…
Solar is taking off in Australia’s suburbs, but what are inner-city livers to do? Solar is taking off in Australia’s suburbs, but what are inner-city livers to do? Duncan Rawlinson

How will your energy get greener? Depends where you live

In Australia’s middle and outer suburbs, rooftop solar technology provides a clear way to reduce the emissions from the energy our houses use. But higher density housing types (apartments and medium density…
More than 2 million people live in Pacific cities, many of them in squats and informal settlements. More than 2 million people live in Pacific cities, many of them in squats and informal settlements. eGuide Travel

Aid to PNG and the Pacific should focus on fixing cities

The Pacific Islands Forum, the peak regional body of Pacific Island states, met in Majuro, Marshall Islands, last week. A major outcome of the meeting was the Forum Communiqué. This is the blueprint for…
The ‘most liveable city’ accolade should be viewed with scepticism. The ‘most liveable city’ accolade should be viewed with scepticism. Image from shutterstock.com

Melbourne, the world’s most liveable city? Not exactly

For the third year in a row, Melbourne has been named as the world’s most liveable city by the The Economist Intelligence Unit Survey. From the Lord Mayor to Molly Meldrum, it seems that almost everybody…
Our cities may be booming, but what about our regions and suburbs? Our cities may be booming, but what about our regions and suburbs? Flickr/Takver

A more sustainable Australia: from suburbia to newburbia

A more sustainable Australia. As the 2013 election campaign continues, we’ve asked academics to look at some of the long-term issues affecting Australia – the issues that will shape our future. Australia’s…
Wrexham, like this driver, is ill-prepared for floods and other climate change-related problems. Wrexham, like this driver, is ill-prepared for floods and other climate change-related problems. Matt Price/Flickr

How ready for climate change is your town or city?

More than half the world’s population now lives in cities or urban areas, which means our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change is tied up with cities' ability to cope. Responsible for more than…
Detroit: what not to do. Detroit: what not to do. Ann Millspaugh

Detroit provides a warning as UK cities push for deregulation

Detroit, formerly a global economic powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy in the face of crippling loan repayments. While an equivalent collapse in the UK is unlikely any time soon, if certain voices in…
Clean up your act, Shanghai. Just add some more trees at the right places. Clean up your act, Shanghai. Just add some more trees at the right places. Corinna A. Carlson

Fixing air pollution is like walking: easy until the ground starts moving

There is something of a sensory dissonance in modern cities. Glamorous as they are, the breath of contemporary cities stinks. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found…
The urban civilisation drawn to cities innovates and enriches. Even in Melbourne. The urban civilisation drawn to cities innovates and enriches. Even in Melbourne. melburnian/Flickr

In search of a formula with which to build better cities

When Isaac Newton produced his Laws of Motion in 1687, it led to speculation that his new gravitational force could explain the social forces between people. Thinkers put forward various arguments for…
Want to be happy? It’s all about the green. Want to be happy? It’s all about the green. epSos.de/Flickr

It’s official: city parks make us happy

Spending time with nature in our cities' parks and gardens can improve individual satisfaction in life and make us less aggressive, anxious and stressed. So isn’t it time we placed access to nature alongside…
Britain’s woeful road infrastructure for cyclists is dragging us down. Britain’s woeful road infrastructure for cyclists is dragging us down. Tim Ireland/PA

Who put the brakes on cycling in Britain?

Making a city more bicycle-friendly is not simply a matter of painting a few lines and installing parking spaces. It requires cities to work with cyclists as participants in redesigning the city. Ensuring…
Rail has been a part of Federal “knitting” since, well, Federation. Rail has been a part of Federal “knitting” since, well, Federation. Annie Mole

It’s not in the knitting? Urban rail’s growing significance

Tony Abbott has created a new phrase that wonderfully describes a political tradition or paradigm: “not in our knitting”. “We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it’s important that we stick…
Many apartment dwellers would like to know how to make their home more sustainable. But where to start? Many apartment dwellers would like to know how to make their home more sustainable. But where to start? Chris Kreussling

Untangling the steps to a more sustainable apartment life

Apartment owners beware – your asset could be under threat! If we don’t improve the sustainability of our city apartment blocks their value will fall. Australian cities are increasingly embracing apartment…
Apartment living has increased slightly in the past 20 years, but we’re not letting go of our houses just yet. Apartment living has increased slightly in the past 20 years, but we’re not letting go of our houses just yet. Alan Levine

Fewer occupants, more bedrooms: census shows Australians prefer bigger houses

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers on…
More people live in cities than ever before. We can’t solve problems of sustainability and health without fixing them. More people live in cities than ever before. We can’t solve problems of sustainability and health without fixing them. Bill Hertha

Rio+20: Human health, wellbeing and survival depend on the future of cities

The secretary-general of the United Nations’ (first) Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Maurice Strong, famously declared that if our planet is to remain a hospitable and sustainable home for the human species…
We know where to head next to build more sustainable cities. We know where to head next to build more sustainable cities. Anders Hoff

Rio+20 puts the case for more sustainable cities - is Australia ready?

Over the weekend, local leaders from around the world gathered together in Belo Horizonte, an hour’s flight from Rio de Janeiro at the ICLEI World Congress. The aim was to galvanise their case for a decade…
Care and consideration make the road safer for everyone. Enforcing the law helps too. Care and consideration make the road safer for everyone. Enforcing the law helps too. Fernando de Sousa

Want safer cycling? Don’t dismiss dooring

Every year, more Australians - particularly in cities - are riding to work. More cyclists means fewer cars on the road, less congestion, less pollution and fewer health problems. But every year more people…
Sydney needs sustainable solutions to keep its growing population happy and healthy. Sydney needs sustainable solutions to keep its growing population happy and healthy. Franklin Heijnen

How full is full? Planning Sydney to be big, sustainable and healthy

Australia’s future population is again under the spotlight. The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has just released a new report on Australian population futures. And focus has sharpened…
Sure, it looks nice, but this tree is also saving you money. Sure, it looks nice, but this tree is also saving you money. UncanonicalAaron/Flickr

For a great return on investment, try trees

Perhaps it is a pity that so many Australians think of our parks, gardens, streetscapes and urban landscapes only in terms of their aesthetics. While green spaces are beautiful and decorative, these attributes…
Parks aren’t just for looking at. Parks aren’t just for looking at. philip bouchard

What is green space worth?

Recent patterns of residential development in Australian cities are threatening to overwhelm green space in our urban cores. Policies of urban consolidation have concentrated medium to high density residential…
We need to think about the benefits of locally grown food before signing off on suburban sprawl. We need to think about the benefits of locally grown food before signing off on suburban sprawl. avlxyz/Flickr

Paving our market gardens: choosing suburbs over food

In 1947 the Sydney Basin produced “three quarters of the State’s lettuces, half of the spinach, a third of the cabbages and a quarter of the beans; seventy percent of the State’s poultry farms were in…
A White Shark feeds on a whale carcass off a Perth metropolitan beach in 2009. This was happening before Homo Sapiens existed. A White Shark feeds on a whale carcass off a Perth metropolitan beach in 2009. This was happening before Homo Sapiens existed. AAP/Channel10

Sharks in the city: Getting to know the neighbours

The vast majority of Australians live in coastal cities. This means most of us have sharks as neighbours. Living alongside sharks in metropolitan cities in Australia requires urban resilience. Unlike birds…
Bigger houses (on the left) - not smaller lots - are killing the Aussie backyard. Bigger houses (on the left) - not smaller lots - are killing the Aussie backyard. Tony Hall

What has happened to the great Aussie backyard?

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Sir Rod Eddington: unless the rail networks are right, Australia’s cities won’t work properly. Sir Rod Eddington: unless the rail networks are right, Australia’s cities won’t work properly. Supplied

Sir Rod Eddington: ‘The infrastructure challenges are real’

Welcome to In Conversation; an ongoing series in which leading academics interview prominent public figures. In today’s instalment, Dr Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, sits…
Is Australia going down the East Asian high-rise route? Is Australia going down the East Asian high-rise route? eugene

The carbon devil in the detail on urban density

How dense could we be? Very, if you follow much of the commentary in Australian debates about the way we should plan our cities. High-rise residential developments have been springing up in all Australia’s…
South-east Queensland now has a 200km long city. South-east Queensland now has a 200km long city. dazza17-DJ

Colliding cities: have our cities slipped their metro moorings?

Despite the emphasis in Australia on the “compact city” foreshadowed in every major strategic metropolitan plan such as the South East Queensland Regional Plan; there is a growing trend towards “colliding…
Before the motorcar “owned” the road, cyclists weren’t seen as space-taking nuisance. Before the motorcar “owned” the road, cyclists weren’t seen as space-taking nuisance.

Wide Open Road: how did Australia plan pedestrians, cyclists and transit out of its cities?

The ABC documentary Wide Open Road is a totally fascinating history of the car in Australia. The characters who pioneered the car in the Australian bush 100 years ago are remarkable. The images of Australian…
How do you improve road safety? Simple: make it riskier. How do you improve road safety? Simple: make it riskier. La Citta Vita

Sharing streets: is the answer to get naked?

In August, Liberal MP Peter Phelps delivered a passionate rant in the NSW Upper House in which he called traffic lights a “Bolshevist menace”. He argued that traffic lights are on par with state repression…
European women love to get on their bikes. European women love to get on their bikes. kamshots/Flickr

Bikes as transport: getting Australian women along for the ride

Cycling for transport in Australia is characterised by several “missing” population groups: women, children, adolescents and older adults. Women comprise about one-fifth of commuter cyclists in Australia…
A new generation of architects is needed to build our cities. A new generation of architects is needed to build our cities. Flickr/MorBCN

Building the future with the next generation of architects

The “future” is something which manifests nowhere more potently than in our cities. Yet a substantial transformation over the past twenty years in the way cities are being made – both in terms of their…
Counterintuitively, the carbon tax may make it harder to get a bus. Counterintuitively, the carbon tax may make it harder to get a bus. Dale Gillard/Flickr

Public transport - collateral damage of our new carbon price

Transport accounts for 14% of Australia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has one of the fastest emission growth rates. Cutting our national emissions might, therefore, be expected to shine a blowtorch…
Australians over-consume water, energy and space. Australians over-consume water, energy and space. AAP

No sustainable population without sustainable consumption

In recent weeks, two major federal government strategy papers have been released: Our Cities, Our Future: A National Urban Policy for a Productive, Sustainable and Liveable Future and Sustainable Australia…
Why shouldn’t our public spaces be productive? Why shouldn’t our public spaces be productive? KayVee.INC/flickr

Getting the veggie garden out in public

Food. It is the great unifier of place and race, the common ground sustaining our very existence. Why then, does food production feature so minimally in public space and urban design? Under the weight…
Any solutions for Australia can’t ignore the suburbs. Any solutions for Australia can’t ignore the suburbs. mugley/Flickr

Making a place for policy in our suburbs

In the degreasing after the 2011 New South Wales election a lot was made of the supposed influence of western Sydney voters, their electoral motivations and allegiances. Western Sydney surely has its problems…
Australian cities have a long history of living up close. Australian cities have a long history of living up close. nicksarebi/Flickr

Planning to fail: the worst of urban worlds

This will be the century of urbanisation, when seven billion of almost 10 billion people will live in urban settlements. In Australia our urban sprawl is consuming land at a per capita rate that few countries…
Living large down under - Australians love big houses. Living large down under - Australians love big houses. travelskerrick/flickr

Do you want size with that? The McMansion malaise

Australia has long prided itself on being an equal society, and for most of the 20th century our housing was a mirror of that value or belief. Almost all houses were single-storey detached and, with the…
Melbourne and Sydney are set to become mega-cities, but there hasn’t been a coherent discussion about our population. Melbourne and Sydney are set to become mega-cities, but there hasn’t been a coherent discussion about our population. AAP/Torsten Blackwood

A country in search of a policy: the case for an Australian population target

The national debate about Australia’s population has been hijacked. It has been dominated by fears that we don’t have the infrastructure to cope with an influx of people, and differing views about migrants…
Getting out of the car: easy for some. Getting out of the car: easy for some. Hunter Desportes/Flickr

Driven to despair in Australia’s outer suburbs

In cities all over the industrial world, people are driving less. Changes to society and the structures of our cities have made jumping in the car less popular. But what does this mean for people who have…
Being paid to drive is becoming a thing of the past. Being paid to drive is becoming a thing of the past. Daniel Dionne/flickr

Federal Budget 2011: Honk your horn, the fringe benefits tax is changing

After 25 years, one of the craziest taxation rules in Australia is about to be fixed. The federal government is expected to announce a revamp of fringe benefits tax rules for company cars in Tuesday’s…
Trees provide services to cities that far outstrip their cost. Trees provide services to cities that far outstrip their cost. Tim Parkinson/flickr

Sustainable cities need trees, not freeways

As we worry about where we will put Australia’s ever-increasing population, urban trees are becoming collateral damage. So how much are our trees worth to us? According to Melbourne City Council, they…
Choked: Lagos crumbles under the weight of its population. Choked: Lagos crumbles under the weight of its population. AAP/Pius Utomi Ekpei

Urban trauma: Why we need to rethink our cities

We are entering an era of massive population transfer - a rural exodus of unprecedented proportions. In Asia and Africa farmers and peasants are being lured to mega-cities. This brings myriad benefits…
I don’t care what it is, I just want it to be on time. I don’t care what it is, I just want it to be on time. Drown/Flickr

Getting public transport right means less emphasis on rail

News of a new bus route will most likely be greeted with indifferent silence, but lobbying for a new train line can keep thousands of potential commuters busy for years on end. It seems that everyone loves…
Building away from our cities could ease congestion in urban areas. Building away from our cities could ease congestion in urban areas. AAP

Escape from Sydney: planning the way out of congestion

Bashing planning has become a national sport, and in NSW, we’re the best at it. Stuck in traffic? Blame the planners. Housing stress? Planners are too slow and too stingy with land release. In the perception…
Congestion charging will reduce Australian traffic loads. Congestion charging will reduce Australian traffic loads. Burning image/Flickr

The case for congestion charging in Australia

As you sit in your usual morning traffic jam, increasingly agitated, blood pressure flying, do you continually wonder “Why can’t they fix this mess?” Widen some roads. Build some new links. Improve the…

Research and News (3)

Expert views of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protests that started in New York have proved contagious. Sit-ins and attempted occupations have spread…

Research Briefs (10)

We don’t walk in the wet

It seems obvious, but a new study has found that people don’t walk as much when it’s cold or wet. Researchers monitored pedestrians…

Want to create jobs? Build a bike path

Research from Massachusetts has found that every dollar spent on cycling infrastructure creates more jobs than a dollar spent…