Articles on Cities & Policy

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For young women in Queensland, the risk of unwanted sexual attention is high when they go out at night. vchalShutterstock

Unwanted sexual attention plagues young women going out at night

Rates of unwelcome advances haven't changed under Queensland's 'Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence' policies. In one entertainment district, it happened to 26% of women the night they were interviewed.
Queenslanders are drinking heavily when they go out and breathalyser tests show most don’t realise how drunk they are.

Queenslanders are among our heaviest drinkers on nights out, and changing that culture is a challenge

Even after 'Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence' policies took effect in 2016, Queenslanders still drink more heavily on nights out. Reported levels of aggression are higher than in other states too.
Public alarm at alcohol-related violence led the Queensland government to change liquor licensing laws in 2016. The results of a two-year evaluation are now in. Qld Police/AAP

Lessons from Queensland on alcohol, violence and the night-time economy

A comprehensive two-year evaluation of statewide measures introduced in 2016 has shown it's possible to reduce alcohol-related violence while also producing economic benefits.
Urban greening is just one aspect of the transformation required to ensure our future cities are sustainable, liveable places. Matt Leane/Shutterstock

If we want liveable cities in 2060 we’ll have to work together to transform urban systems

Future Earth Australia is working to create a long-term national plan of transformation for our cities. As part of this, everyone in Australia is invited to have their say in a survey.
When neighbourhoods lose their corner stores, they also lose a place where people meet and feel like part of their local community. Susan Fitzgerald/Flickr

More than milk and bread: corner store revival can rebuild neighbourhood ties

As neighbourhoods lost their milk bars, they also lost a daily point of connection for locals. But all is not lost. In some areas, the humble corner store is making a comeback.
Older Australians aspire to the security of owning their own home, but prefer smaller houses in their later years. yopinco/Shutterstock

What sort of housing do older Australians want and where do they want to live?

Most older Australians want to live in a home they own, preferably in the middle and outer suburbs of a city. But increasing numbers look unlikely to realise their housing aspirations.
The Bangladesh government wants Karail, an established community of 200,000 people in the capital Dhaka, to make way for development. Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World/flickr

What sort of ‘development’ has no place for a billion slum dwellers?

A community of 200,000 in Dhaka faces eviction to make room for "development". Is it time to rethink the concept, especially with a billion people now living in informal settlements worldwide?
In low-rent outer suburbs, almost one in six households could not afford to keep their house cool and went without meals. ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

Private renters are doing it tough in outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne

While politicians ignore calls to raise Newstart, alarming levels of financial stress among private renters, particularly in low-rent outer suburbs, show why current welfare payments are too low.
The damaging effects of housing disadvantage on people’s mental health can persist even years after their housing situation improves. Lovely Bird/Shutterstock

Poor housing leaves its mark on our mental health for years to come

The difficulties for people facing housing disadvantage don't end as soon as their situation improves. They are at higher risk of poorer mental health years or even decades later.
Imagine Hyde Park in Sydney without its tree cover … the impact on this space and the many people who spend time in it would be profound. EA Given/Shutterstock

Increasing tree cover may be like a ‘superfood’ for community mental health

Cities around Australia have plans to increase their green space, but new research shows not all green spaces are equal. Good tree cover is better than grassed areas for residents' mental health.
Australian cities could lose some of their most common trees to climate change. Jamen Percy/Shutterstock

Our cities need more trees, but some commonly planted ones won’t survive climate change

Thirty tree species make up more than half of Australia's urban forests. Some won't survive climate change, so cities must plant a more diverse mix of the right species to preserve their tree cover.
Car parking occupies a large proportion of urban areas, and cities cannot keep sacrificing so much space to meet demand. Neil Sipe

What can our cities do about sprawl, congestion and pollution? Tip: scrap car parking

The global trend is to free up valuable city space by reducing parking and promoting other forms of transport that don't clog roads and pollute the air. Australian cities are still putting cars first.
The clearest change following the introduction of 24-hour public transport was that people were observed to be getting more intoxicated. bbernard/Shutterstock

All-night public transport hasn’t reduced alcohol-related harm in Melbourne

A program aimed at getting people home safely has cost A$300 million but has had little impact, aside from increased intoxication in CBD venues. Rates of assaults and road crashes are much the same.
Government ministers responded to the construction industry crisis by announcing a national approach to implementing recommendations of a report they commissioned in 2017 and received 17 months ago. Bianca De Marchi/AAP

Ministers fiddle while buildings crack and burn

The construction industry crisis didn't happen overnight. Authorities have been on notice for years to fix the problems that now have the industry itself calling for better regulation.
Public libraries can use their status as community hubs to engage the public in scenario planning for the future. Mosman Library/Flickr

How public libraries can help prepare us for the future

We commonly think of libraries as repositories of knowledge accumulated over centuries. But the public library also connects people in ways that can enable communities to plan for their future.
Many commuters already travel from regional cities to work in capital cities like Melbourne so what impacts will fast rail have? Alpha/Flickr

Regional cities beware – fast rail might lead to disadvantaged dormitories, not booming economies

While governments focus on how to ease congestion and make affordable housing more accessible for workers in our biggest cities, fast rail could be a mixed blessing for regional cities.

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