Articles on Urban density

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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 drain carries water but does little else, but imagine how different the neighbourhood would be if the drain could be transformed into a living stream. Zoe Myers

More than just drains: recreating living streams through the suburbs

Drains take up precious but inaccessible open space in our cities. Converting these to living streams running through the suburbs could make for healthier places in multiple ways.
Green space, easily accessible to everyone no matter what their income, should be a priority in designing high-density residential areas. Marcus Jaaske from www.shutterstock.com

What’s equity got to do with health in a higher-density city?

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.
Much of what is being built is straightforward ‘investor grade product’ – flats built to attract the burgeoning investment market. Bill Randolph

Why investor-driven urban density is inevitably linked to disadvantage

The inexorable logic of the market will create suburban concentrations of lower-income households on a scale hitherto only experienced in the legacy inner-city high-rise public housing estates.
Forty years on, there is still resistance to mixing with the ‘sort of people’ who were segregated in social housing tower blocks. David Jackmanson/flickr

Class divide defies social mixing and keeps public housing stigma alive

Even where communities are mixed, many inner-city families go to extraordinary financial and geographic lengths to ensure their children do not go to school with children from 'the flats'.
The uniquely weak regulation of high-rise, high-density development exemplifies the market-driven growth of Australian cities. Julian Smith/AAP

Market-driven compaction is no way to build an ecocity

Achieving the goal of sustainable cities depends on rolling back the market after decades of privatisation and deregulation.
Whether it’s pressures of space or a warmer climate, which is affecting Melbourne’s elms, urban greening must respond to the challenges of 21st-century urban living. Joe Castro/AAP

Higher-density cities need greening to stay healthy and liveable

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.
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 Collective Old Oak co-living block in London has more than 500 apartments with bedrooms and bathrooms. All other spaces are shared. David Hawgood/Geograph

Reinventing density: co-living, the second domestic revolution

While some forms of co-living seek to match modern lifestyles and a desire to downsize, other profit-driven models simply exploit a lack of affordable housing alternatives.
Officer Woods’ competition entry shows how the wasted spaces of suburban road verges and front yards could be put to much better uses. Officer Woods

Reinventing density: overcoming the suburban setback

The front yards, footpaths and verges of Australian suburbs are spaces overdue for reinvention.
More than cluster of people and buildings, urbanity is a concentration of encounters and connections. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’

We're still in the early days of understanding how cities work. But we do know that creative, healthy and productive cities have certain things in common – and it's all to do with their 'urban DMA'.
The continued preference for detached housing in new suburbs is driving Perth’s urban sprawl and means two-thirds of dwellings built over the next 15 years need to be on infill sites to meet the state’s target. perthhdproductions/flickr

To cut urban sprawl, we need quality infill housing displays to win over the public

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.

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