Here's how social and political power can come together in cities, to counteract the focus on short-term profit.
Place-making: a seasonal beach in Campus Martius Park, Detroit 2014.
Big ideas and big dollars have been invested in making 'memorable' places. Paradoxically, as similar solutions are adapted in diverse settings worldwide, this can lead to an uneasy new placelessness.
The closure of the Myer store would once have been a crippling blow for Fremantle, but now it is a site of new activity and possibilities.
City of Fremantle
The rise in temporary use of urban space requires a looser planning vision that can draw on this new type of city-making to inform longer-term developments.
German developer Jörg Duske has built student accommodation out of recycled shipping containers.
Holzer Kobler Architekturen
The humble shipping container is sparking a revolution in architecture, plug and play infrastructure, portable labs and many other innovations.
Design for upgrades to the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
Courtesy Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is getting an A $200 million upgrade. It's a chance to rectify some glaring faults, but in our risk-averse times, the outcome will be decided by committees.
Renaissance master Andrea Palladio designed Villa La Rotonda with rooms of various characters, which at night served as viewing boxes for fireworks displays in the surrounding landscape.
Might we enjoy our homes more if their rooms were characterised by their sense of loftiness or intimacy or cheerfulness or melancholy rather than lifeless labels such as 'media room' or 'home office'?
Koala numbers are in decline through increased urbanisation, but they can find a safe passage if one’s provided.
Koala numbers in parts of Australia are in decline as they move from development of their land. But they can learn to take safer routes if they are built as part of the urban design.
Since the 1960s, environmentalism in Australia has largely focused on defending “wilderness”.
Since the 1960s, environmentalism in Australia has largely focused on defending "wilderness". However, protected areas in themselves are not stemming the destruction of biodiversity.
Jane Jacobs holds up documentary evidence at a 1961 press conference during the campaign to save the West Village.
In an age of data-driven urban science, we need to remember how Jane Jacobs gave voice to the multiple languages, meanings, experiences and knowledge systems of a vibrant city.
Mature gum trees will be important for visual amenity among the higher-density residences being built to house a population growing at 5.1% a year for the next two decades.
The Green Square urban renewal area – expected to be Sydney's most densely populated area by 2030 – represents a new paradigm of urban living.
Streetlife density in Florence – urban buzz or overcrowding?
One person's high density may be another's sprawl; the same tall building may be experienced as oppressive or exhilarating; a "good crowd" for one can be "overcrowded" for another.
Hard surfaces increase the risk of urban flooding.
Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr
A proliferation of concrete is increasing the risk of urban flooding. The solution? More gardens.
Some materials and surfaces radiate much more heat (red areas) than others, as can be seen in this thermal image of Arncliffe Street in Wolli Creek, Sydney.
Hot spots occur at the scale of where people live – the building, the street, the block – which means urban design and building materials have profound implications for our health and well-being.
The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour.
'It's Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne', Tourism Victoria
If smart cities run on big data and algorithms that channel only 'relevant' information and opinions to us, how do we maintain the diversity of ideas and possibilities that drives truly smart cities?
The size and pace of activity in Tokyo can be overwhelming, but at the human scale the city has an incredibly rich layering of experiences built over generations.
The concept of living heritage can help us make decisions that go beyond preserving historical facades to protect and add to, rather than freeze, the stories and layers of the past.
The city of light has found a way to draw on the resources of the private sector, while looking after the interests of its citizens.
To lawn or not to lawn, that is the question.
As summer rolls on once again you're despairing at a brown lawn. Perhaps you should embrace a shabbier backyard.
Trees take more planning than you might think.
Planting more trees in our cities is a good idea, but we need to remember to plan ahead for conditions those trees might encounter when they mature in half a century's time.
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.
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.
Everyone has experienced it. Striding along in a purposeful hurry, your progress is thwarted by a slow-moving pedestrian, dawdling along the pavement. Perhaps they’re talking into their mobile phone, looking…