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The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s climate “hot spots” — vulnerable to rising seas, storms and erosion. Phalinn Ooi/Flickr

Cities could be the secret to fighting climate change

The world’s population could reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Most people will live in cities. To accommodate an additional 3 billion people, we’ll need to build the equivalent of one new city, that can…
The inner suburbs of Melbourne are surprisingly more leafy than the outer suburbs. Andrew

Fewer trees leave the outer suburbs out in the heat

When you look out of your window in the morning, how many trees do you see? Your answer might depend on what suburb you live in. As you go further from the city centre, the amount of tree cover in a suburb…
Time to develop all the regions. Daniel Nisbet

Building a northern powerhouse doesn’t stop at Manchester

Greater Manchester is to get its own directly elected mayor to preside over regional issues. The new mayor will have powers over transport, housing, planning and policing in a devolution deal worth more…
Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, offers an idea of how pleasant and practical the Velotopian dream of a bike-friendly city might be. AAP/Visit Denmark

Utopia: seriously, good urban planning should aspire to it

The Australian television satire Utopia invited the public along for a laugh that architects and planners have been sharing for decades. We laugh at the idea of utopia to disassociate ourselves from the…
Does this look like a conservative city to you? Ixnayonthetimmay

Mesa’s ‘most conservative’ title is puzzling

Mesa, Arizona: a place with wide streets and narrow minds. Or so goes a once popular saying about this traditionally laid-back, conservative community that came into official existence in 1883 as a Mormon…
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’. 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. 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…
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…
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. 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? 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…

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