Articles on Cities & Policy

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Australia is a long way from achieving responsible consumption and production – SDG 12 – and China exposed the reliance on shifting the problem elsewhere when it stopped accepting waste for recycling. Joe Castro/AAP

Business as usual? The Sustainable Development Goals apply to Australian cities too

Australia has yet to properly acknowledge that the Sustainable Development Goals aren't just an issue for other countries. The problems that demand our attention are much closer to home.
Children in suburbs with low levels of education and employment and high rates of poverty and crime are also missing out on the experiences that help make upwards social mobility possible. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Young Australians’ prospects still come down to where they grow up

Children growing up in the most disadvantaged suburbs also lack the social opportunities to develop skills and aspirations that would improve their prospects in life.
The southern elevation of Two Pavilion House, showing the separate pavilions that give the house its flexibility. Image: Scott Burrows

We need more flexible housing for 21st-century lives

People living with the change and uncertainty of this century need flexible and adaptable housing. Here we look at a couple of examples of what's possible.
Autonomous vehicles are coming to our cities – in fact, driverless buses are already on the road in Adelaide. David Mariuz/AAP

Why driverless vehicles should not be given unchecked access to our cities

To maximise the benefits and limit the costs, the use of autonomous vehicles should be pooled and their access to the city restricted.
Vendors in Australia are not legally obliged to tell prospective buyers about past crimes such as murder committed on the property. Dan Peled/AAP

What should buyers of a house be told about it?

It's still mostly a case of 'buyer beware' when it comes to finding out about a property. But many buyers feel they should be told if, for example, it was the scene of a violent murder.
The housing boom increased wealth gains for affluent households while rising housing costs undermined income gains for less affluent households. Sam Mooy/AAP

How the housing boom has driven rising inequality

The Productivity Commission neglected the impact of housing costs. After allowing for these costs, the top 10% of households' average disposable income grew at 2.7 times the rate of the bottom 10%.
Getting more out of ‘lazy’ land, such as this community housing built over a Port Phillip City Council-owned car park, is a key strategy to reduce the shortage of affordable housing. CIty of Port Phillip

Put unused and ‘lazy’ land to work to ease the affordable housing crisis

As Melbourne's population hits 5 million, it's a reminder that growing cities must make much better use of vacant and underused land to meet the urgent need for affordable housing.
Local councils across Australia are concerned about a shortage of affordable housing, but feel the problem is beyond local government’s capacity to solve. Dave Hunt/AAP

Local councils put affordable housing supply in the too hard basket

A national survey shows councils know much of the housing in their local areas isn't affordable. But providing affordable housing is not a priority because they see it as being beyond their means.
In poorer communities, shared spaces tend to be poorly maintained and utilitarian. from shutterstock.com

Our urban environment doesn’t only reflect poverty, it amplifies it

We wear our surroundings like a cloak. Lower-income communities often live in environments that discourage healthy, outdoor activities. This perpetuates their poorer health and traps them in poverty.
The return of the historic problem of overcrowded dwellings points to a need in Australia for better understanding of the causes and regulatory responses. Jacob Riis (1889)

Overcrowded housing looms as a challenge for our cities

The standards we use today were designed to help avoid the overcrowded housing that blighted cities in the past. But severe overcrowding is again on the rise, so what needs to be done?
Areas with higher-density apartment living, such as Rhodes in Sydney, are home to many overseas-born residents. Marcus Jaaske/Shutterstock

Higher density and diversity: apartments are Australia at its most multicultural

The combination of higher-density living and increasing cultural diversity means we need to think about how to build social cohesion and make the most of the opportunities of apartment living.
The big global cities might be engines of growth but are also where the deepest troughs of poverty and injustice are found. Jorge CMS/Shutterstock

Aim for cities of all sizes to give everyone a fair go

The largest cities in Australia and the US are both the richest and the most likely to push out low-income earners. Having cities of all sizes will increase people's choices of where to live and work.
When cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians come together at an intersection, design makes the difference between collisions and safety. pxhere

We can design better intersections that are safer for all users

Collisions at intersections between motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians cause many deaths and injuries. Design that considers how each group approaches intersections improves everyone's safety.
Ant colonies direct traffic flows of millions of individuals along the best routes – army ants even manage inbound and outbound lanes – but how? Geoff Gallice/Wikimedia

Nature’s traffic engineers have come up with many simple but effective solutions

Insects aren't known for having big brains, and slime moulds and fungi don't have any. So how do they solve challenges that test the ingenuity of human transport engineers?
Businesses are weighing up the costs of queuing and using innovative ways to do away with queues, or at least make the perceptions of waiting less painful. Michal Parzuchowski/Unsplash

Fed up with always being in the slow queue? That’s why queues are being ‘designed out’

Businesses are weighing up the costs of queuing and using innovative ways to minimise these costs by doing away with queues.

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