Articles on Cities & Policy

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We need to find new ways to deal with the complexity of modern cities and make them better. from www.shutterstock.com

Cities are complex systems – let’s start looking at them that way

There are very few approaches that examine all aspects of the complexity of urban design and development. Ergonomics, human factors and sociotechnical systems methods offer a way forward.
Customers who arrive on foot, by bicycle or by public transport contribute significantly more to the restaurant trade than the business owners realise. Mik Scheper/flickr

Parking isn’t as important for restaurants as the owners think it is

A new study shows that restaurateurs would be better off advocating for better public transport access to their precincts rather than for more parking.
Community murals can rekindle an area’s shared memories and sense of identity. Photo: Martin Purcell. Reproduced with permission

How murals helped turn a declining community around

Over the past 15 years, community groups in a rundown inner-city district have created public murals as part of a successful process of reversing decades of stagnation.
While many urban design guidelines include ambience as a required ‘city quality’, few provide ways to achieve it. Ayrcan/flickr

Unlocking the secrets of street ambience

Ambience is a result of a whole range of processes and physical objects. We can use a systems approach to examine and describe what needs to be done to achieve such a subjective quality in a street.
Treasurer Scott Morrison is eyeing bond aggregation as a way to finance social housing, but government funding is still needed under that model. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Affordable housing, finger-pointing politics and possible policy solutions

In the second part of our review of what The Conversation experts have to say about housing, we focus on affordability, social housing and what government can do about a growing crisis.
The Turnbull government’s line that supply is the key to affordability finds little support among housing experts. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

What housing issues should the budget tackle? This is what our experts say

Housing experts writing for The Conversation largely agree on the government policies that are causing negative distortions in the market and the wider economy. And supply is not the key concern.
Both Donald Trump and his political opponents are on board the global infrastructure bandwagon. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Making sense of the global infrastructure turn

The trillions of dollars spent on infrastructure demands democratic transparency and accountability. This applies to both the investment and to the effects on cities, societies and the environment.
Aspiring ‘smart cities’ like Barcelona have worked to build their profile – it recently hosted the Smart City Expo World Congress – but Australia may benefit from not having rushed in. Ramon Costa/AAP

From Smart Cities 1.0 to 2.0: it’s not (only) about the tech

Australia has lagged behind some other countries in its investment in smart cities, but in retrospect that may not have been such a bad thing.
The 2016 storm that blacked out South Australia had everyone talking about a critical infrastructure failure. David Mariuz/AAP

What’s critical about critical infrastructure?

Critical infrastructure is our means of survival as an urban species. So, we must identify what is critical, for whom and how it might fail us.
People with intellectual disability face so many barriers to finding a home of their own that it’s hard to pick one. shutterstock

The forgotten 660,000 locked out of home ownership

Think it's hard for first-home buyers? Ask people with an intellectual disability about it.

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