Articles on Liveable cities

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Dalian is an emerging city and tourist destination in China, but its urban spaces could be improved in many ways. Paul J Martin/Shutterstock

China can learn from Australian urban design, but it’s not all one-way traffic

Australia has well established urban design guidelines, whereas many Chinese cities don't have any – and it shows. But Australia can also learn from China.
Car parking is such a pervasive feature of our cities that we have become blind to how much space it takes up. Shuang Li/Shutterstock

Of all the problems our cities need to fix, lack of car parking isn’t one of them

Australian cities have a glut of parking, even as politicians move to protect parking spaces or promise even more. There are better ways to keep congestion manageable and our cities liveable.
The main concern when talking about the liveability of a city like Melbourne should be sustaining the health and well-being of residents. Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock

Seven steps Melbourne can take to regain its ‘liveable city’ crown

Rather than mourn the end of a seven-year reign as 'world's most liveable city', Melbourne could raise its sights to become more liveable, healthy and sustainable for all who live in the city.
Residents of the outer suburbs like the green spaces and sense of community, but lament the lack of access to transport and other services. theskaman306/Shutterstock

Living ‘liveable’: this is what residents have to say about life on the urban fringe

Much of the growth in our cities is in the outer suburbs, now home to around 5 million people. And that creates problems like traffic that detract from the advantages residents see in living there.
Uninviting, car-dominated streets, like this one in Melbourne, reduce our experience menu by discouraging beneficial activities like walking and sharing places with other people. Daniel Bowen/Flickr

Is your ‘experience diet’ making you unwell?

If the menu of potential activities that do us good is made to look uninviting or challenging, we are more likely to choose the easier but less healthy option.
Melbourne and Sydney have similar access to public transport overall, but this and other liveability indicators vary greatly across the cities. Julian Smith/AAP

Melbourne or Sydney? This is how our two biggest cities compare for liveability

Every year, our big cities vie for global liveability honours. But as well as differences between the cities, liveability varies widely within them, leaving plenty of work to be done.
Vienna knocked Melbourne out of its seven-year-long top spot as the ‘world’s most liveable city’. from shutterstock.com

The world’s ‘most liveable city’ title isn’t a measure of the things most of us actually care about

The world's "most liveable city" ranking is based on an index designed for companies sending their employees overseas. It's not relevant to the average person.
A smart city is usually one connected and managed through computing — sensors, data analytics and other information and communications technology. from shutterstock.com

Technology is making cities ‘smart’, but it’s also costing the environment

As cities become 'smarter', they need more and more objects fitted with technology. We need to think about designing these objects to accommodate computers, which often break down and create e-waste.
The same things tend to make people happy - such as nature and colour. (Jardin des Curiosités, Lyon, France) Léonard Cotte/Unsplash

Look up #happycity and here’s what you’ll find

We searched Instagram for city images people associated with happiness. And they consistently included similar features, such as water, nature and heritage buildings.
Shepparton residents are clearly disadvantaged by having far fewer daily train services to Melbourne than other regional centres. Alex1991/Wikimedia

Rail access improves liveability, but all regional centres are not equal

Regional areas are expanding, and yet not enough attention is being paid to improving rail access to capital cities. This affects the liveability of the areas.
Being in a park tends to make people feel more positive, although the time of day and the season also affect their moods. leungchopan/Shutterstock

Tweet all about it – people in parks feel more positive

The positive mood of tweets varies with time of day and season, but it's consistently higher in parks than in built-up areas, where people are more likely to express anger and fears.
Originating in the Netherlands, the concept of ‘woonerfs’, areas designed to invite walking, playing, socialising and cycling while curbing motor vehicles, has spread to cities in other countries, including Berlin. Eric Sehr/Flickr

Designing the compassionate city to overcome built-in biases and help us live better

All around us, the places we inhabit send us physical and visual cues that influence our behaviour. Good design can tilt the balance so our surroundings help us act in ways that fulfil our needs.
Health objectives are at last being integrated into all levels of planning in New South Wales, from cities and towns to local places and buildings. pisaphotography/Shutterstock

With health assuming its rightful place in planning, here are 3 key lessons from NSW

The connections between city planning and health are many and varied, but getting health objectives integrated into all aspects of planning in New South Wales has been a long struggle.
‘Soft fall’ surfaces are widely used in play areas where children might fall, but can also get very hot in the sun, which undermines this safety benefit. Brisbane City Council/Flickr

Materials that make heat worse for our kids demand a rethink by designers

Commonly used surfaces in play areas, such as "soft fall" materials and Astroturf, can heat up to 80-100°C in the sun. This makes them a hazardous design choice, especially as the climate gets hotter.
The White Night festival is an example of Melbourne’s efforts to promote itself as a convivial city. John Gollings/AAP supplied

The quest for the convivial city: how do ours fare?

Australian cities generally minimise negative attributes such as crime, segregation and violence, but developing positive attributes such as inclusivity appears more challenging.

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