Articles on Liveable cities

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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.
It’s important to young Australians to be able to walk and feel safe while doing so. Victoria Walks ©

Young people want walkable neighbourhoods, but safety is a worry

The benefits of walking are widely promoted, but most Australian communities still aren't walker-friendly. Young people, who rely heavily on walking to get around, are clear about what has to change.
The old Pratt Street power plant in Baltimore in the US is now home to commercial uses. But the heritage preservation is compromised by advertising that is not sympathetic to the building style and design. Wikimedia Commons

Sustainable re-use and recycling work for heritage buildings and places too

Adaptively re-using buildings can preserve heritage while enabling new uses that help make cities more liveable and sustainable.
The right side of the ‘latte line’ in Sydney, looking across Paddington towards Bondi Junction and the eastern suburbs. R. Freestone

Australian cities and their metropolitan plans still seem to be parallel universes

The State of Australian Cities Conference begins in Adelaide today. In major cities across the nation, there's a stark contrast between lofty planning goals and the sprawling reality on the ground.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff launch Sidewalk Toronto, a high-tech urban development project. Mark Blinch/Reuters

Can a tech company build a city? Ask Google

Toronto has entered a joint venture with a Google sister company to create a high-tech urban development area. The goal is to 're-imagine cities from the internet up' – Google's internet, of course.
Connections between people and between people and places help create vibrant neighbourhoods with a sense of human identity and belonging. Picture by Tommy Wong

A city that forgets about human connections has lost its way

The secret of creating attractive, liveable places sounds deceptively simple: connect people to places, people to transport and people to people.
Stony Creek drain: untidy and often slightly threatening, informal green space still has value for residents, which appropriate intervention can enhance.

How do we turn a drain into valued green space? First, ask the residents

Residents often have concerns about informal green space but some still use it. Work to enhance these areas should aim to resolve these concerns without destroying what residents do value.

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