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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…
Looks lovely. But what’s it for? Graeme Churchard

How to make the green belt productive – but still green

England’s green belts have had, and continue to have, a major impact on town planning. The idea of a ring of countryside surrounding an urban area to prevent sprawl originated in the 1930s and spread to…
Automatically labelling people as NIMBYs if they have concerns about local power projects is not a constructive way to proceed. Grahamec/Wikimedia Commons

Calling people NIMBYs won’t stop development arguments

From coal seam gas to wind farms, new resource projects seem to be pitting communities against corporations, and people against their neighbours. We often see, in such cases, community concerns labelled…
Coasts are at risk from rising seas, but that risk could be alleviated by coastal ecosystems such as mangroves. Sheep"R"Us/Flickr

How wetlands can help us adapt to rising seas

Instead of costly levees and seawalls, coastal ecosystems could offer an alternative way to protect Australia’s coastal communities from rising seas, saving money and storing carbon along the way. Sea…
Eroded beaches in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast, May 2013. John Reid, Environment Studio, ANU School of Art

Scrapping sea level protection puts Australian homes at risk

As the science on the coastal impacts of climate change gets stronger, the protections for Australia’s coastal communities are getting weaker. If that continues, everyone will pay. Along the eastern seaboard…
The best objectives of Plan Melbourne lack any real mechanisms or scope for implementation. AAP/David Crosling

Back-to-front decision-making bedevils Melbourne’s city planning

Metropolitan planning is an enormous undertaking, and no Australian government has yet appeared up to the task. That includes the strategy for Melbourne that the Victorian government has been preparing…
The world, north of the M25. HS2

HS2: how will it affect my town?

Professor Peter Mackie Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds Leeds and its metropolitan region should be one of the big winners from HS2. Financial and legal services, engineering consultancy…
The proposed HS2 line near Altofts, south of Leeds: big changes, but who decides? HS2

HS2: how do we resolve megaproject planning?

The UK’s largest infrastructure projects of coming decades have been wrapped in controversy: the HS2 high-speed rail line linking London to the north is mired in political wrangling and disputed facts…
It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? Gareth Fuller/PA

Hard evidence: is it possible to forecast HS2’s benefits?

The recent publication of the government’s strategic case for HS2 has added to mounting concerns about the strength and validity of evidence put forward to support the project. Previously, the business…
Sometimes the best plans aren’t enough. Ben Birchall/PA

Overhaul the planning system to boost building of better homes

As a planning academic you might think that I get heavily involved in the planning system – commenting on draft development plans, or objecting to proposed developments – but actually I tend to steer clear…
England’s green and pleasant land: will biodiversity offsetting help or hinder it? Gareth Fuller/PA

Biodiversity offsets may drive growth, but duck the problem

The idea behind biodiversity offsets is to develop a new way of preserving nature that more accurately accounts for the value to us of the natural world. The abundance and diversity of plants and animals…
There’s more wind in Scotland than in England, and not just in the pipes. Danny Lawson/PA

It’s advantage Scotland when it comes to wind power

A frequent claim heard is that the UK is Europe’s windiest country. This is a partial truth; Scotland is the windiest country, whereas England is far from the windiest. To see the truth of this one need…
A change in Premier should be Victoria’s chance to re-embrace wind power. Instinia/Flickr

Napthine should revisit Victoria’s wind farm planning laws

Earlier this month, Victorians woke to the news that they had a new premier: Dennis Napthine, member for the South-West Coast District, would take over from Ted Baillieu to lead the state. As climate change…
How prepared can we be for record floods? AAP Image/Dan Peled

Queensland floods: motivation to get flood planning right

Parts of Queensland and New South Wales have big floods again with people being evacuated, properties flooded and tragically some fatalities. We have heard reports of hundreds of millimetres of rainfall…
Overshadowed by private interests: Barangaroo’s current design essentially privatises the shoreline. AAP/Supplied

Barangaroo: Development interests counter the public interest

In 2006, Philip Thalis was part of the team which won an international design competition to revitalise Barangaroo. Three years later, the government abandoned their approved plan, opting instead for a…
Locals in Mamberamo, Papua, support conservation, but also want services and development projects; now they’re getting involved in land use planning. Mokhamad Edliadi (CIFOR)

Maps for the people: Papuans planning how their land is used

When people ask us about our research, we answer: we are working on land-use planning. We rarely receive another question. Most of the time, after seconds of embarrassed silence, people move swiftly to…
Dealing with the law is intimidating, now Queensland wants to make it more expensive as well. Martin Howard

Scales of justice tipping against the community in Queensland

The cost of litigation is a barbed wire fence that stops many people using our court system. This fence becomes a towering barrier when people are trying to protect not their private interests, but something…

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