Articles on Urban design

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Public bikes are meant to complement a city’s existing mass transit network, so the location of docking stations is critical. MusikAnimal/Wikimedia

Chicago, New York discounted most public input in expanding bike systems

Under 10 percent of new Citi Bike and Divvy bike docks are sited where residents suggested using interactive online maps, a new study shows. But that doesn't mean city officials weren't listening.
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.
Cairns has lots of hard grey infrastructure but much less green infrastructure that would reduce the impacts of the city’s growth. Karine Dupré

Cities can grow without wrecking reefs and oceans. Here’s how

Urbanisation is the main reason for rising temperatures and water pollution, but receives little attention in discussions about the health of water streams, reefs and oceans.
Loneliness has become a global epidemic, and urban design can be either part of the problem or the solution. Melbourne School of Design

Designing cities to counter loneliness? Let’s explore the possibilities

The cities we build in turn shape our society. So when so many of us feel lonely, we should aim to apply what we know about the social impacts of design to help people connect with each other.
Seven years after Tahrir Square became the focal point of the Egyptian Revolution, towering metal gates now control access. Ahmed Abd El-Fatah/Wikimedia

How city squares can be public places of protest or centres of state control

Today’s urban public spaces tend to represent governments and cities rather than people and citizens. Architects and urban designers should contribute to shaping spaces for freedom and interaction.
Street in Hangzhou, China, with trees separating a cycle track from road traffic and from the sidewalk. Xu Wen

Designing greener streets starts with finding room for bicycles and trees

Many US cities are investing in bike infrastructure and shade trees. Properly located, these additions can make streets cooler, cleaner and safer for all users – even those who drive.
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 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.
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.
Planning and design for healthy, liveable communities in the Australian tropics can involve quite different considerations from those that apply down south. Silvia Tavares

Making a global agenda work locally for healthy, sustainable living in tropical Australia

There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan for sustainable, healthy urban living. Urban diaries help identify what works – and doesn't work – for tropical cities like Cairns or Townsville.
A public barbecue in Lyndhurst, New South Wales, does the job but could be so much better. Mattinbgn/Wikimedia

The public barbie, an Aussie icon frozen in time

The need for public cooking facilities has long been recognised, but why has the basic public barbecue failed to evolve along with Australians, their lifestyles and the foods they eat?
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.

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