Articles on Urban design

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A quirk in the planning rules enabled the Primaries Warehouse in Fremantle to be redeveloped as a model of progressive higher-density design. Stuart Smith/Panoramio

Reinventing density: bending the rules can help stop urban sprawl

Exceptional projects can emerge when regulations are sensibly relaxed due to context. A Fremantle project is a model of progressive higher-density possibilities resulting from flexible planning rules.
More than cluster of people and buildings, urbanity is a concentration of encounters and connections. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’

We're still in the early days of understanding how cities work. But we do know that creative, healthy and productive cities have certain things in common - and it's all to do with their 'urban DMA'.
Connecting cities should serve all citizens, not just a few. Illustration via shutterstock.com

How to ensure smart cities benefit everyone

Design will make the difference between smart city projects offering great promise or actually reinforcing or even widening the existing gaps in unequal ways their cities serve residents.
Renaissance master Andrea Palladio designed Villa La Rotonda with rooms of various characters, which at night served as viewing boxes for fireworks displays in the surrounding landscape. Bogna/Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: why a building and its rooms should have a human character

Might we enjoy our homes more if their rooms were characterised by their sense of loftiness or intimacy or cheerfulness or melancholy rather than lifeless labels such as 'media room' or 'home office'?
Koala numbers are in decline through increased urbanisation, but they can find a safe passage if one’s provided. Shutterstock/dirkr

Safe passage: we can help save koalas through urban design

Koala numbers in parts of Australia are in decline as they move from development of their land. But they can learn to take safer routes if they are built as part of the urban design.
Since the 1960s, environmentalism in Australia has largely focused on defending “wilderness”. yophotography/flickr

Reimagining NSW: going beyond ‘wilderness’ and finding fresh ways to relate to our environment

Since the 1960s, environmentalism in Australia has largely focused on defending "wilderness". However, protected areas in themselves are not stemming the destruction of biodiversity.
Jane Jacobs holds up documentary evidence at a 1961 press conference during the campaign to save the West Village. Wikimedia Commons

What might Jane Jacobs say about smart cities?

In an age of data-driven urban science, we need to remember how Jane Jacobs gave voice to the multiple languages, meanings, experiences and knowledge systems of a vibrant city.
Mature gum trees will be important for visual amenity among the higher-density residences being built to house a population growing at 5.1% a year for the next two decades. AAP/McGregor Coxall

Move over suburbia, Green Square offers new norm for urban living

The Green Square urban renewal area – expected to be Sydney's most densely populated area by 2030 – represents a new paradigm of urban living.
Streetlife density in Florence – urban buzz or overcrowding? Kim Dovey

Urban density matters – but what does it mean?

One person's high density may be another's sprawl; the same tall building may be experienced as oppressive or exhilarating; a "good crowd" for one can be "overcrowded" for another.
Some materials and surfaces radiate much more heat (red areas) than others, as can be seen in this thermal image of Arncliffe Street in Wolli Creek, Sydney.

Building cool cities for a hot future

Hot spots occur at the scale of where people live – the building, the street, the block – which means urban design and building materials have profound implications for our health and well-being.
The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour. 'It's Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne', Tourism Victoria

Why we should design smart cities for getting lost

If smart cities run on big data and algorithms that channel only 'relevant' information and opinions to us, how do we maintain the diversity of ideas and possibilities that drives truly smart cities?

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