The Crown Casino rising over the Barangaroo precinct on Sydney Harbor was approved without a competitive tender or public planning assessments.
Overseas, city-shaping mega-projects are generally overseen by local government, but in Australia state governments often step in and exclude council and community representatives from the process.
Demonstrations against freeway construction in Melbourne included a street barricade erected in protest at the F19 extension of the Eastern Freeway.
Barricade! – the resident fight against the F19
Public protests eventually forced the scrapping of some proposed freeways in 1973. Today, we have another round of projects and people are protesting again, with good reason. Government should listen.
When politicians use selected modelling results to justify their decisions on contentious projects like Melbourne’s North East Link, the credibility of transport models suffers by association.
Transport modelling has been tarnished by its use to justify the predetermined projects politicians favour. But, if used more transparently, it's a valuable tool for planning our future cities.
The Melbourne Transportation Plan included every freeway and major arterial road built in the city since 1969.
While called a transportation plan,
it was heavily skewed towards roads. We need the type of city-shaping thinking that underpinned the plan, but today's plans must match 21st-century priorities.
Compliance with the National Construction Code provides no guarantee that an apartment won’t leak.
Governments and regulators assume compliance with building regulations will restore public confidence. But complying with the National Construction Code won't fix many common defects.
Many houses still do not have cyclone-ready roofs, so are liable to lose them if hit by the full force of the storm.
Most homes are not as cyclone-ready as they could be. It seems lower insurance premiums aren't enough of an incentive for owners to upgrade their homes, but a new study points to some solutions.
The Australian and Victorian governments have both promised funding for a Melbourne Airport rail link, but a private consortium’s unsolicited proposal is also on the table.
Unsolicited market proposals are not transparently assessed. Infrastructure should be built to serve the public interest, not shaped by its private backers, but the checks to ensure this are broken.
Greater Dandenong Civic Centre was completed in 2014 with new council chambers, a library and Harmony Square.
Photo: Hayley Henderson
A major investment in renewing the urban centre of Dandenong is starting to pay dividends. But while research has found three keys to success, the benefits haven't reached everyone.
Autonomous vehicles can only travel at speed at close quarters in the absence of human drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
Self-driving vehicles that constantly roam the streets looking for passengers could overwhelm cities. But, if kept in check, these vehicles could be useful for improving urban transport.
Waters from the Herbert River, which runs toward one of northern Australia’s richest agricultural districts, could be redirected under a Bradfield scheme.
The ‘New Bradfield’ scheme seeks to revive a nation-building ethos supposedly stifled by bureaucratic inertia. But there are good reasons the scheme never became a reality.
It isn’t just that city dwellers assume superiority, some Australians living in rural and regional areas also internalise a sense of inferiority.
Big cities are seen as the centre of everything, which creates an attitude that often devalues the work and skills of rural professionals. And sometimes even they subconsciously buy into this.
A thick haze has settled over Sydney, blown in from northwest of the city.
The haze now engulfing Sydney isn't an isolated problem. Cities around the world struggle to manage the many sources of tiny airborne particles and the discomfort and illnesses these cause.
The missing piece of the social housing puzzle is direct public investment in construction.
Bianca de Marchi/AAP
The government-backed body set up to help finance social housing providers is providing longer-term, cheaper loans. What's still missing in Australia is direct public investment in new housing.
Defective apartment buildings aren’t just affecting the evacuated residents – the whole sector is suffering from a crisis of confidence.
The difficulty of finding out about building defects creates an information deficit that threatens public confidence and stability in the apartment market. NSW has begun work on a solution.
Emergency services haven’t been able to protect people and properties against increasingly intense bushfires.
Land-use planning should give more weight to the increasing risks of natural hazards like bushfires as the first step in reducing the impacts.
The lure of suburbia clearly remains strong. To deal with sprawl, planners need to increase urban density in a way that resonates with the leafy green qualities of suburbia that residents value.
Residents of the 'leafy suburbs' will continue to fear what they might lose to increasing urban density without an explicit planning approach that enhances green space in affected neighbourhoods.
One nine-year-old chose his local supermarket as a place he valued because he could “spend time with mum and help decide what goes in our trolley”.
When primary school children in a disadvantaged part of Sydney were asked to map what they valued in the area, their choices were revealing and sometimes surprising.
Music played through headphones can immerse the listener in a more intimate experience.
The music we choose to listen to not only allows us to retreat into a place of peace and privacy, but also helps frame our daily routines and interactions with others.
Many rarely used bikes end up languishing in the shed.
Where bikes are kept is a strong pointer to the place of cycling in the owner's life. Effective active transport policy starts with understanding what stops people using their bikes instead of cars.
Turning a street tree into timber is much more respectful and useful than mulching it all.
City trees are often short-lived and many others get cut down in their prime. Turning them into mulch both wastes timber and releases stored carbon. A wood rescue program creates a more fitting legacy.