Articles on Cities & Policy

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The cover that trees provide transforms cities into much more hospitable places, especially in hot weather. AAP/Joe Castro

In a heatwave, the leafy suburbs are even more advantaged

Six years after Black Saturday, it's worth remembering that heatwaves kill more people than bushfires do, so shade can be a life-saver. But tree cover and shade are not evenly distributed in cities.
The housing problems experienced by low-income households are a symptom of entrenched inequality within Australia. AAP/Dan Peled

How policy success, not failure, has driven Australia’s housing crisis

Government policy has not, on the whole, failed. It has been a huge success insofar as protecting the opportunities for speculative investment and profit for homeowners and private landlords.
When would-be renters enquire about a property, their ethnicity can make a significant difference to how the agent responds. AAP/David Crosling

A white face can be a big help in a discriminatory housing market

An experiment compared the experience of Anglo, Indian and Muslim Middle Eastern "renters" looking for housing. The differences in how they were treated were significant.
For one in three people who live in cities in the global south that means living in a slum. AAP/Diego Azubel

The ethical city: an idea whose time has come

At the Habitat III summit in October, governments will agree an agenda to guide sustainable global urban development over the next 20 years. The rise of the ethical city is a key element of this.
The urban landscape is complex and ever-changing in cities such as Perth, but digital aerial photography can now monitor even the smallest changes. Wikimedia Commons

The planner’s new best friend: we can now track land-use changes on a scale of centimetres

Constant, complex changes in cities and mine sites are hard to monitor. Drawing on digital aerial photography, it's now possible to track land-use and vegetation changes in areas as small as 10-20cm.
With a quarter of the population aged over 65, Japan has had to be innovative in catering for their wants and needs. Martyn Jones

Japan offers us many lessons in embracing longevity

Japan's ageing population is at the point that Australia is forecast to reach in 2056. The Japanese have had to develop new models of aged care in the community and we can learn a lot from them.
The freedom of the space outside can be a seductive distraction. from www.shutterstock.com.au

Why the million-dollar view is bad for our body and our soul

Had the Romans, Chinese and English of old seen our buildings, built around views that distract from the interior and our interior lives, they would not have been surprised by modern discontent.
Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull are a formidable double act capable of driving a Commonwealth-led transformation of urban policy. AAP/Carol Cho

Hopes of a new urban age survive minister’s fall

Cities have been called “orphans of public policy”, so Malcolm Turnbull's decisive entry into the fray is remarkable. He has the credibility, nous and drive to deliver a national urban policy agenda.
What challenges and transformations will disrupting mobility bring to cities? from www.shutterstock.com

Growing challenges are disrupting our old ways of getting around cities

Cities are complex systems. One visible artery of the city is traffic – the cluster of moving people and flowing goods – and that mobility is critical for a city's life.
It’s much cheaper and easier to build better access into homes instead of doing it later. AAP/Paul Miller

Australia’s housing standards are failing its ageing population

Community and housing industry leaders agreed a national guideline and a plan to provide basic access features in all new housing by 2020. But this voluntary approach is failing.
Housing affordability, especially in Sydney, is now a source of political protests and the NSW government has announced a funding scheme with the potential to ease the pressure. AAP/Teresa Parker

Are we seeing a new dawn for affordable housing?

In what looks to be a landmark policy announcement with possible national ramifications, the NSW government has outlined the first phase of a $1 billion fund to develop social and affordable housing.
Almost four years since the process of restructuring local government began, the Baird government faces many challenges in finalising its plans. AAP/Lukas Coch

NSW councils shake-up: is the endgame near?

Wherever governments have merged local councils, they have faced a political backlash. New South Wales is no exception and, nearly four years into the process, many challenges lie ahead.
Urban plans that consider health and well-being must be part of integrative planning policies. Jason Wesley Upton/flickr

A healthy approach: how to turn what we know about liveable cities into public policy

Urban planning aims to create cities that support healthy and productive communities, and the success in putting health on the NSW planning agenda offers lessons in achieving better integrated policy.
Good access to people, services and other essential ingredients of wellbeing is a defining feature of liveable communities. flickr/US Department of Agriculture

How do we create liveable cities? First, we must work out the key ingredients

Communities that rate highly for liveability share certain essential features. We can identify and build these key ingredients into our cities to create thriving places where people want to live.
City residents are embracing the bike as the fastest, most convenient transport in areas like Brunswick, yet an apartment building has been blocked for not providing car parking. flickr/Takver

Nightingale’s sustainability song falls on deaf ears as car-centric planning rules hold sway

It's up to state governments to ensure urban planning rules properly reflect both the desires of residents in the 21st century and the principles of sustainability.

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