Articles on Cities & Policy

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In Victoria, the Andrews government’s level crossing removal project has lifted property prices by up to 28% around sites where work has been completed. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Rail works lift property prices, pointing to value capture’s potential to fund city infrastructure

Value capture depends on infrastructure increasing the value of affected areas in the first place. Victoria's level crossing removal project shows the impact on property values can be significant.
The evidence shows permanent housing, like the Fitzroy housing estate, is the best and most cost-effective way to reduce homelessness. Kate Shaw

Shh! Don’t mention the public housing shortage. But no serious action on homelessness can ignore it

It's time to tackle the shortage of public housing head-on, rather than skirt around the problem. Public housing is the single most cost-effective way to turn around the rise in homelessness.
Sea Line Park, one of the shortlisted entries in the competition to design a new park for the Melbourne of 2050. Future Park Design Ideas Competition

Why we need ‘crazy’ ideas for new city parks

Some might scoff at the free-ranging ideas sparked by a competition to design future parks for Melbourne. But the legacy of a radical idea to green a CBD street in 1985 shows why we need such thinking.
Prospective tenants need to make a good impression on the real estate agent who will decide who gets to rent the property. Shutterstock

Looking to rent a home? 6 things that will help or hinder you

Two-thirds of tenants in Australia rent through an agent, so making a good impression on the agent matters. Certain characteristics count in tenants' favour, but some factors are beyond their control.
Typhoon Faxai left many people without power and other services for several days when it hit the greater Tokyo region in September. NASA/Worldview

Typhoons and other disasters force Japan to rethink its city vs rural living plans for the future

Talk of moving people out of Japan's cities into rural areas is changing after the recent cyclone hit near Tokyo. Smarter, more connected cities may be a safer way to go.
Even when sharing a house, the average cost of rent means very little is left over from the Newstart allowance for food and living costs. shutterstock.com

City share-house rents eat up most of Newstart, leaving less than $100 a week to live on

Once rent is paid, having to live on only $14 a day doesn't cover the costs of job seeking. The evidence of the need to increase Newstart and Rent Allowance is overwhelming.
With more than 80% of Singaporeans living in state-provided housing, the city rates well for affordability compared to Sydney, where the figure is just 5.5%. Bill Roque/Shutterstock

Affordable housing lessons from Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore: 3 keys to getting the policy mix right

A coordinated mix of policies does more to keep housing affordable for a significant proportion of a city's residents than the unbalanced approach we see in Sydney.
The benefits of ‘superblocks’ for Barcelona include better health, access to green space and other public space, and more transport-related physical activity. Orbon Alija/iStock

Superblocks are transforming Barcelona. They might work in Australian cities too

The Spanish city is remaking urban neighbourhoods by limiting through traffic in superblocks that give priority to pedestrians and street activities, not cars.
Where’s the shade? Trees are not an immediate or whole answer to keeping cool. Cameron Tonkinwise

Keeping the city cool isn’t just about tree cover – it calls for a commons-based climate response

Trees and the shade they provide are one of the best ways of cooling cities. But they also present challenges that are best resolved by managing this shared resource as part of an urban commons.
Digital communications technology means many high-skill workers don’t need to be in the office to do their jobs. MJTH/Shutterstock

Fancy an e-change? How people are escaping city congestion and living costs by working remotely

E-changers are the latest group to move from the big cities to escape high living costs and congestion. But because they remain very productive remote workers some employers are embracing the trend.
Allowing residents to remove trees within three metres of buildings or ‘ancillary structures’ could dramatically alter the green infrastructure of dense inner Sydney suburbs like Rozelle. Tom Casey/Shutterstock

Trees can add $50,000 value to a Sydney house, so you might want to put down that chainsaw

Greater urban density is making it harder to preserve, let alone increase, tree cover. It's vital, then, to demonstrate the full value of green infrastructure for healthy liveable cities.
During a heatwave in late 2018, Cairns temperatures topped 35°C nine days in a row and sensors at some points in the CBD recorded 45°C.

Urban growth, heat islands, humidity, climate change: the costs multiply in tropical cities

The world's fastest-growing cities are in the tropics. They are highly exposed to climate change, especially as urban heat island effects and humidity magnify the impacts of increasing heatwaves.
Australians want greater housing choice, including affordable compact homes that are neither large detached houses nor multistorey apartments. Markus J/Shutterstock

People want and need more housing choice. It’s about time governments stood up to deliver it

Australians' need for smaller and more diverse dwellings is growing. The planning system is not providing enough of this housing, and self-serving opposition to it should be resisted.
With the tensile strength of steel but six times lighter, bamboo can be used for ambitious buildings once it has been treated to ensure its durability. Courtesy of Green School Bali

Bamboo architecture: Bali’s Green School inspires a global renaissance

Bamboo has been used since ancient times for building, but only in recent decades has pioneering work in Bali inspired its wider use for substantial and enduring structures.

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