The earthquake shattered buildings and communities, with many residents left feeling even more powerless by the government’s approach to recovery.
By removing elected officials and installing a powerful command-and-control agency, the government's approach to recovery has left many of the city's people feeling disenfranchised and excluded.
The report criticises the state’s failure to adequately integrate the planning of land use development and transport priorities, but falls into the same trap itself.
Infrastructure Australia's latest report is substantial but, critically, it fails to incorporate the transport thinking needed to develop more compact cities that work better for everyone.
If a state-owned port is sold at a higher price with competition restrictions, consumers will pay higher prices in the future because of these restrictions.
State governments are now seeking to maximise the price of privatised assets by adding sale terms that restrict competition for the future private owners. That amounts to a hidden tax on consumers.
There are always tensions, and sometimes outright hostility, between urban planners, the public and private sector developers.
Tensions are mounting between the professional practices of government planners, processes of public participation and the private sector's increasing role in shaping Australian cities.
Labor’s Chris Bowen and Bill Shorten announced plans for new tax rules, and the government, even as it attacked their plan, has also opened the door to changes to negative gearing.
The problem is there are already too many buyers willing to pay high prices, and negative gearing is designed to create more buyers willing to pay more.
With so many city dwellers enjoying the benefits of digital connectivity, it is easy to overlook the barriers to access that homeless people face.
We have come to see being digitally connected as part of the fabric of life in the city, but staying connected is a daily struggle for the marginalised and homeless.
The cover that trees provide transforms cities into much more hospitable places, especially in hot weather.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It looks great – but what about the wildlife?
Tree image from www.shutterstock.com.
Cities are aiming to increase their tree cover. But there will need to be more than trees to encourage wildlife to return.
According to all the data, urban car use has peaked, but official traffic modelling forecasts a remarkable reversal.
On average, people won't accept a commuting time of more than an hour. As cities grow ever bigger, new road projects can't achieve this, yet policymakers still rely on modelling that defies evidence.
Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull are a formidable double act capable of driving a Commonwealth-led transformation of urban policy.
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?
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.
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.
The following field note on cities as democratic laboratories was inspired by a recent visit to the Republic of Korea. The highlight of my journey was an afternoon meeting and press conference with Park…
A community-led advocacy campaign helped steer the Victorian government away from building the East West Link.
Communities want urban policy to deliver the right projects at the right time in the right place. Governments should embrace local citizens and interest groups as key players in crafting such policy.