A friendly wave from a neighbour is one of life's incidental but invaluable interactions. Porches, balconies, front yards and footpaths have proven their importance as cogs of neighbourhood life.
Times Square, New York.
The internal density and layout of buildings are key factors in COVID-19 transmission risk. This is not an argument against high-density cities, some of which have successfully contained the virus.
Instead of isolating and excluding older Australians, communities that are designed to embrace the growing numbers of Australians over 65 will have all kinds of benefits for Australia.
Public spaces must now meet our need to be ‘together but apart’.
When urban spaces work well they are highly social spaces. How do we safely manage them and people's fears about mingling when ‘being together but apart’ is the norm?
Temporary use of land and buildings plays a role in the aftermath of crisis.
Urban safety is as much about inclusion and belonging as it is about better lighting and CCTV.
The COVID-19 outbreak began in a market at the edge of Wuhan, China.
The current outbreak of COVID-19 underscores the need to study urban growth to understand the spread and control of future epidemics.
'Smart cities', featuring networks of automatic lights, video cameras and environmental sensors, have been hailed as an enhancement to urban life. But they are also tools of surveillance and control.
Access to natural, green space makes a huge difference to the lives of children living in high-rise apartments.
Nearly half of apartment residents are now families with children whose quality of life suffers if their neighbourhoods don't provide the spaces and activities they need to thrive.
Access to the shoreline is great, but what about places not on the coast?
Béju (Happy City, Street Plan, University of Virginia)
Research into public health benefits of integrating nature into cities has focused on green spaces. New studies suggest water features are just as useful and can piggyback on other infrastructure goals.
Dalian is an emerging city and tourist destination in China, but its urban spaces could be improved in many ways.
Paul J Martin/Shutterstock
Australia has well established urban design guidelines, whereas many Chinese cities don't have any – and it shows. But Australia can also learn from China.
The more comfortable women feel about breastfeeding in public, the better for both babies and society.
Promoting the benefits of breastfeeding isn't enough when uncomfortable and uninviting public places deter mothers. Places that help them feel comfortable breastfeeding have several key features.
Residents play Pimp my Suburb, an exercise in engaging the community in achieving higher density while preserving what they love about their neighbourhood.
Faced with local planning changes like infill development people often fear they could lose the neighbourhood they love. But serious games are proving effective in giving locals a say in their future.
Cairns Lagoon: as a good response to the tropical climate, it’s a very active place but with little business activity.
Good urban design and walkability boost local economic activity by increasing public activity, but cities need to pay more attention to the effects of microclimates on streets and public spaces.
Bright light does not necessarily make a space feel safer, as seen here where there’s a sharp drop-off into dark shadows at the edge of the path.
Bright lighting alone does not make a space feel safe. It can blind and disorientate and create dark shadows at the edges. Tellingly, 'unsafe' places had much higher illuminance than 'safe' places.
Towering canyons of concrete and glass are an increasingly dominant feature of fast-growing cities like Melbourne.
Planning controls in Melbourne were eased 20 years ago, with mixed results, and new limits are now in place. Will other cities that have eased height limits, like Adelaide, avoid the same mistakes?
New housing estates on the city fringes might be soulless, cookie-cutter developments, but communities can invest them with layers of meaning that create a sense of place.
A sense of place matters for people and communities. When a suburb is created from scratch, close attention needs to be paid to the cues from the landscape and meanings people attach to the area.
Yorkshire floods, 2014.
Artificial intelligence can help manage floods effectively, but decisions about which communities are protected require a human touch.
In an urban setting like central Footscray, where only 1% of the area is public space, the value of the humble footpath needs to be recognised.
Footpaths are a valuable space for everyday social activity, but their role is often overlooked. In increasingly dense urban areas such as Footscray, footpaths are essential public spaces.
Ferrara, Italy bears some resemblance to da Vinci’s design.
Leonardo da Vinci's ideal city contained design features and engineering works not realised until hundreds of years after he died.