Articles on Cities & Policy

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The Urban Planning Exhibition Centre in Shanghai – good planning is immensely valuable. Jordiferrer/Wikimedia Commons

Australian cities are crying out for better planning, but the research funding is missing

Given the challenges Australian cities face, the need for urban planning based on solid research is greater than ever. Sadly, when it comes to research funding, planning is at the back of the queue.
What does a green star rating – One Central Park apartments in Sydney received five stars, for instance – actually mean? AAP

Greenwashing the property market: why ‘green star’ ratings don’t guarantee more sustainable buildings

Buildings are central to creating more sustainable cities, and green ratings are often used to assess how well a building measures up against this goal. But the current system has serious flaws.
Retrofitting older homes to ‘green’ the nation’s housing stock involves much more than installing rooftop solar panels. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

The other 99%: retrofitting is the key to putting more Australians into eco-homes

While new buildings may be the glamorous eco-home pinups, retrofitting existing homes is the main game when it comes to creating energy-efficient, comfortable housing stock for all Australians.
Four major disruptions of urban transport are set to transform city life, but exactly how remains uncertain. Taras Makarenko/Pexels

Utopia or nightmare? The answer lies in how we embrace self-driving, electric and shared vehicles

Self-driving, shared, electric vehicles and increasing urban density represent four disruptions that will transform city life. But a transport utopia isn't a guaranteed outcome of their interactions.
Australia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gillian Bird, makes a statement at the 2016 Habitat III conference, where the New Urban Agenda was adopted. Alexei Trundle

This is why health has to be at the heart of the New Urban Agenda

Australia and other United Nations member states signed up to the New Urban Agenda more than a year ago. But how well is health being integrated into sustainable urban development?
Nurses who care for people in the city can’t afford a property anywhere near their place of work. didesign021/Shutterstock

Key workers like nurses and teachers are being squeezed out of Sydney. This is what we can do about it

People on moderate incomes, including police and emergency workers, have been forced to seek housing on the city fringes, far from their places of work. But there are ways to reverse this trend.
King tides now regularly breach seawalls meant to protect Torres Strait Island communities, and it happened again last week. Suzanne Long/AAP

King tides and rising seas are predictable, and we’re not doing enough about it

King tides and rising seas are an increasing and predictable threat, but adaptation plans to limit the damage to coastal property are still not managing the political obstacles.
Much of the traffic using Sydney’s Anzac Bridge and, in the distance, Harbour Bridge is travelling through the city centre, not to it or from it. Rob Roggema

This is how WestConnex can deliver Sydney a better city centre

One potential benefit of WestConnex, which remains untouched, is that it could relieve Sydney's city centre from cars and make it more pedestrian-friendly.
Children’s right to play outdoors depends on them having access to safe and inclusive public spaces.

Putting the pieces together to create safe public spaces for all

For a public space to be seen as safe, welcoming and accessible, a diverse range of people need to actively use it. That's why any space-changing project needs to engage broadly with the community.
Only in a few active travel strongholds, typically in the inner city, do Australian cycling and walking rates get close to those in Europe. Andrew Robinson/Flickr

Australian cities are far from being meccas for walking and cycling

A comparison of Australian cities reveals cyclists and walkers are still very much a minority of commuters, despite the economic, health and environmental costs. Action on three fronts is needed.
A 3D model of a development scenario in Brisbane’s West End produced using ESRI’s CityEngine program. Author supplied

How virtual 3D modelling and simulation can help us create better cities

3D urban modelling is a transformative technology for designing cities. But incorporating new technologies into planning practice has its challenges.
Share-bikes can litter our cities and be found in rivers, up trees, in gutters, and strewn around public places. Obikes in unusual places/Facebook

Three reasons why share-bikes don’t fit Australian culture

There are three key cultural reasons why a share-bike business model that could be successful in Singapore is much less likely to be so in Australia.

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