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.
Brexit has pushed many activists onto the streets.
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Interviews with Leave and Remain supporters shows a common desire to preserve community and frustration with the self-interest of some politicians.
One in 10 shops in the UK lies empty. These buildings could be put to good "meanwhile" use to benefit and sustain communities.
The independent owner-operated businesses that bring life to run-down neighbourhoods often have a hipster ethos.
It's easy to scorn the gentrifying hipster stereotype, but many inner-city neighbourhoods benefit from the distinctive mix of businesses and activities they pursue. So why should the suburbs miss out?
Though agriculture is a necessity, we rarely take time to understand the realities of the farming industry and the farmers who toil on the land.
Changing demographics in small-scale farming have had a severe impact and affect farmer motivation, especially among youth
Loneliness has become a global epidemic, and urban design can be either part of the problem or the solution.
Melbourne School of Design
The cities we build in turn shape our society. So when so many of us feel lonely, we should aim to apply what we know about the social impacts of design to help people connect with each other.
The community environment clearly has a large influence on child development, but exactly which factors are most important?
Research has started to identify the key factors in creating communities that promote good early childhood development.
Trusting our instincts is vital for better mental health.
People intuitively know what is best for their mental health. A new approach suggests enforcing this belief like regular exercise.
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash
Research has shown that large social platforms like Facebook can reinforce problematic social hierarchies and prejudices around gender, sexuality and race.
An attitude of gratitude may relieve stress, which in turn may lead to better health.
Most parents try to teach their children to feel grateful. Now, some therapists and doctors are encouraging people to focus on gratitude, as studies show that gratitude can be good for health.
What are your in-groups and out-groups?
Our neural circuits lead us to find comfort in those like us and unease with those who differ, resulting in a battle between reward and distrust. But these brain connections aren't the end of the story.
A retail street in Facebook’s proposed Willow Campus.
Facebook will build a village with housing and amenities in Silicon Valley, a new version of old, unsuccessful ideas of company towns and utopian communities. Will Facebook's town face the same fate?
Running (or walking) with others is good for health and social connections. But you don't have to aim for marathons.
Third places are most effective when, like Waverley Community Garden in Sydney, they appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Third places are shared spaces where people can informally socialise. As a potential antidote to the modern scourge of loneliness, it's worth asking what makes the best of these places tick.
Both young and old can feel like they don't belong. But loneliness is a social problem, with a social solution.
Campo Santa Maria Nova, in Venice, is a fine example of a compact, human-scale European plaza.
Done right, a plaza can bring life and a sense of identity to an area. So why has urban design in Australia neglected the town square in favour of green space, and what makes for a successful one?
The Sydney suburb of Liverpool, with its high concentration of ethnic migrants, has improved its levels of community trust since the Cronulla riots.
Trust has returned to areas with a higher concentration of ethnically diverse migrants significantly since 2005, but more must to be done if we want to avoid another Cronulla riot.
It’s important to young Australians to be able to walk and feel safe while doing so.
Victoria Walks ©
The benefits of walking are widely promoted, but most Australian communities still aren't walker-friendly. Young people, who rely heavily on walking to get around, are clear about what has to change.
Connections between people and between people and places help create vibrant neighbourhoods with a sense of human identity and belonging.
Picture by Tommy Wong
The secret of creating attractive, liveable places sounds deceptively simple: connect people to places, people to transport and people to people.
Including community members as participants and co-creators of the Dragon of Shandon is central to the festival’s success.
OpenLens.ie/Dragon of Shandon
Urban festivals built on community involvement can reinvigorate places and create a shared sense of place and purpose that lasts long after the event is over.