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.
Darwin's climate is getting even hotter and it's one of the main reasons people leave the city. A lot more can be done, though, to make our tropical cities safe, cool and enjoyable.
What exactly is the 'built environment'?And is the term the best way to frame what we're trying to achieve today?
Today’s urban public spaces tend to represent governments and cities rather than people and citizens. Architects and urban designers should contribute to shaping spaces for freedom and interaction.
Many US cities are investing in bike infrastructure and shade trees. Properly located, these additions can make streets cooler, cleaner and safer for all users – even those who drive.
We wear our surroundings like a cloak. Lower-income communities often live in environments that discourage healthy, outdoor activities. This perpetuates their poorer health and traps them in poverty.
Design principles, known as 'crime prevention through environmental design', are used all over the world to make cities safer. But some of these principles can be discriminatory and hostile.
We searched Instagram for city images people associated with happiness. And they consistently included similar features, such as water, nature and heritage buildings.
Australia has guidelines for designing safe parks, but the stories of many women show these are not enough. We must involve women in co-designing these shared public spaces.
Collisions at intersections between motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians cause many deaths and injuries. Design that considers how each group approaches intersections improves everyone's safety.
There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan for sustainable, healthy urban living. Urban diaries help identify what works – and doesn't work – for tropical cities like Cairns or Townsville.
The first worldwide skateboarding conference, Pushing Boarders, showed how skateboarding is evolving to include people of all genders, ethnicities and sexualities.
The need for public cooking facilities has long been recognised, but why has the basic public barbecue failed to evolve along with Australians, their lifestyles and the foods they eat?
Why not turn the moat of parkland enclosing Parliament House into a new inner-city?
All around us, the places we inhabit send us physical and visual cues that influence our behaviour. Good design can tilt the balance so our surroundings help us act in ways that fulfil our needs.
Women encounter many difficulties in cities that are products of male design and planning. We need to move past the practice of one group shaping our world on behalf of everyone else.
Commonly used surfaces in play areas, such as "soft fall" materials and Astroturf, can heat up to 80-100°C in the sun. This makes them a hazardous design choice, especially as the climate gets hotter.
By expanding our understanding of streets and enhancing their design, every street corner could become a space to socialise, to exercise, to play, or to trade.
If the nature we desire is, in fact, its expression as untamed wildness, then we should turn to the creativity of artists as well as urban designers when building our cities.
The vitality that defines central Melbourne today did not emerge overnight. Rather than being born of one grand vision, it's the result of many astute, incremental changes that revitalised the city.