Articles on Urban infrastructure

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The national broadband network promised by the incoming Rudd government was politicised from the start. Lukas Coch/AAP

The NBN: how a national infrastructure dream fell short

The highly politicised nature of the NBN has led to a lack of transparency that makes it even harder to fix the mess that has been made of this vital national infrastructure.
Both Donald Trump and his political opponents are on board the global infrastructure bandwagon. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Making sense of the global infrastructure turn

The trillions of dollars spent on infrastructure demands democratic transparency and accountability. This applies to both the investment and to the effects on cities, societies and the environment.
Aspiring ‘smart cities’ like Barcelona have worked to build their profile – it recently hosted the Smart City Expo World Congress – but Australia may benefit from not having rushed in. Ramon Costa/AAP

From Smart Cities 1.0 to 2.0: it’s not (only) about the tech

Australia has lagged behind some other countries in its investment in smart cities, but in retrospect that may not have been such a bad thing.
The 2016 storm that blacked out South Australia had everyone talking about a critical infrastructure failure. David Mariuz/AAP

What’s critical about critical infrastructure?

Critical infrastructure is our means of survival as an urban species. So, we must identify what is critical, for whom and how it might fail us.
Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are eyeing value capture as a way to fund projects, but how will they sell a new tax to voters? Paul Miller/AAP

Value capture: a good idea to fund infrastructure but not easy in practice

Consider these home truths: value capture is a tax, it would need to apply to the family home and deciding which areas it covers would be politically contentious. A broad-based land tax is simpler.
By persuading some drivers to travel a different route or at a different time, congestion charges can dramatically improve the flow of traffic. AAP/Andrew Brownbill

How to make cities work better – here’s what the government needs to do

Bigger cities increase wages, output and innovation, but also problems of congestion and pollution. Congestion charges can minimise these problems by dramatically improving traffic flows.
Despite Malcolm Turnbull’s enthusiasm for public transport, the Coalition tends to favour road projects over rail. AAP/Lukas Coch

Election 2016: will the infrastructure promises meet Australia’s needs?

The Coalition, Labor, and the Greens are making substantial commitments to projects that not only lack proper business cases, but are not even on the Infrastructure Australia priority list at all.
Opponents of projects are often scorned as NIMBYs, but active citizenship and local consultation are key elements in creating a city that works well for as many people as possible. Teresa Parker/AAP

30-minute city’? Not in my backyard! Smart Cities Plan must let people have their say

Cities are home to many different people who will not always agree. We need to learn to embrace public debate as an ongoing, constructive process for working through diverse views and values.

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