Articles on Urban planning

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An artist’s rendering of Toronto’s shoreline in 2050. Regulating the future city poses new challenges for different levels of government. Picture Plane/Heatherwick Studio for Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Labs proposals put the fox in charge of the henhouse

Regulating Sidewalk Labs proposed developments poses new challenges for assigning responsibility and oversight.
The benefits of ‘superblocks’ for Barcelona include better health, access to green space and other public space, and more transport-related physical activity. Orbon Alija/iStock

Superblocks are transforming Barcelona. They might work in Australian cities too

The Spanish city is remaking urban neighbourhoods by limiting through traffic in superblocks that give priority to pedestrians and street activities, not cars.
Where’s the shade? Trees are not an immediate or whole answer to keeping cool. Cameron Tonkinwise

Keeping the city cool isn’t just about tree cover – it calls for a commons-based climate response

Trees and the shade they provide are one of the best ways of cooling cities. But they also present challenges that are best resolved by managing this shared resource as part of an urban commons.
Allowing residents to remove trees within three metres of buildings or ‘ancillary structures’ could dramatically alter the green infrastructure of dense inner Sydney suburbs like Rozelle. Tom Casey/Shutterstock

Trees can add $50,000 value to a Sydney house, so you might want to put down that chainsaw

Greater urban density is making it harder to preserve, let alone increase, tree cover. It's vital, then, to demonstrate the full value of green infrastructure for healthy liveable cities.
Show Works, based in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, makes dance floors, dance equipment and theatre scenery. Andrew Warren, used with permission

Three ways to fix the problems caused by rezoning inner-city industrial land for mixed-use apartments

Rezoning to mixed-use residential development drove small manufacturers and creative producers out of the inner city. The result is less diversity of land uses, jobs and services where we most want it.
The proposed Quayside neighbourhood in Toronto will collect data from individuals in public spaces, but getting consent is a tricky issue. Picture Plane for Heatherwick Studio for Sidewalk Labs

Sidewalk Toronto’s master plan raises urgent concerns about data and privacy

A report based on public consultations conducted by Sidewalk Labs has still not answered many pressing concerns about privacy and consent in Toronto's Quayside development.
Car parking occupies a large proportion of urban areas, and cities cannot keep sacrificing so much space to meet demand. Neil Sipe

What can our cities do about sprawl, congestion and pollution? Tip: scrap car parking

The global trend is to free up valuable city space by reducing parking and promoting other forms of transport that don't clog roads and pollute the air. Australian cities are still putting cars first.
New York has become a ‘city for the rich’ in recent decades, a shift in its real estate market that impacts policy-making, too. Alessandro Colle / Shutterstock

New York’s new rental protections won’t end the outsize influence of big developers who pay the city’s bills

New York City's municipal budget relies heavily on the property taxes of extremely high-value real estate. That drives gentrification and distorts local policy in other ways that hurt residents.
Residents play Pimp my Suburb, an exercise in engaging the community in achieving higher density while preserving what they love about their neighbourhood. Anthony Duckworth-Smith

Playing games? It’s a serious way to win community backing for change

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.

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