Articles on Urban planning

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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.
Bright light does not necessarily make a space feel safer, as seen here where there’s a sharp drop-off into dark shadows at the edge of the path. grafxart/Shutterstock

More lighting alone does not create safer cities. Look at what research with young women tells us

Bright lighting alone does not make a space feel safe. It can blind and disorientate and create dark shadows at the edges. Tellingly, 'unsafe' places had much higher illuminance than 'safe' places.
Sydney CBD is highly accessible and remains clearly the dominant centre in the metropolitan region. Holli/Shutterstock

How close is Sydney to the vision of creating three 30-minute cities?

When a city gets to a certain size, it starts to make sense to have multiple centres of activity, and three are planned for Sydney. So what needs to be done to bring the city closer to this goal?
Car parking is such a pervasive feature of our cities that we have become blind to how much space it takes up. Shuang Li/Shutterstock

Of all the problems our cities need to fix, lack of car parking isn’t one of them

Australian cities have a glut of parking, even as politicians move to protect parking spaces or promise even more. There are better ways to keep congestion manageable and our cities liveable.
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. Lukas Coch/AAP

How to turn a housing development into a place where people feel they belong

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.
When most inner-city apartment residents don’t use cars to get around, you can expect public transport to feel the impacts of new developments. Eric FIscher/Wikimedia

Crowded trains? Planning focus on cars misses new apartment impacts

Traffic impact assessments required of major building developments mainly focus on the movement of cars, but these account for only 30-40% of trips by inner-city apartment dwellers.
Walking accounts for about 90% of all travel in Melbourne city centre, yet pedestrians are allocated only 24% of street space. Adam Calaitzis/Shutterstock

Move away from a car-dominated city looks radical but it’s a sensible plan for a liveable future

A newly released ten-year plan for Melbourne aims for fewer cars, safer streets and more shared spaces. A significant amount of parking and road space would be reallocated to walking and cycling.
In an urban setting like central Footscray, where only 1% of the area is public space, the value of the humble footpath needs to be recognised. Yvonne Meng

Don’t forget the footpath – it’s vital public space

Footpaths are a valuable space for everyday social activity, but their role is often overlooked. In increasingly dense urban areas such as Footscray, footpaths are essential public spaces.
Podcasters can introduce new voices to the conversations about the cities we live in. Salim October/Shutterstock

Podcasts and cities: ‘you’re always commenting on power’

Podcasters are creating new conversations about who and what the city is for. But even in the podcasting world, powerful interests can make it hard for new and previously excluded voices to be heard.
A shade tree makes a big difference to the comfort of this couple. Nancie Lee/Shutterstock

How do we save ageing Australians from the heat? Greening our cities is a good start

Two trends in Australia, an ageing population and warming climate, are increasing the threat that heatwaves pose to our health. Increasing vegetation cover is one way every city can reduce the risk.

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