Articles on Urban planning

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The price we pay for water should reflect what it costs to deliver. But does it? Bronwyn Quilliam

Manipulating water prices: why your bill is going up

The revelation that water users in Melbourne have been over-charged to the tune of $300 million highlights deficiencies in the mechanics of setting water prices in that state. Unfortunately, the flaws…
Want value for public money? Build bike infrastructure. Brisbane City Council

Cutting cycling funding is economic non-sense

In the current climate of economic uncertainty and fiscal restraint, governments are quick to reassure us that they are making every effort to “do more with less”. Providing mobility for citizens in Australia’s…
In the groundhog daze of globalising suburbia, the idea of a new beginning sounds infernally remote. Melissa Gray

Not beyond imagining: songlines for a new world

WHAT IS AUSTRALIA FOR? Australia is no longer small, remote or isolated. It’s time to ask What Is Australia For?, and to acknowledge the wealth of resources we have beyond mining. Over the next two weeks…
A nice drop: we have the technology to recycle water to drinking quality, but have we the will? Flickr/chantel beam photography

Recycled drinking water: what Australians need to know

Our conventional water supply system that continually captures and delivers water is under great strain because of an increase in population, rapid urbanisation, and drastic changes in climate and rainfall…
Serious, interconnected risks are closing in on the globalised community, from climate change to anarchy. Are we heeding the warnings? AAP/EPA/Daniel Deme

Highway to dystopia: time to wise up to the looming risks

In that world of peripheral vision, essential for business, social and political leaders, it is surprising that the World Economic Forum’s report, Global Risks 2012 has not received greater publicity or…
Take the offer: sharing cuts waste and builds communities but we have our reasons for not always being comfortable with it. Flickr/Zervas

Sharing: if it’s so good, why don’t we do more of it?

Sharing is a good thing right? We are told it is good for the environment by cutting waste and needless consumption; we encourage it in our children for their moral growth; we see it used in advertising…
Swanston Street in Melbourne is an example of urban design that brings people together. AAP/Julian Smith

Loneliness on the rise as our cities atomise

Isolation and loneliness pose an increasing threat to the health of Australians, many of whom are cut off from friends and…
A White Shark feeds on a whale carcass off a Perth metropolitan beach in 2009. This was happening before Homo Sapiens existed. AAP/Channel10

Sharks in the city: Getting to know the neighbours

The vast majority of Australians live in coastal cities. This means most of us have sharks as neighbours. Living alongside sharks in metropolitan cities in Australia requires urban resilience. Unlike birds…
Bigger houses (on the left) - not smaller lots - are killing the Aussie backyard. Tony Hall

What has happened to the great Aussie backyard?

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
To make roads flow better, we need traffic lights to be more efficient. sinkdd

Going places: why better traffic lights make better sense

If you’ve ever been caught in a traffic jam – and who hasn’t? – you’ll know Australia’s urban road networks are fast approaching full capacity. With the holiday season not far away, traffic jams and road…
Sir Rod Eddington: unless the rail networks are right, Australia’s cities won’t work properly. Supplied

Sir Rod Eddington: ‘The infrastructure challenges are real’

Welcome to In Conversation; an ongoing series in which leading academics interview prominent public figures. In today’s instalment, Dr Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, sits…

City shadows reveal its energy flow

By calculating the amount of solar radiation reaching streets and buildings, researchers could help optimise the way energy…
Is Australia going down the East Asian high-rise route? eugenewei

The carbon devil in the detail on urban density

How dense could we be? Very, if you follow much of the commentary in Australian debates about the way we should plan our cities. High-rise residential developments have been springing up in all Australia’s…
South-east Queensland now has a 200km long city. dazza17-DJ

Colliding cities: have our cities slipped their metro moorings?

Despite the emphasis in Australia on the “compact city” foreshadowed in every major strategic metropolitan plan such as the South East Queensland Regional Plan; there is a growing trend towards “colliding…

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