News

Urban Planning Related News

We bring you a hand picked selection of news and opinion articles relating to urban planning. While there is likely to be an Australian bias, many of the articles are from other parts of the world and deal with 'big picture' topics and issues that we can all identify with. We hope you enjoy it.

 

6 December 2018

Health impacts and murky decision-making feed public distrust of projects like WestConnex

WestConnex, the most expensive piece of transport infrastructure being built in Australia, looms large over the next New South Wales election. Construction is well under way, fuelling community concern about the project's impact on their health and wellbeing. The NSW Coalition government was elected in 2011 on a promise to deliver major infrastructure including a road for Sydney. Attention should have been paid to the adage that history repeats itself. The M5 East project became a major headache for the previous Labor administration because of concerns about the impact of tunnel emissions on human health.

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Why autonomous vehicles won’t reduce our dependence on cars in cities

The technology of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is progressing rapidly, but have we really thought through how they’ll work in reality? In its report on AVs in Australia, Austroads (the association of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies) paints both positive and negative scenarios for the future. The positive scenario suggests that AVs could reduce car ownership and use thanks to a fleet of shared and connected AVs. These AVs would roam the city, filling in gaps in the timetables and fixed routes of a superior and cheaper public transport network.

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Why daily doses of nature in the city matter for people and the planet

The environmental movement is shifting away from focusing solely on raising awareness about environmental issues. Many environmental agencies and organisations now also aim to connect people with nature, and our new research suggests daily doses of urban nature may be the key to this for the majority who live in cities.

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Melbourne Council unveils plans for new CBD 'landmark'

The City of Melbourne will consider a behemoth redevelopment project designed to rejuvenate almost an entire CBD block, with ambitious plans for it to become the city's most sustainable urban landmark. The $232 million plan, which councillors will vote on at a council meeting next Monday, proposes to knock down the 50-year-old Council House 1 on Little Collins Street and surrounding buildings, while restoring the adjoining heritage-listed Commonwealth Bank building, to create a new civic precinct.

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Just how `city smart' are local governments in Queensland?

Many places around the world claim to be a "smart city", but what that means is often unclear. A smart city is widely seen as an urban area that uses technology to enhance performance and the quality of its services. In other words, it's a happy marriage of technology and the city. Before we look at what is being planned in Australia and what is being done overseas, an important question is: How smart are our cities now? The answer enables our cities to benchmark where we are now and then track progress over time. We recently conducted a study to evaluate the smartness of all local government areas in Queensland.

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The Technologies Building The Smart Cities of The Future

By 2050, 68 percent of the total global population will live in cities, according to the United Nations. By then, the world population will be 9.7 billion and 11.2 billion by 2100. The updated report from the United Nations states that currently, 55 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas. That means around 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities by 2050.

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Design for flooding: how cities can make room for water

Science is clearly showing that the world is shifting towards a more unstable climate. Weather events like the flash floods in Sydney last week will be more frequent and extreme, while the intervals between them will become shorter. With rising sea levels and frequent floods, water landscapes will become part of our urban routine.

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Coastal fast rail best for urban centres outside Sydney

The NSW Government announcement about a network of fast trains to centres outside Sydney would stimulate growth outside Sydney. "The announcement by NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, that the government is looking at a network of fast train routes out of Sydney would lead to growth in regional cities." Says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson "The most likely areas to be attractive for increased development will be the coastal centres including Nowra, Wollongong, Gosford and Newcastle."

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Is infrastructure why Victorian voters swung so decisively to Labor?

There're many theories purporting to explain Saturday's stunning electoral swing to Victoria's incumbent Labor Government. A popular explanation is the lacklustre performance of Coalition leader, Mathew Guy, which also conveniently deflects blame from the conservative national government. Others argue it's a clear rejection of the Opposition's stand on climate change, injecting rooms and law order. Some reckon it's due to Premier Daniel Andrews progressive stand on key issues in education, social policy and health.

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Is growth in driving really outstripping surging population?

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) released a report last week comparing historical growth in driving and public transport patronage in Melbourne against growth in population. Contrary to the clickbait headline in The Age claiming driving is growing faster than population (see Melbourne's traffic growth outstrips population surge), the PTUA's report showed the opposite: car travel has been growing slower than population since 2004.

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23 November 2018

Is growth in driving really outstripping surging population?

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) released a report last week comparing historical growth in driving and public transport patronage in Melbourne against growth in population. Contrary to the clickbait headline in The Age claiming driving is growing faster than population, the PTUA's report showed the opposite: car travel has been growing slower than population since 2004.

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When Flemington Markets relocate to the Aerotropolis the site can become a new green urban village

The announcement that Sydney Markets will move from Flemington to the Aerotropolis in Western Sydney means the existing Flemington site could become a new type of development.

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Record housing completions in Sydney as approvals fall fast

The NSW Housing Monitor has listed record housing completions for metropolitan Sydney but housing approvals are falling fast.

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Are Europe's cities ready for autonomous mobility?

For the past century, cars have dominated cities, shaping the streets and changing how urban areas were designed. Autonomous mobility promises to reshape cities once more, freeing them from the many car-centric assumptions that previously dictated where citizens and organisations would be located.

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MTalks: How the digital revolution is affecting architecture and city planning

Architect and engineer Carlo Ratti and city design director professor Rob Adams will discuss the impact of the technological revolution on architecture, engineering and city planning at an MTalk today. The digital revolution is changing the way we live today as radically as the industrial revolution did almost two centuries ago. As urbanisation accelerates across the world, digital media and information technologies integrated with the built environment hold huge potential for understanding, designing, and managing future cities.

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Expats rate Melbourne over Sydney, but cost of living holds Australian cities back

Sydney is back in favour with expats - but Melbourne's still on top in Australia, according to a global survey that compares expats' experiences living abroad. The InterNations' Expat City Ranking placed Melbourne 16th worldwide, ahead of Sydney at 21st, and both Australian cities beat Auckland, which came in at 37th. This was a big drop for New Zealand's most populous city, which came in 14th in the 2017 ranking, whereas this year Sydney has leapt up over 20 places from 44th in 2017.

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Victorian election: Guy's plan to release pressure on capital

Matthew Guy would like every Victorian, before they vote in -tomorrow's election, to lie back and think of England. With new Australian Bureau of Statistics population forecasts showing that eight out of every 10 Victorians will be crammed into a bulging greater Melbourne by 2027, the Opposition -Leader -believes a long-term -solution can be adapted from -Britain, where successive governments since Margaret Thatcher's have pursued a policy of decentralisation.

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Cities may struggle to cope with 24 million extra Australians expected by 2066

Planning and infrastructure construction in major cities are lagging behind current needs, experts say, and has a long way to go to accommodate the anticipated 24 million extra Australians projected to call the country home by 2066. The Australian Bureau of Statistics today revealed Australia's population is expected to balloon to as much as 49,226,089 in the next 48 years, buoyed by a stream of international immigration and rising natural increase rate over time.

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2018 Australian Urban Design Awards announced

A new community and cultural precinct, a dynamic regional hospital and an inner-city design quality guide were among the winners of the 2018 Australian Urban Design Awards (AUDA). Presented at a ceremony in Sydney on Thursday 25 October, the Australian Urban Design Awards were established to recognize "contemporary Australian urban design projects of the highest quality and to encourage cities, towns and communities across the country to strive for best practice in all projects." Eleven entries were recognized across four categories, with five entries being named winners.

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Designing cities to counter loneliness? Let’s explore the possibilities

Do you feel lonely? If you do, you are not alone. While you may think it’s a personal mental health issue, the collective social impact is an epidemic. You may also underestimate the effects of loneliness. The health impact of chronic social isolation is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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15 November 2018

Australia needs to triple its social housing by 2036. This is the best way to do it

Australia needs to triple its small stock of social housing over the next 20 years to cover both the existing backlog and newly emerging need. That is the central finding of our new research report on the housing infrastructure needs of low-income earners, published by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI). By our reckoning, 25 years of inadequate investment has left Australia facing a shortfall of 433,000 social housing dwellings.

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How Australian cities are adapting to the Asian Century

China's rise as a global power is driving new flows of people, ideas and capital between China and Australia. Australian cities need to adapt to this new geopolitical reality. For some, these changes promise new opportunities to fulfil a "vision of being a land of increased opportunity, prosperity and fairness". Others see Asian "invasion" and "takeover" as a threat to Australia's white identity and political system.

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Resistance, site size hurdles for medium density uptake

Community resistance and a lack of sizeable development sites are major barriers to medium density development in Perth. Perth and Peel@3.5m promotes higher density residential developments around activity centres, station precincts and along high-frequency public transport routes, to create housing diversity and choice.

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Western Sydney Collaborates on Global City Initiative

Sixteen cities have become founding members of a new global network connecting academia and businesses to identify and combat common challenges that face urban environments. The City Possible initiative, kickstarted by Mastercard, intends to bring together global entities to develop innovative approaches to emerging problems within cities to create a better quality of life for their residents.

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Street smarts are crucial to planning our cities

The congestion on our streets from bikes, dockless bikes, scooters, e-scooters, e-bikes, EV-charging, and even people are making our kerb-side a battleground. We need to think smarter about how these increasing and competing channels can all access the veins of our city. Most roads are still designed for cars first.

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Sydney's growth is not being spread evenly across councils

A review of housing completions across metropolitan Sydney indicates that many councils are not carrying their fair share of growth.

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Pyrmont can become the next high rise peninsula as support for Sydney's CBD

With the Sydney CBD filling up fast with new development the Urban Taskforce believes that a long term plan is needed to continue Sydney as the leading global city in Australia by developing the Pyrmont Peninsula.

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Should adult cyclists be permitted on footpaths?

Riders aren't glorified pedestrians; cycling is a mode of transport that belongs on dedicated on-road and off-road paths. The growing popularity of power-assisted bicycles makes cycling on footpaths by adults a doubtful proposition

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Airbnb not significantly hurting rental affordability in Sydney and Melbourne, report reveals

Airbnb isn't making rental affordability "significantly" worse, but it is reducing the number of properties that are available for long-term renters in Sydney and Melbourne. According to a new report, released today, that applies especially to the "high-demand" suburbs with "significant tourism appeal". The report was from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), which describes itself is a not-for-profit organisation funded by several universities and governments (Federal, state and territory).

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All-hours shopping to reinvigorate Sydney nightlife economy

All-hours shopping and banking throughout central Sydney would be possible under trading hour changes being proposed by the City of Sydney. A review of planning controls could see the 24-hour trading zone being extended across the city centre from Darling Harbour to Hyde Park and Central Station.

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1 November 2018

Artificial intelligence set to speed up development approvals with semi-automated planning decisions: AHURI report

Slow development approvals and inconsistent planning decisions could soon be a thing of the past, with disruptive technologies set to streamline urban planning. Artificial intelligence could soon be sophisticated enough to semi-automate urban planning processes, better predicting the effects of a proposed development and fast-tracking approvals.
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Desire paths: the illicit trails that defy the urban planners

We’ve all been there. You want a short cut – to the bus stop, office or corner shop – but there’s no designated path. Others before you have already flattened the grass, or cut a line through a hedge. Why not, you think.
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Immigration and population levels in NSW to be assessed by 'expert panel'

Immigration has become a prominent issue for Ms Berejiklian, with the Premier raising it on multiple occasions as congestion, housing affordability and urban development look set to become hot topics ahead of next year's state election.
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Urban Planning Guru Says Driverless Cars Won’t Fix Congestion

Mr. Calthorpe is a Berkeley-based urban planner who is one of the creators of New Urbanism, which promotes mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods. His designs emphasize the proximity of housing, shopping and public space. He is not opposed to autonomous vehicles. Mr. Calthorpe’s quarrel is with the idea that the widespread adoption of personally owned self-driving cars will solve transportation problems. In fact, he worries it will lead to more urban congestion and suburban sprawl.
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Maintaining the golden age for some Sydney suburbs, density for others

Urban density has become controversial in Sydney. The broad consensus among state policymakers is that we must have urban growth and a denser city, but where? Density in a scientific sense is the measure of the volumetric mass of an object. But planners think of density as the mass of people or jobs over land, and the community seems to think the denser a place gets, the worse it becomes.
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A better way to do development and bring the community along

Deliberative development could go a long way to replacing the more typical adversarial approach, argues Panos Miltiadou, managing director of Lucent, the first developer to be licensed as a Nightingale housing provider with its Lt. Miller and Nightingale apartments in Brunswick East, Melbourne, currently under construction.
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Fishermans Bend developers face height restrictions under new planning rules

Under the new planning framework, development height will be restricted to mid-rise buildings in several precincts, and 20-storey developments will be required to be set back 10 metres from the street. Developers will also be allowed to build higher dwelling density projects "in exchange for the provision of a defined public benefit", under a strategy aimed at boosting the amount of social housing.
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Smart Cities Council A/NZ releases new development code

The Smart Cities Council and Green Building Council of Australia have released a new standard of practice designed to ensure smart cities are built in ways that are sustainable and deliver numerous benefits to citizens. The Code for Smart Communities is a new benchmark for urban development practices across urban regeneration precincts, greenfield communities and institutional campuses.
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Mum-and-dad plans languish while big developers surge ahead in WA Planning Commission

Nine private landowners collectively own 28 hectares of rural land on sand dunes at the back of Singleton and have spent 10 years and $250,000 in efforts to rezone the blocks urban in order to subdivide them. But while they have patiently waited, neighbouring developments on the same length of dunes have progressed to the earthworks stage, one of which was applied for after the initial Singleton application.
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LandCorp to create Perth micro-lot communities in huge land release

LandCorp wants to deliver Perth’s ‘missing middle’ – the name given to the type of homes that are neither low-density suburbia nor high-density towers. The industry hopes will deliver housing choice and affordability – prices of micro-lot homes are usually around 70-80 per cent of the median house price in an area – for first-home buyers, empty-nesters, downsizers and investors, without building out greenery or compromising Perth’s liveability.
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Northern Gateway City Consortium Unveil Masterplan for $22 Billion City

Boyuan, along with its consortium partners Scentre Group, Western Sydney University, Logos and world-renowned neurosurgeon Professor Charlie Teo will spearhead planning and construction of the new city. The site of the new city is the largest single owner land holdings in the new created Western Sydney Aerotropolis and, according to analysis carried out by Urbis, will inject $21.6 billion into the fast growing regional economy.
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Here’s how to design cities where people and nature can both flourish

Urban nature has a critical role to play in the future liveability of cities. An emerging body of research reveals that bringing nature back into our cities can deliver a truly impressive array of benefits, ranging from health and well-being to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Aside from benefits for people, cities are often hotspots for threatened species and are justifiable locations for serious investment in nature conservation for its own sake. Australian cities are home to, on average, three times as many threatened species per unit area as rural environments. Yet this also means urbanisation remains one of the most destructive processes for biodiversity.
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22 October 2018

Reimagining Sydney: this is what needs to be done to make a Central City CBD work

Today, I introduce a bold proposal to build a Central CBD for metropolitan Sydney, as a real complement to the City of Sydney CBD to the east. Central City 2048 is a 30-year strategic plan, which builds on the Greater Sydney Commission's Greater Sydney Region Plan. Central City 2048 presents a vision for a dynamic, connected and sustainable CBD at the heart of the Greater Sydney metropolitan region.

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Is it time to move beyond the limits of `built environment' thinking?

The constructed world around us provides the stage for our daily life. The term "built environment" is in the past tense, describing a scenario after the fact. What does it actually mean beyond the obvious connotation of buildings and parks? If we look closely at these two words they tell a hidden story. We have built, which is made, created and manufactured, and environment, which can be either human-made or natural. The term links the made world with our natural world. It describes the world we made so far. But the two are separated.

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Canadians increasingly live in the auto-dependent suburbs

Canada is a suburban nation. More than two-thirds of our country's total population now live in the suburbs, meaning policy-makers must deal with the multitude of issues regarding this suburban explosion. In all our largest metropolitan areas, the portion of suburban residents is higher than 80 per cent, including the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal regions.

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Federation Square recommended for heritage listing, threatening Apple store plans

Melbourne's Federation Square has been recommended for heritage protection in a move that could make it more difficult for tech giant Apple to get a permit to build its new store alongside the Yarra River. The National Trust originally made the nomination because chief executive Simon Ambrose said the square needed to be protected for future generations for its historical, architectural, cultural and artistic significance.

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Melbourne train link promised between CBD and Sunshine under Labor's airport rail plan

A new rail tunnel is proposed to be built between Melbourne's CBD and Sunshine under a Labor Government plan to boost train services to the city's booming western suburbs and create fast links to Geelong and Ballarat. The tunnel and extra services would be integrated with the proposed airport rail link, with Sunshine station to become a "super hub".

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Melbourne to build mini-CBDs to cope with the population boom

When you drive or fly into Melbourne, catching sight of the city's skyline on the horizon is one of the first signs you're getting close. Towering over the low-lying suburbs, it sticks out like a beacon, calling people towards the economic heart of the city.

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Isn't long-term planning for urban public transport a no-brainer?

The Rail Futures Institute's Melbourne Rail Plan is the sort of comprehensive metropolitan plan that the Government's failed to release, preferring instead to pull out ad-hoc projects just before the next election. It's hard to pin down what's truly "visionary" from what's merely "a nice possibility", but Victoria's Rail Futures Institute's promised Melbourne Rail Plan 2019-2050 looks a lot more like a game-changer than the Victorian Government's headline election pledge to build a suburban orbital rail line through Melbourne's middle-ring suburbs.

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Cities are using new cloud technology to fight increasingly expensive and catastrophic flooding

Intense storms are becoming much more frequent, resulting in heavier rainfall and flooding that wreaks havoc on local infrastructures, budgets and economies. This summer was one of the wettest on record in much of the Northeast. Study after study have shown that storms with extreme rain are becoming more common, and consequently posing a new challenge to old, outdated stormwater systems in cities large and small. Most of the nation's stormwater systems are simply unable to handle the increasingly heavy rainfall. And it gets worse as urban development increases because there are fewer places for water to go.

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Chinese city 'plans to launch artificial moon to replace streetlights'

In Chengdu, there is reportedly an ambitious plan afoot for replacing the city's streetlights: boosting the glow of the real moon with that of a more powerful fake one. The south-western Chinese city plans to launch an illumination satellite in 2020. According to an account in the People's Daily, the artificial moon is "designed to complement the moon at night", though it would be eight times as bright.

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The Mexican town that refused to become a smart city

Lupita Tecual Porquillo had heard a rumour that the plaza was going to be "remodelled". The 51-year-old grocery store owner lives around the corner from the centre of Santa Maria Tonantzintla, a sleepy town in the state of Puebla, about three hours from Mexico City. She assumed "remodelling" meant repairing the plaza's centuries-old cobblestone pavement.

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How consumer technology is driving smart cities

In just a few short years, we've come to expect miraculous things from our phones. It's not enough to order a ride, anywhere, anytime. Consumers have become accustomed to seeing the car make its way toward them in real time. Consumer technology has advanced so rapidly that any systems lagging behind stand out glaringly. That disparity is one reason cities are under pressure to adopt smart city projects, which use sensors, connected devices, and data to improve municipal systems. So said a panel of smart city experts, on stage at the 2018 GeekWire Summit.

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2 October 2018

Our fast-growing cities and their people are proving to be remarkably adaptable

Outer-suburban dwellers in our large capital cities are the modern version of Menzies' "forgotten people", if the government is to be believed. The image of a low-income commuter forced to spend over an hour driving to the CBD is all too common, as the media reach for a way to make sense of population growth.

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The problem isn't dockless share bikes. It's the lack of bike parking

It's a local government truism that Australian city dwellers care about only three things - rates, rubbish and parking. They want lower rates, the freedom to turf out as much trash as they like, and convenient free car parking. The arrival of dockless share bikes set these attitudes towards parking and rubbish on a collision course.

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Why trackless trams are ready to replace light rail

I began my life as an activist academic in 1979 when the Western Australian government closed the Fremantle railway, saying buses would be better. Patronage immediately fell by 30% and I ran a four-year campaign to save the railway. We won. I have been writing books and running campaigns ever since on why trains and trams are better than buses. But I have changed my mind. The technology has changed, and I think it will end the need for new light rail.

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Lord Mayor Sally Capp gets aboard push for a big Australia

Booming populations are nothing for Australia's big cities to be afraid of, says the mayor of the nation's fasting-growing capital. Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has called on the nation to embrace population growth and change the way new inner-city suburbs are created. She wants our big towns to look more like Sydney's latest development, Barangaroo, and less like her own city's troubled Docklands area.

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Australian cities need to "build up" and "move out"

A new report calls for the development of a national plan of settlement, providing a national vision for Australian cities and regions for the next fifty years. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has released a report titled Building Up and Moving Out.

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Wishlist of goals for cities and nationwide planning

MP John Alexander flagged some ambitious goals for cities and nation-wide planning when he addressed The Fifth Estate's Tomorrowland 2018 just two weeks ago on 6 September and he was optimistic. Now we know why. The Building Up & Moving Out report released on Monday by the committee that he chaired has endorsed a great wish list of ideas for Canberra to embrace.

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Can simulations help Singapore better plan the future?

SECURITY forces in Singapore can soon learn how to best respond to a real attack on the city, through digital simulations on a 3D model. The "Virtual Singapore" project will soon be accessible to state agencies for urban planning and disaster mitigation in the city. The project will also be made available to the public later on.

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Iconic London phone boxes get high-tech upgrade, prompting surveillance fears

The British telephone box is not dead yet. In parts of central London, a box stands sentinel every 30 metres; and if phone companies got their way they'd plant one every 15 metres. But these are not the red cast-iron cubicles that for generations were emblems of Britain. Instead, critics say, they are eyesores, covered in digital ad screens and capable of being turned into surveillance posts.

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Tick a Box Planning makes Sydney Apartments Dull

At a recent forum on Innovative Apartments it became clear that the design of Sydney's apartments is being overly controlled by a tick a box planning system. "Over the last decade the government rules and guides for the design of apartment buildings has become more complex leading to a tick a box planning assessment process that is leading to less innovation and design diversity".

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NSW Government Architect role important for the state's urbanisation

The NSW Government must appoint a new Government Architect to replace Peter Poulet. "The recent move of the current NSW Government Architect, Peter Poulet, to a reduced role in the Greater Sydney Commission leaves a vacant leadership role for design in the NSW Government".

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14 September 2018

Urbanites can be divided into six different tribes, to help make cities fit for all

When analysed across the years, digital traces can help scientists and governments to understand at an unprecedented scale how societies in different parts of the world cope with major events, such as recessions or major policy changes.

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Can Density Prevent Diabetes?

A team of academics from several Australian universities have begun a two-and-a-half year study to determine the best strategies for designing high-density developments that promote physical and mental health—specifically type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.

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Why are peppercorn trees always planted at schools?

Have you ever wondered how the trees on your street were chosen? The answer is more complex than you might think.

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Developers accused of demolishing Corkman Irish Pub sentenced for dumping asbestos

Developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski were each fined $120,000 for failing to securely contain asbestos-riddled debris at the site of the demolished Corkman Irish Hotel in inner-city Carlton, and for then dumping it in Cairnlea, in Melbourne's north-west.

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Sky rail construction blamed by residents for damaging Melbourne homes

Two homeowners in Melbourne's south-east claim construction of the State Government's sky rail project has caused serious structural damage to their homes — a claim disputed by the authority in charge.

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North East Link road project design to feature twin tunnels, green bridges, new cycling paths

Bridges covered in greenery, 25 kilometres of cycling and walking paths and better noise standards will form part of the proposed $15.8 billion North East Link, plans unveiled by the Andrews Government have revealed.

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German Cities To Trial Ambitious Free Public Transport Plans

The university city of Tübingen, in southwest Germany, is testing free public transportation for all residents. Two weeks ago, the city began a two-year pilot project using its own funds to provide free rides on Saturdays.

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An Australian Place to Call Home

As Melbourne’s population hits 5 million, adding 1 million people in only a year, Victoria must use its land wisely to meet the growing need for affordable housing

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Making Cities Work for Every Urban Dweller

It’s the urban age for people – and for other species too – so it’s time to start planning for all the plants and animals that call our cities home

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Slowing Foot Traffic Costs Cities, Auckland Study Finds

Pedestrians are often seen as contributing to the cost of congestion by obstructing the flow of traffic. In fact, walking is the most important transport mode in Auckland city centre. But what if you could put a dollar value on the benefit of a walkable city? Until recently this has not been measured. A world-leading project has shown it can now measure the value of walking versus other forms of transport

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Designing greener streets starts with finding room for bicycles and trees

Today there is growing support for bicycling in many U.S. cities for both commuting and recreation. Research is also showing that urban trees provide many benefits, from absorbing air pollutants to cooling neighborhoods.

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6 September 2018

Has Daniel Andrews gone loopy on rail?

The Andrews government's planned $50 billion loop rail line around outer suburban Melbourne signals Victorian Labor has joined the other parties in giving up on rational urban policy

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Liverpool mixed-use city centre should be the model for all centres

The announcement by NSW Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, that the Liverpool city centre has been rezoned for mixed-use is a good model for all centres across Sydney.

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Work Habits Are Changing: Cities Need to Keep Up

Changes in the world of work are well-documented. Smart technologies, AI, cloud computing, wireless mobility-you name it-all have a profound impact on how work is being performed. Recent research shows that remote work has been on a steady rise. Should cities care?

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Data Analytics in Urban Planning: New Tools for Old Problems

Asian societies are rapidly urbanizing. As populations, wealth and cities expand in the region, the need for urban planning is critical. Some cities in Asia are doing it better than others, and Singapore is one of them. BRINK Asia spoke with Huang Zhongwen, director of Digital Planning Lab at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), about the complexities and intricacies of urban planning and about how urban planners in Singapore are making the most of new tools such as geospatial and data analytics to address what are really age-old issues that cities have faced through the centuries.

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Look up Australia, cable cars could ease our traffic woes

Sections of cities all over the world are being demolished to meet increasing demand for transport infrastructure. The process of building new roads, harbour crossings, metro systems and light rail lines seems unending. Large-scale construction includes loss of public space, housing and backyards.

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Our new PM wants to `bust congestion' - here are four ways he could do that

Road congestion is costing Australia more than an avoidable A$16 billion every year. This is set to almost double to A$30 billion by 2030. That's why we have a new minister for cities and urban infrastructure, Alan Tudge, who says he's looking forward to "congestion busting".

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Introducing land rent, the ACT's excellent idea for making houses cheaper

Australian home prices have risen 60% in the past five years. That's great news for the 7 million households who own one. But at the same time 3 million Australian households pay a total of A$50 billion per year in rent. The more prices rise, the further away their dreams of home ownership drift.

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`Children belong in the suburbs': with more families in apartments, such attitudes are changing

Australian cities are growing rapidly. Echoing international trends, higher-density housing will accommodate much of this growth in the inner city. Such housing - mostly apartments, townhouses and blocks of flats - is usually associated with young urban professionals and the childless elite. But families with children do live in apartments and even more will do so in the future.

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Local councils put affordable housing supply in the too hard basket

Public concern about housing affordability in Australia is well documented. It would be reasonable to assume our local governments are giving the supply of affordable housing the attention it deserves. However, our national survey reveals that while it’s a growing concern for many local governments across the country, especially in metropolitan areas, most councils do not view the provision of affordable housing as a priority for them.

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Spills and City Deals: what Turnbull's urban policy has achieved, and where we go from here

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recently announced ministry includes a new Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population. Alan Tudge's first Tweet in his new role announced he is "looking forward to my new congestion busting role".

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Isn’t there a much, much better way to do cross-city public transport?

Melbourne needs better cross-city public transport, but the Andrews government’s promise to build a single suburban orbital rail “loop” isn’t the way to provide a real solution. Despite the eye watering cost, it doesn’t even come close.

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27 August 2018

Are Australian bridges safe, and can we do better?

After the tragedy in the Italian city Genoa, where a highway bridge collapsed killing more than 40 people, nations seem to be taking stock of the maintenance levels of their bridges. There are reports thousands of UK bridges are at risk of collapse, and there are hundreds of similarly damaged bridges in France, Germany and Italy itself. Australia is no different to other developed countries in this regard, where a lot of bridges are old and deteriorating, and we would be foolish to think we are immune.

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Technology hasn't killed public libraries - it's inspired them to transform and stay relevant

In 2017, archaeologists discovered the ruins of the oldest public library in Cologne, Germany. The building may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls, and dates back to the Roman era in the second century. When literacy was restricted to a tiny elite, this library was open to the public. Located in the centre of the city in the marketplace, it sat at the heart of public life. We may romanticise the library filled with ancient books; an institution dedicated to the interior life of the mind. But the Cologne discovery tells us something else. It suggests libraries may have meant something more to cities and their inhabitants than being just repositories of the printed word.

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Genoa bridge collapse: maintaining these structures is a constant battle against traffic and decay

As rescue workers look for survivors in the concrete rubble that used to be part of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italian authorities are starting their investigation into the possible causes behind this terrible tragedy. It is too early to determine what may have caused the catastrophic collapse of more than 100 metres of the multi-span, cable-stayed suspension bridge, completed just over 50 years ago. But it's important to understand that bridge engineering does not end when construction finishes and traffic starts to flow.

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Is Canberra's public transport the best we can do?

Whenever the ACT government is pressured into defending its light rail network plan the response is that overseas experience has shown that wherever light rail has been introduced there have been increases in property values, development and public transport use. In Canberra it seems that there will be another effect that is exemplified by a proposition made by Hindmarsh developers to the Woden Valley community council in August. Hindmarsh will underwrite a cooperative exercise with the community to plan the surroundings of its proposed twin 27-storey tower development that is to be situated within 200 metres of the light rail route.

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'Australia's tallest skyscraper' risks turning Melbourne into 'Asian mega city'

An ambitious plan to build Australia's tallest tower in the inner city suburb of Southbank has sparked fears that Melbourne could be transformed into an "Asian mega city". But opinion is divided on whether the $2 billion project will even go ahead, with one planning expert predicting that it's nothing more than a stunt designed to build the profile of the developers and architects.

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Cities: Our representation to the global community

Every country in the world today is fighting tooth and nail to establish and sustain their economies. Governments around the world invest a substantial amount of their resources to urbanize their towns and cities. The process of urbanization is meticulous and of global significance. A country's development and modernism are key elements that control its future. After all, trade and economics are no longer domestic concerns. Avant-garde cities are not merely cities with beautiful landscapes. For a city to truly represent its country, it has to walk a tightrope of history and modernity. A city's historical landmarks add to its culture while its infrastructure defines its place in today's times.

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The Importance of Building Smart Cities and the `Internet of Things'

Being connected to the wider world has never been easier as access to high speed broadband internet continues to expand and become widely available across the country. By embracing IoT technology, developers can work to create nationalised networked cities and bring "smart cities" into reality throughout Australia - something that residents are actively looking for when purchasing their future homes, and a unique selling point developers can use to secure buyers for their new projects.

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Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs Reveals What Its Toronto Smart City May Look Like

Last October, the urban technology company Sidewalk Labs, part of Google's parent company Alphabet, announced its marquee project, Quayside: a ground-up development on the Toronto waterfront that would serve as a testing ground for new urban infrastructure, urban design, and building technologies. Back then, questions abounded: What products would be tested at Quayside? What would the buildings look like? What sort of data would Sidewalk Labs gather on Quayside's residents, workers, and visitors? While the latter question remain unanswered, a recent public presentation by Sidewalk Labs gave strong hints as to the project's look and feel.

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