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.

 


12 June 2020



Vilnius Shows How the Pandemic Is Already Remaking Cities
Vilnius isn’t the same city it was before the coronavirus. The Lithuanian capital has transformed into an open-air café, where hundreds of restaurants and bars can set up shop in its plazas, squares, and streets and serve customers from a safe distance. It also briefly operated a drive-in movie theater at the city’s idle airport, where people could gather in their cars to watch films projected against a giant screen. And next month, it will ban most cars from its Old Town to allocate more space to pedestrians.
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New look for urban density, design
New design guidelines and refined zoning could improve the rollout of medium density housing in established urban areas.
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How Urban Planners Are Reacting to Climate Change
From a design perspective, cities are in a unique position when it comes to climate change. Among the largest sources of emissions globally, they are also highly vulnerable to its consequences. According to one report, 70% of cities worldwide are already dealing with the effects of climate change, and nearly all cities face some kind of risk. But they are also potentially powerful agents of change. Policy at the national level has moved painfully slow in most countries, but urban areas have the authority to make meaningful changes in land use and zoning, transportation, green space, and energy policy.
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Our post-pandemic landscapes must be more equitable by design
The disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis on the poor and marginalised have helped to ignite protests exposing long-standing inequalities. Much of this injustice is manifest in the way we design and regulate our cities.
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Road rage runs deep: How can we overcome the motorist-cyclist divide?
We talk frequently about the value of cycling lanes but what are the values that underpin obstacles to inclusive traffic systems? New research suggests that divisions between motorists and cyclists run deep, and terms such as ‘road rage’ use situational language to mask the real problem.
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Urban planning expert defends Surfers Paradise from 'sneering' Gold Coast locals
Surfers Paradise is marketed as a jewel in the crown of Gold Coast tourism, but an online survey has found locals avoid taking visitors to the Glitter Strip because they believe it is dirty and has insufficient parking.
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The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here
The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.
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Small is beautiful: Planning for a post-Covid world
Is the ‘20-minute neighbourhood’ the solution to the impacts that the coronavirus epidemic is having on our lives?
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The seven types of Perth suburbs that coped best with the pandemic shutdown
McMansion-dwellers in suburbs far from jobs and services and uninviting to pedestrians fared badly during shutdowns, says a prominent Perth urban planner; meanwhile, residents in self-sufficient neighbourhoods with compact homes were much better equipped.
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1 June 2020



The Car Is Like A Virus, Says Urban Planner But This Is One Pandemic That Politicians Can Prevent
Let me introduce you to Austrian civil engineer Dr. Hermann Knoflacher. This urban planner once led the Institute for Transport Planning and Technology at the Vienna University of Technology. Motor centric guy, then? Not a bit; he has described the car as a “virus” infecting the planet. Sound familiar?
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How urban planners' preference for male trees has made your hay fever worse
Horticulturists urge better sex mix of city trees to mitigate rising asthma and CO2 pollution levels.
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The coronavirus crisis is reshaping the world. One transformation that might be here to stay? How our restaurants, gyms, bars and parks are designed – and how we use them.
As many countries ease lockdown restrictions, residents are returning to old spaces that now feel unfamiliar. The places themselves did not change – but from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, the way we are allowed to navigate them is going to be radically different.
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COVID-19: How past crises are helping the world's cities to respond and rebuild
Advocates of "urban resilience" say the holistic approach - which has gained traction around the world in recent years - can improve how cities handle all manner of shocks and stresses. In trying to build resilience, cities analyse complex systems and how their different parts might be affected by a range of threats. The aim is to keep residents, property, infrastructure and nature safe - and emerge stronger from a crisis.
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Governments urged to buy up apartments to boost affordable housing stocks
State and federal governments have been urged to spend big on unsold apartments and convert them into affordable housing properties to support the economic recovery.
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Coronavirus self-isolation highlights poorly laid-out neighbourhoods, experts say
As we retreat into our homes and our worlds shrink to the size of our immediate neighbourhoods, experts say issues with the way our houses, towns, suburbs and cities are set up will come into sharp focus.
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Urgent need to stimulate NSW private sector construction work before it is too late
The value of private construction activity has dropped sharply in the first three months of 2020 according to ABS data released today. But when you look at the value of construction per capita, it is clear that the construction sector in NSW is in freefall and needs urgent support or the NSW economy is in big trouble. What is even more scary is that this data covers construction activity in January, February and March – two thirds of which is before the COVID-19 close down was initiated. There is an urgent need for an unlocking of any private sector capital investment which is ready to commit to jobs and growth in this important jobs-rich sector of our economy.
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The sleeper issue that could collapse the commercial property market
In the enthusiasm of Governments around the nation to be pro-active with financial support for COVID-19, commercial landlords have been abandoned – particularly those who rely on small to medium sized enterprises for their income. Contract law has been tipped on its head. Commercial property lessors now must bear the burden of the financial stress of their tenants. In the context of COVID-19, this seems, superficially, a case of sharing the pain in the “unprecedented” economic situation. But the precedent is now established – and it is dangerous.
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14 May 2020



Without migrant buyers, Australia's property market is expected to struggle for 'several years'
The lack of migration to Australia due to coronavirus is expected to hit the property market hard and experts say there is no knowing how long it will take to bounce back.
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Planning approvals to stay the course
Planning Ministers around Australia have agreed to a set of principles to ensure approvals maintain a regular pace throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
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A city of homebodies? How coronavirus will change Sydney
How coronavirus will change the face of urban planning in Sydney.
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Could Melbourne become the Copenhagen of the south?
Imagine a city with beautiful and protected public squares and boulevards. A city obsessed with good design and urban planning, where medium density neighbourhoods are walkable and well serviced by public transport.
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More cycleways, streets to shut, footpaths widened under NSW's COVID-19 plan
Local councils will be encouraged to widen walkways, close roads and create new cycle paths under a new state government scheme designed to accommodate greater use of public outdoor space.
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Airport cities and aerotropolises after the COVID-19 pandemic
What should happen to all the airport cities and aerotropolises currently being built or planned? How can airports be more resilient in the future? How can airport cities and aerotropolises still be business models for the future? What needs to be done now to prepare for a post-pandemic world?
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Melbourne in a post-pandemic world: how the virus could transform the city
It’s early days but urban planners are already pondering the marks that will be left by COVID-19.
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The Future of Infrastructure: Looking Beyond 2020
Rapid changes in population growth, technological development and customer expectations all present significant challenges to infrastructure provision both today and looking into the future beyond 2020.
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Deputy Mayor challenges staff over developer meetings
Central Coast Council planning staff have attended 22 meetings of a group that represents the interests of developers. However, they have not attended any meetings of other stakeholder groups over the same two and half year period..
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Our cities owe much of their surviving heritage to Jack Mundey
Jack Mundey, who has died at the age of 90, was a pioneer of the Australian heritage movement. As well as contributing to labor and environmental politics, Mundey reconceived of the ways that Australians related to their cities and heritage places.
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14 April 2020



Land use census platform improves council planning
A cloud-based technology that helps local governments understand their municipalities and improve urban planning is now available to councils across Australia after being redeveloped by Melbourne City Council.
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Urban planning in a post-pandemic world
Urban living in a post-pandemic world will be more local, compact, pedestrian-friendly and connected, according to a leading urban planner.
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The average regional city resident lacks good access to two-thirds of community services, and liveability suffers
In research for the newly launched Australian Urban Observatory we found people living in urban neighbourhoods of regional cities have satisfactory access to only 31% (five of 16) of essential community services on average.
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NSW Fast Tracks Construction and Development Planning
New South Wales will fast-track the planning process for development applications in a bid to keep the construction sector ticking, as it maintains a pipeline of work through the Covid-19 crisis.
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Coronavirus self-isolation highlights poorly laid-out neighbourhoods, experts say
As we retreat into our homes and our worlds shrink to the size of our immediate neighbourhoods, experts say issues with the way our houses, towns, suburbs and cities are set up will come into sharp focus.
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Disasters, Planning and Australian Tourism
Australia’s devastating bushfire season of 2019-2020 highlights our country’s vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change. The events also impact on global perceptions of Australia; the fires clash with the idea that we are a safe tourist destination. And just as many communities begin to work toward recovery – a second tourism blow for the country emerged – COVID-19.
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5th March 2020



Plans for high towers dwarfing Sydney's Central station spark concerns
Plans to allow for buildings up to 206 metres high at the southern end of Sydney’s CBD, including a 39-storey tower planned for tech giant Atlassian, have stoked fears that they will dwarf the landmark Central railway station and lead to "adverse visual impacts". An area named the western gateway is the first stage of a massive redevelopment of the 24-hectare Central precinct, which extends from the railway station to Cleveland Street.
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City of Sydney endorses planning control which could see skyline rise by 100 metres
The City of Sydney has endorsed changes to planning controls in Sydney's CBD which could see the city's skyline rise by about 100 metres. The changes will remove the 235-metre cap on building height limits and could allow for towers in Barangaroo, Central Station, Circular Quay and Town Hall to be as high as 330 metres..
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Crestwood defies odds to celebrate 50 years as the first 'perfect' Radburn neighbourhood in the world.
A "catastrophe", "total disaster", a "crazy, ludicrous living hell" — that's how politicians described some of Australia's most radically designed neighbourhoods.
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“This is not a wicked problem”: Healthabitat is making housing better for Australia’s Indigenous communities
Healthabitat, a non-profit company has been working for more than three decades to identify a quantifiable link between housing and health in remote Aboriginal communities, and to offer solutions to clearly articulated, fixable problems. The company applies a scientific approach to what some have seen as a social and cultural problem.
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Environmental concerns get top billing in Infrastructure Australia priority list for first time
Rising sea levels, water security and waste management are among the environmental challenges that Infrastructure Australia has, for the first time, elevated to the top tier of its priorities list.
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Sea level rise will see 40pc of Australia's beaches lost, predicts new study
The issue for many popular beaches both in Australia and around the world, is that we've built towns, cities and infrastructure right up to the sand. Many coastal systems have already lost their natural capacity to accommodate or recover from erosion, as the backshore is heavily occupied by human settlements.
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Gladstone to run on gas-green hydrogen blend as gigawatt-scale plans take shape
Gladstone set to become the nation’s green hydrogen hotspot with two new projects seeking to tap the opportunities in the domestic supply of zero-emissions gas and in the emerging export market. Located in central Queensland, Gladstone is set to become the first entire city in the nation to be on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen.
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SA Government "hits pause" on "generational" planning reforms
The Planning and Design Code – and a corresponding ePlanning framework – was causing friction among councils and the building industry, with the Local Government Association and Urban Development Institute of Australia among those calling for the deadline to be wound back.
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Victoria to introduce container deposit scheme as part of recycling industry overhaul
The Victorian Government will begin rolling out a four-bin kerbside recycling scheme across the state next year and introduce a container deposit scheme by 2023 as part of a $129 million overhaul of Victoria's recycling industry.
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Warning over 'heat island' effect in cities as tree coverage declines
Australian cities are increasingly becoming concrete jungles as trees and canopy coverage disappear, according to experts who warn this is contributing to an urban "heat island" effect.
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21 February 2020



There's no need to give up on crowded cities — we can make density so much better
The idea that we should decentralise our population has come up many times in Australia. Recently, the National Farmers' Federation president pushed the notion, calling for a shift to the regions. And the premise is this: city living is unpleasant. Roads are jammed, housing is expensive and it's all so much nicer out in the country. We need to "spread out"...
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Urban planners say China's effort to quarantine 35 million people could help contain the coronavirus outbreak — but it's impossible to seal off a city
Most urban planners don’t design a city with the idea of sealing it off. Many advocate for the opposite: making cities as free-flowing as possible to encourage tourism and attract workers.
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WA tourist town of Denham to become zero-emission community powered by hydrogen
The small coastal town of Denham, in Western Australia's Shark Bay world heritage area, could become a zero-emission community as it prepares to trial a hydrogen plant powered by solar energy.
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Melbourne is already Australia’s biggest city
The only reason why Sydney is currently Australia’s biggest city is because the official boundaries used to draw the city limits are bogus.
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Toyota unveils plan to build 'city of the future' near Mount Fuji
Toyota has unveiled plans to build a sustainable “city of the future” near Mount Fuji that will run on hydrogen fuel cells and become a living laboratory for self-driving vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence.
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Beyond the backyard - The sprawling suburban idyll is a victim of our modern lifestyle
The backyard is a victim of the modern, cosmopolitan lifestyle embraced by a nation of city dwellers who perversely want less and less to do with one another..
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Mandurah buys up land from developers to manage a population growth surge
In 2006, the city noticed the predicted growth and began a policy of buying bushland off developers to retain for community use.
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Are eucalypts too dangerous for our suburbs?
Downed trees have caused widespread disruption for thousands of residents recovering from severe storms in recent weeks, fuelling renewed debate about how to better protect communities from the elements. As the clean-up continues, concerns around the planting of eucalyptus trees in urban areas are being voiced.
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Bendigo's fire risk likely to rise in fringe suburbs: expert
The Country Fire Authority has warned the City of Greater Bendigo to avoid development in high risk bushland areas as part of its advisory role. CFA North West Region Manager Community Safety David Allen said the authority worked with the city's strategic planners to advise on bushfire safety for future growth.
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6th February 2020



Darwin’s ‘smart city’ project is about surveillance and control
Darwin City Council installed a network of hundreds of new devices across the centre of the city last year. This web of “smart” lights, environmental sensors and video cameras is designed to give the council more power to monitor and manage urban places – and the people who occupy them.
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Paved for the people: In Melbourne, a parking lot has become a public square
Prahran Square addresses a desperate need to provide safe space for a growing local community. Located in a suburb just south-east of Melbourne, the new 10,000 square metre public space occupies a once unremarkable asphalt carpark. .
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High-rise families rely on child-friendly neighbourhoods
For families living in apartments, public playgrounds aren’t only an attraction but an essential counter-balance to their life within high-rises. With more apartment-dwelling families than ever, planning guidelines need to create and safeguard child-friendly, outdoor public space..
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Perth developer’s plan to turn sleepy suburban shops into $100 million mega-mall
A sprawling, sleepy suburban shopping centre whose biggest offering for three decades has been a Coles and a Kmart is being transformed into Perth’s latest “town centre” complete with a mega-mall, apartments, and a family entertainment precinct..
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E-scooters – cities should embrace them
Large ungainly versions of the childhood microscooter have started to populate cities around the world. These electric scooters can be seen dotting streets, parks, pavements all over. Many people own them individually, and hire schemes in some cities mean that they are increasingly available for more general use too.

E-scooters are now legal in a growing number of countries, though there are very different rules as to where they can be used. Sometimes, riders are allowed to use pedestrian walks, sometimes roads, and sometimes cycle tracks. But the emerging consensus is that e-scooters should be treated as bicycles..
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Why Australian road rules should be rewritten to put walking first
You are walking east on a footpath and come to an unmarked intersection without traffic signals. A vehicle is driving north, across your path. Who has right of way in Australia?.
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How Long Will Australia Be Livable?
Facing a future of fire, drought, and rising oceans, Australians will have to weigh the choice between getting out early or staying to fight.
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Fiona Simson's 2020s vision: let's double the population outside capital cities
No longer can we entertain platitudes and have half-hearted attempts at ‘decentralisation’. We need to set a goal and spread out.
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Australia home to three of the world’s 21 smartest cities
Three Australian cities have been recognised among the world’s top 21 smart cities. Adelaide, Prospect and the Sunshine Coast have won places among ‘Smart21’, administered by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a global think tank. This is the third consecutive year of making the Smart21 for the City of Adelaide, and marks a significant step to greater recognition as an Intelligent Community..
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29 Nov 2019


GOD save us: greenspace-oriented development could make higher density attractive
Around the world, the vast majority of people are flocking to cities not to dwell in their centres but to live in the new suburbs expanding their outer limits. Reflecting this, from 2000 to 2015, the expansion of urbanised land worldwide outpaced urban population growth. The result is unprecedented urban sprawl. Public resistance to so-called infill development is unlikely to be overcome without a major change in how cities approach urban densification. We advocate greenspace-oriented development, or GOD, which provides substantial, public green spaces to serve surrounding higher-density neighbourhoods..
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How to turn Auckland's inner city streets into public spaces people can enjoy
The streets of downtown Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, are about to be transformed. A masterplan for the city centre was approved back in 2012, and now a proposed design is open for feedback. The idea behind this masterplan is to design the central city as a cohesive public space rather than simply the sum of a thousand independent decisions..
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Canberra developers say they aren't to blame for bad buildings, as Government plans 'dodgy developer' ban
Some of Canberra's largest property developers have suggested the ACT Government should stop hassling head office and get out on the construction site if it wants to improve building quality. The criticism has come in response to proposed laws designed to tackle "dodgy" property developers escaping accountability for poor quality work.
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Trendy inner-city suburbs get cash splash at outer suburbs' expense: report
In an audit of all urban planning policies in Australia a 30-Year-Plan came out as one of the best examples of best practice. However, there has been a lot of attention on 10 kilometres around the city centre.
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What ever happened to (Australian) urbanism?
With Australia’s population set to almost double by 2066, the handwringing over increased density and sprawl will only increase. Yet these circumstances offer architects and urban planners an opportunity for courageous creativity..
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Planning Greater Sydney
The creation of a dedicated commission to oversee the planning of Greater Sydney presents an invaluable opportunity to implement an integrated, spatial plan underpinned by public transport and civic infrastructure. But do our conventional planning methods meet the needs of our evolving cities?
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How a city's 'latte line' exposes Australia's economic divide
If there’s a single phrase that’s had its day, it’s “latte sippers”, frequently used by right-wing pundits living in exclusive areas of Melbourne and Sydney to disparage so-called lefties and greenies in gentrifying inner-city areas. Surprising then, to learn that the term “latte line” is commonly used by town planners and economists to describe a hypothetical boundary separating the haves from the have-nots..
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Premier decrees mandatory e-planning
It will become a mandatory for metropolitan councils to use the NSW government’s e-planning and reporting system from next year, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced..
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In the path of disaster: The big causes of bushfires that most of us are missing
A decade after the deadly Black Saturday bushfires devastated Kinglake, razing entire streets of the rural township north-east of Melbourne, population density in some of the worst-hit areas is now much higher than before the firestorm hit..
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Driverless vehicles and pedestrians don't mix. So how do we re-arrange our cities?
Videos showing autonomous or self-driving vehicles weaving in and out of crossroads at speed without colliding suggest this technology will solve traffic problems. You almost never see pedestrians or cyclists in these videos. The reality is that they don’t fit..
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7 Nov 2019



No Australian city has a long-term vision for living sustainably. We can't go on like this
International and internal migration trends have driven rapid growth in the big cities, especially Melbourne and Sydney. This has created major problems with providing adequate housing, infrastructure and services. The fundamental issue is the reluctance of urban communities and their leaders to discuss what might be sustainable populations..
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Using economics to improve urban planning
Urban economics can help transform the way local councils approach planning proposals, enabling them to take into consideration economic assessments and leading to better decision making, an expert says..
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'Liveable and loveable': A new approach to planning for Sydney
Sydney’s natural beauty might be the envy of the world, but parts of the city are not "loveable" because of the dominance of the car, according to a leading urban planner. Stephen Moore, the director of Roberts Day, said Sydney’s older neighbourhoods were superior to newer suburbs based on his concept of the loveable city.
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Is a design in Bankstown the solution to Australia’s population growth?
Sydney’s Bankstown may have the answer with an integrated transport and place framework by Australian urban planning and design practice RobertsDay. The project has received community support, and will result in 30 percent more pedestrian space, 84 percent more street trees, and an additional 4.2km of cycle paths. Traffic modelling predicts that the changes would move 16 percent of traffic from the CBD without any negative impact on travel times or level of service..
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You can’t boost Australia’s north to 5 million people without a proper plan
Any moves to greatly increase the population of northern Australian by 2060 could have a devastating impact on the local environment without long-term careful planning by all tiers of government. That’s the finding of research that looked at several scenarios to increase the population of the north to 5 million people..
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How we feel about our cars means the road to a driverless future may not be smooth
Autonomous vehicles operating on a network would allow traffic to move safely and seamlessly through cities. They would use less space per vehicle. Traffic flow would be unhindered by traffic lights or other traditional driver signals. More efficient transportation would use less fuel. Urban spaces could be repurposed as parking needs virtually disappear.

But this utopian vision depends on a range of factors. In particular, these predictions largely rely on how current car drivers respond to the advent of autonomous vehicles..
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The politics of value: good planning makes dollars and sense
Phoebe Harrison explores how planners and planning have a crucial role to play in reviving trust in public institutions and the democratic systems that should be building our cities.
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Günther Vogt and the sensory city
Zurich-based landscape architect Günther Vogt is bringing nature and consideration of intimate human experience into big urban infrastructure projects..
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Why isn't Australia planning new cities?
Other countries are planning new cities using technological innovation to achieve more sustainable development. Why Australia’s focus is almost solely on growing our existing metropolises?
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10 Oct 2019


Innovative approach to urban planning launched in WA
Urban planning and design practice RobertsDay is introducing a radical new way of considering local planning proposals, enabling local governments to undertake economic assessments, rationally forecast future revenues and improve their financial capacity to invest back into their communities. The result, says the practice, allows the “creating happier and healthier neighbourhoods – and more autonomous and fiscally independent local governments.”.
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NSW - Missing Middle Delay Allows Councils To Define Appropriate Locations For Townhouses
“The implementation of the Missing Middle town house code in NSW has been poorly communicated to the Sydney community.” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “It will be some years since the initial announcement by the NSW Government that a new complying code for town houses and terrace houses will increase density without the need for taller towers. But the community and council reaction was that the code could destroy the character of the existing low rise suburbs.”
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Urban squeeze pushes great Australian dream to the fringes
A landmark report released by the CSIRO earlier this year — "Australia 2060" — signalled the country might face a "slow decline" if it failed to take action on a number of economic, social and environmental factors. The report said an urban shift towards density, creating a wider mix of housing options and improving transport infrastructure, were among the changes needed.
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Shh! Don't mention the public housing shortage. But no serious action on homelessness can ignore it
Today, October 10, is World Homeless Day. Next week the Council to Homeless Persons will convene the Victorian Homelessness Conference to discuss options for ending homelessness. On the program are presentations and discussions about Aboriginal homelessness, youth homelessness, the links between mental health and homelessness, the NDIS, and a debate about tiny homes. Nowhere is there any mention of, or provision for discussion about, public housing.
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Why we need 'crazy' ideas for new city parks
Two seemingly unrelated but important things happened in Melbourne last week. One was a memorial service for David Yencken AO; the other was the exhibition opening of the Future Park Design Ideas Competition. The connection between the two is that both gave us radical ideas for Melbourne’s open space.
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Global bank urges cities to invest in new infrastructure to adapt to climate change
The impacts of climate change on weather, sea levels, food and water supplies should be seen as an investment opportunity for our cities, says global investment banking firm Goldman Sachs. In a report out last month the bank says cities need to adapt to become more resilient to climate change and this could “drive one of the largest infrastructure build-outs in history”.
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A blueprint for Melbourne’s public transport future
Public transport is not keeping pace with Melbourne’s rapid population growth. New suburbs emerge without adequate train and bus services, more and more motor vehicles clog the roads, train and tram passengers become frustrated at extended travel times and crowding while tired airport arrivals cannot get fast transfers to their destinations..
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26 Sept 2019



It's time to plan a national settlement strategy
While Australia has never had a formal population policy – immigration policy has emerged as its proxy, and the disconnect between urban planning and immigration is generating massive economic, social and environmental consequences. In this context, it is heartening that the nation’s treasurers have recently agreed to work together to develop a national population and planning framework.
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Urban planner’s left-field idea to boost infrastructure: More immigration
Australia must increase its migrant intake if it is to fund its infrastructure splurge and compete on the world stage, an urban planner has claimed.
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Why urban sprawl is harmful to your health
Ten per cent of Australians live in homes harmful to their health, according to planning experts, who argue health should be at the forefront of planning laws and regulations..
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Working the system: 3 ways planners can defy the odds to promote good health for all of us
We know better urban planning can encourage healthier behaviours. Providing infrastructure for walking and cycling is a prime example. Yet there are other, often overlooked, ways that urban planners are on the front line when it comes to promoting the health of Australians. In particular, the way cities are planned can reduce inequities in both access to health services and health outcomes. This has important implications for the health of individuals and their communities..
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Superblocks are transforming Barcelona. They might work in Australian cities too
The Spanish city of Barcelona has pioneered an innovative approach to managing traffic, freeing up public space and promoting walking and cycling. The “superblocks” model produces considerable health and economic benefits, according to newly published research, and could be applied in Australian cities too..
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People want and need more housing choice. It's about time governments stood up to deliver it
Australians need greater housing diversity to meet their current and future housing needs. Yet increasing diversity, and meeting the need for more smaller dwellings in particular, has proved surprisingly difficult to achieve. Vested interests – both the big end of town and traditionalists seeking to preserve Australians’ suburban way of life – have come together in a rare alliance to argue against policies to deliver more diverse housing..
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Renegade gardeners take fight to councils in race to beat the heat
Between 2013 and 2017 green areas in Australia's capital cities and regional areas fell by around 2 per cent, according to a study by Marco Amati, environmental scientist and associate professor of International Planning at RMIT's Centre for Urban Research. That means trees, shrubs and grass have been lost and not replaced over that five-year period. This might not sound much until you put it into perspective. "It's the equivalent of 42 Melbourne Cricket Grounds being lost every day during that period," said Amati.
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Nation is sleepwalking towards a three-megacity debacle
The impact of the Commonwealth not extending its population planning efforts beyond adjusting immigration rates is being deeply felt across Australia. A recent Infrastructure Australia audit warned that business-as-usual growth would incur substantial losses in national productivity – from a doubling of congestion costs to $38.8 billion in the next 12 years to a deterioration in employment choices and work-life balance..
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What changes are needed to get more Australians on their bikes?
Cities in Australia and overseas are building and planning cycling superhighways to encourage people to use pedal power to get around. But increasing the number of cycling commuters will require cultural change as well as infrastructure investment.
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Could rooftop gardens save our cities from climate change?
Rooftop gardens could help cool our cities amid climate change, but archaic planning laws are holding back a green revolution.
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5th Sept 2019

Flexible working, the neglected congestion-busting solution for our cities
Traffic congestion is one of the most significant challenges facing our cities. Melbourne’s population is growing by around 325 people a day and is projected to overtake Sydney’s within a decade. Identified as the most congested city in the country, this was a factor in Melbourne losing its seven-year grip on the “world’s most liveable city” title last year. One obvious solution to traffic congestion, caused mostly by workers commuting to jobs in the city centre during peak hours, might appear to be building more, or bigger, roads. But a less obvious answer, and potentially a more cost-effective one, might be to increase flexible working arrangements.
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A patchwork of City Deals or a national settlement strategy: what's best for our growing cities?
Australia has no enduring tradition of having a national urban policy, unlike the UK, from where we sometimes import policies. The Commonwealth government has a long history of intervening in cities, from addressing housing shortages to funding urban infrastructure, but has shied away from a formal national settlement strategy.
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Safety in the age of the smart city
Urban planners, regional and state governments, and businesses welcoming this influx have to make important decisions about safety and security in the age of the smart megacity, writes George Moawad.
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Electric scooters are polluters, study finds
Electric scooters are touted by manufacturers as an environmentally friendly transport option, but a US study has shown they may actually increase emissions by drawing people away from walking, cycling and public transport.
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Documents expose land deal behind Victoria's Western Highway sacred trees dispute
A contentious highway upgrade has again come under scrutiny after revelations a land deal was struck between Victoria's roads department and the former Aboriginal cultural heritage authority which approved the development.
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Growing pains: Australia's squeezed suburbs
It took Treasurer Josh Frydenberg 34 minutes to deliver his first budget to the House of Representatives in early April. As he outlined the government's plans to spend an extra $23 billion on infrastructure to cope with a growing nation, an additional 36 people moved to Australia from a distant land. In the year leading up to his speech, in the Treasurer's home town of Melbourne, the total population swelled by almost 120,000, or 327 people a day. The greater Sydney area added more than 93,000 residents, or 256 people daily
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This is where 68% of the world’s population will live by 2050
Thirty years from now it’s expected that most of the global population will live in urban areas, which presents big business for the entire planning supply chain – if they play their cards right.
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Three ways to fix the problems caused by rezoning inner-city industrial land for mixed-use apartments
Can urban policy make room for manufacturing and create real diversity and a mix of employment opportunities in our cities?
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Ignore liveable cities rankings – they do citizens a disservice by trying to quantify urban life
Though some efforts are being made to address the flaws in city rankings, they continue to be touted as a viable means of urban analysis. But as someone who scrutinises cities closely and researches the people who live in them, I think it’s time to ignore city rankings because they do more harm than good.
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What sort of housing do older Australians want and where do they want to live?
A new report has shed light on older Australians’ housing aspirations and looks at what can be done to ensure future supply matches demand.
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31 January 2019

City of Nedlands forced to increase housing density by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti
The West Australian Government will compel the City of Nedlands to change its outdated town planning scheme after years of community and council opposition to higher density housing in the affluent western suburb.

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Our cities fall short on sustainability, but planning innovations offer local solution
Thirty years after the landmark Brundtland report, the debate on urban sustainability continues. Urban planners are still grappling with the challenges of making our cities sustainable.

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Let the locals loose: Perth council launches radical planning strategy
In a WA first a Perth council has upended the usual planning process, placing community ideas front and centre and bucking a planning system that’s increasingly angered residents in recent years.

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The new ways to get citizens involved in urban design
Cities are serious business – economic powerhouses with their own delicate ecosystems – but that doesn't mean designing them shouldn't be fun. In Barcelona they made it a game...

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Why walkable CBDs are good for business and could make Australian cities richer
The ease with which people can move around their local central business district (CBD), even just to meet for coffee, will play an important role in the future success of business in Australia, a leading cities expert says.

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+ Infrastructure falls further behind as migrants crush-load cities
Engineers Australia last year estimated the infrastructure deficit — classified as the amount needed to bring the nation up to scratch — at $800bn. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), the private think tank, has put the figure at $770bn…. Eight of the top nine projects identified by Infrastructure Australia as being a ‘high priority’ are designed to ease urban congestion, which is a growing problem in the nation’s expanding city centres…

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Urban planning is failing children and breaching their human rights – here’s what needs to be done
Children are being left out of decisions about the environments created around them, when really, their needs should be at the heart of them.

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23 January 2019
Buildings produce 25% of Australia's emissions. What will it take to make them `green' - and who'll pay?
In signing the Paris Climate Agreement, the Australian government committed to a global goal of zero net emissions by 2050. Australia's promised reductions to 2030, on a per person and emissions intensity basis, exceed even the targets set by the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea and the European Union. But are we on the right track to achieve our 2030 target of 26-28% below 2005 levels? With one of the highest population growth rates in the developed world, this represents at least a 50% reduction in emissions per person over the next dozen years.

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The big lesson from Opal Tower is that badly built apartments aren't only an issue for residents
The saga of Opal Tower, the 36-storey Sydney apartment building evacuated on Christmas Eve after frightening cracking, has helped to expose the deep cracks in Australia's approach to building apartments. An interim engineering assessment released yesterday indicates concrete panels cracked due to their manufacture and assembly deviating from the original design. Though the building is structurally sound and in no danger of collapse, repairing the faults will be costly, slow and disruptive to residents.

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How Darling Harbour was botched (and could be reborn)
More towers at Sydney's Darling Harbour are among redevelopment plans for the inner city waterfront precinct and this has prompted recent debate. Plans open for public commentary include proposals for new tall buildings at Cockle Bay and at the Harbourside Shopping Centre. Critics include Russell Hand and Christopher Ashworth, senior planners at the City of Sydney, who have lodged formal objections.

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Refuge City, a new kind of city for our times
Australia is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world. Nonetheless, in recent times many Australians have come to regard population growth, and particularly immigration, as a problem - at best - to be solved. In contrast, we believe population growth and migration present a creative opportunity to shape new Australian cities unlike any we have built to date.

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Meet Australia's data-powered suburbs
Governments are leveraging data insights from social media to quantify the urban life of suburbs, improve planning and boost tourism. At the City of Canterbury-Bankstown, in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, officials have been leveraging social media data to profile the services that are popular in the community to inform their planning decisions. With one of the most culturally diverse communities in Sydney, the council hoped to better understand the different services that various segments of the community valued.

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Urban planners call for female-friendly cities
Following the death of Aiia Maasarwe, advocates and city planners say more must be done to make cities safe for women.

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Digital urban planning: twins help make sense of smart cities
In an age of rapid urban growth and expansion, planning is crucial to a city's ability to be competitive while supporting the wellbeing of its citizens. This is where digital twins come in handy. Would the perfect city have open spaces and plenty of natural light? Would travel between any two parts be simple and fast? Would development be structured and sympathetic to the rest of the city? These issues and many more could be resolved by generating a digital replica - a virtual city that becomes the basis for all future change and growth.

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Urban Planning Needs to Re-Center the Human
In the web magazine Real Life, David A. Banks offers a brief history of urban planning as a discipline, tracing its utopian origins, its taming institutionalization, and its current focus on data and technology. Banks argues that urban planning needs to return to its roots, imagining cities as "the stages that society plays out on" rather than mere engines of capitalism.

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Consistency needed on the location of new housing in Sydney for communities and industry
The announcement by the NSW Opposition that they will change the current distribution of new housing across metropolitan Sydney will lead to uncertainty for the development industry and for communities.

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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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