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The Conversation

Habitat III is over, but will its New Urban Agenda transform the world's cities?

The New Urban Agenda was officially adopted in Quito, Ecuador in the last plenary of the Habitat III conference. The agenda provides a 20-year “roadmap” to guide sustainable urban development globally. The text of the New Urban Agenda itself was agreed well before Habitat III at the UN General Assembly in September, during an extraordinary informal negotiation session that lasted for more than 30 hours.

Why 100 years without slum housing in Australia is coming to an end

Truth be told, most Australians live in good housing. This is good news for all of us because our housing is a major determinant of our health and wellbeing. But our very recent research findings, published this month in the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, and the lessons of history tell us this good news story is at risk.

Smart cities wouldn't let housing costs drive the worse-off into deeper disadvantage

Emma Baker ; Andrew Beer , University of South Australia , and Rebecca Bentley , University of Melbourne In his 1972 election campaign, Gough Whitlam loudly proclaimed that in modern Australia an individual’s health, wellbeing and life chances were shaped more by where they lived than by the job they held, their religion, race or ethnicity. It was a powerful statement that spoke to an Australian population scarred by decades of urban growth...

City Deals still no more than a pamphlet after Budget 2016

Mounting public debt has sucked infrastructure spending capacity from the nation’s public balance sheets. The federal government proposes a new way forward, called “City Deals”. But the budget papers contain no further details, which is disappointing. Infrastructure provision in Australian cities, especially for transport, is in crisis. Our cities are growing rapidly, they are congested and they lack planning direction.

Where do record rental prices leave low-income earners?

Average house rents in metropolitan Melbourne have increased by 5.3%), with apartment rents growing by 2.8%, over the last three months. A lack of affordable rental properties is a problem in Sydney too. This has fuelled speculation of a housing bubble, particularly in the wake of falling investor demand for new high-priced CBD apartments in these capital cities and others. But beyond the headlines lies a difficult policy task for all three levels of government, in conjunction with the private sector and civil society. They need not only to create more affordable housing, but to keep it affordable in the long run.

If planners understand it's cool to green cities, what's stopping them?

Tony Matthews , Griffith University and Jason Byrne , Griffith University Our cities are getting hotter, more crowded and noisier. Climate change is bringing more heatwaves , placing pressure on human health , urban amenity, productivity and infrastructure . Urban residents naturally want to stay cool. Air conditioning is the usual choice, but it can be expensive to run. Air conditioning also adds carbon pollution, creates noise and can make...

How negative-gearing changes can bring life back to eerily quiet suburbs

With debate raging over who wins and who loses with proposed major changes to negative gearing, attention also falls on which Australian suburbs are most likely to suffer. The Australian Financial Review recently discussed the “Top 10 suburbs set to suffer under negative gearing plan”. The Australian soon joined this scare campaign. Mandurah in Western Australia, where I spent a recent weekend, is on the AFR’s list.

Scrap or preserve negative gearing? Here's six other options worth debating

Jago Dodson , RMIT University The Australian tax debate has placed negative gearing under scrutiny . Most of the debate lurches between retentionists, who back negative gearing as a necessary subsidy to support affordable housing , versus abolitionists, who see it as a market-distorting extravagance that delivers an unfair advantage to the wealthy . But what if there was a middle option between retention and abolition that made it work better?...

Growing challenges are disrupting our old ways of getting around cities

Cities are complex systems. One visible artery of the city is traffic – the cluster of moving people and flowing goods – and mobility is critical for a city’s life. We should be concerned about voices pointing to disrupting forces on mobility, such as a Global Summit on Disrupting Mobility recently hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A national affordable housing strategy: necessary, attainable and maybe on its way

At the National Housing Conference last week, there was considerable optimism about the newly appointed federal minister for cities, Jamie Briggs, whose infrastructure mandate includes housing. New energy is coming from the states with the largest affordable housing deficits – a social housing initiative from the New South Wales government and a “refreshed” metropolitan planning strategy in Melbourne with a stronger emphasis on affordable housing.

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Development & Planning

Friday, December 2, 2016 - 06:00
Almost three years to the day of Urban Melbourne covering Eq. Tower's planning application , ICD Property's 62-storey tower at 127-141 A'Beckett Street has held its topping out ceremony. The event held onsite yesterday coincided with the first round of residents settling on apartments within the Elenberg Fraser designed scraper.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, October 31, 2016 - 09:00
The New Urban Agenda was officially adopted in Quito, Ecuador in the last plenary of the Habitat III conference. The agenda provides a 20-year “roadmap” to guide sustainable urban development globally. The text of the New Urban Agenda itself was agreed well before Habitat III at the UN General Assembly in September, during an extraordinary informal negotiation session that lasted for more than 30 hours.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”.

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Transport & Design

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 08:30
The recent approval of Sterling Global 's mixed-use tower at 383 La Trobe Street adds to the influx of towers with international influence leaving their mark not only on Melbourne's skyline, but the city's streetscapes. The $700 million mixed-use tower, a collaboration between French design architect Ateliers Jean Nouvel and local Australian executive architect Architectus, has been designed with people at its core.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 12:00
Timber mid-rise buildings are becoming the preferred choice for many stakeholders in Melbourne, due to a combination of factors, including cost-effectiveness, liveability, ease and efficiency of construction. Within the recent National Construction Code change, Deemed-To-Satisfy provisions allow mid-rise timber construction for buildings up to 25 metres “effective height” (typically, eight storeys).