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The Conversation

Turnbull’s report card on urban transport projects reveals narrow economic focus

Growing the economy – not city planning – has become the government’s main rationale for building urban transport infrastructure. Soon after becoming prime minister in September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull declared: I will be an infrastructure prime minister. Subsequently, his government’s focus seems to be largely on infrastructure projects – including urban transport infrastructure – “which drive … growth and jobs”.

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.

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Development & Planning

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 12:30
OSK Property's first foray into the Melbourne market appears to be on track with the first stage of its six tower, Melbourne Square development on Southbank receiving stage one endorsement from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 00:00
On 2 January 2017, it was reported that several popular eateries and bars in Footscray had been vandalised, including the perennially successful 8 Bit Burgers on Droop Street, and Up In Smoke on Hopkins Street. 8 Bit had the warm new year's welcome gift of 14 smashed windows and the words “F**k off hipster scum” spray-painted on their entrance.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 07:00
Once again Melbourne has turned it on for the spectacular cultural juggernaut that is White Night. A crowd of around 600,000 took part in the all night festival of projections, performances, artworks and installations. Stealing the show again this year was the extraordinary projections upon the Royal Exhibition Building.

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Transport & Design

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 00:00
Melbourne now has a second vertical school campus under construction. McCorkell Constructions is in charge of the build that will deliver a new integrated educational and communal facility on the corner of Highett and Gleadell Street, Richmond. Designed by Hayball, Richmond High School as it has been labelled will be built for 650 students, and has an overall value of $43 million.

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).