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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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

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Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.