A quirk of history has seen Australia – and Queensland in particular – develop differently to other similar countries around the world.

Instead of having cities of varying size, from major metropolitan hubs to mid-sized cities and smaller provincial centres, much of the population is concentrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

About 60 per cent of Australia’s population live in capital cities, as compared with, for example, the US, where the top five cities account for less than 10 per cent of its people.

“Australia has just one non-capital city that has more than 500,0000 people, I think that’s a disgrace,” says Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan.

Outside Queensland’s southeast corner, no cities have a population larger than 200,000 people, while Brisbane itself bustles with 2.2 million residents.

North of Rockhampton, there are just 700,000 people. And, while the capital is enjoying opportunity and growth, the regions are hurting.

The north’s unofficial capital of Townsville has hit a road bump in its development, with unemployment reaching 10.6 per cent, while youth unemployment is even higher.

It’s a similar story in Mackay, Bundaberg and many of the smaller cities and towns spread throughout the vast state. Each have their own challenges but all of them are cut off from the opportunities which present themselves in the southeast.

Demographer Bernard Salt says it could have been very a different story if early European settlers had sailed up the Fitzroy River, instead of the Brisbane River. Picture: Josie Hayden

Demographer Bernard Salt says it could have been very a different story if early European settlers had sailed up the Fitzroy River, instead of the Brisbane River.

“It would have made much more sense if somewhere like Mackay or Rockhampton were the capital city, in the same way Sydney is midway along the NSW coast and Melbourne is perfectly positioned in the geographic centre of Victoria,” Salt says.

“Brisbane is at a disadvantage. It’s off centre, which leads to separationist dissent.”

Salt says as Queensland heads toward a population of six to seven million people by the middle of the century, it needs to be serviced by a range of bigger cities of varying size.

“If any state has the capacity to develop a decentralised network of cities, it’s Queensland and it should to deliver job opportunities and services to the local people,” he says.

Originally Published by The Courier Mail, continue reading here.

Green cities have become a key goal of urban development. They are environmentally friendly, provide clean water, protect green space, and offer an enhanced public experience.

However, they’re not perfect. In fact, some of the different needs of citizens may have been neglected amid all the attention lavished on green cities. A green city in many real-life cases is neither green everywhere, nor green for everyone. Also, a green city does not guarantee an economically strong city, nor a livable place for people of all income classes.

Seen from the perspective of urban dwellers of different socioeconomic status, there are five urban development objectives that can be considered as ascending stages on a scale of livability.

First, in its most basic form, urban life needs to ensure a livelihood for citizens.

Second, it should enable accessibility, allowing its residents to participate fully in daily urban life.

Third, urban life should be affordable, ensuring that urban infrastructure, such as housing, and urban services, such as health care, are affordable for citizens.

Fourth, it requires resilience, enabling people to withstand social threats such as crime or environmental impacts like extreme weather events. Finally, at the highest stage, urban life has to provide for livability, which allows people to fully enjoy what their city has to offer.

Published by Eco-Business, read the full article here.

Update your calendars to note the new dates of the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and Safe Cities Conference, now being held from the 10 – 12 July 2017.

With our growing community of participants engaging across both events, the Conference Committees want to ensure all delegates and speakers can attend. With the previous dates being across a public holiday in most states, we hope this change will ensure the best outcome to share knowledge, insights and best practice in pursuit of liveable and safe cities.

Please note the following important dates:

Abstracts Close: Friday 24 March 2017
Notification to Authors: Friday 7 April 2017
Author Acceptances Due: Friday 21 April 2017
Draft Program Available: Monday 24 April 2017
Early Bird Registrations Close: Monday 29 May 2017

Presenters or organisations are invited to submit an Abstract to present at the conference. Presenters are encouraged to submit papers that in particular demonstrate evidence of change – highlighting an understanding of the issues, framing the action and interpreting the change.

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE

Discount registration is available for those attending both the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 2017 Safe Cities Conference which run consecutively at the same venue.

We are looking forward to another successful year of the Making Cities Liveable Conference and hope you can join us, for further information on the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 21017 Safe Cities Conference please click on the logos below!

Nanjing Green Towers isn’t your average skyscraper, you see it’s actually Asia’s first vertical forest.

The idea behind a vertical forest is simple: You essentially turn a building into a giant living breathing air filter, helping to clear the air pollution that often comes hand in hand with city living.

It’s a truly astonishing piece of architecture, you see dotted along its facades are 600 tall trees, 500 medium-sized trees while a staggering 2,500 plants and shrubs then cover a 6,000sqm area.

Not only does this increase biodiversity in the local area but it will be able to absorb some 25 tonnes of CO2 every year while producing some 60kg of oxygen every day. As our cities have grown exponentially it has become clear that new buildings have to take a different approach.

We can no longer just build boxes that contain humans, we have to build ecosystems. Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, Nanjing Green Towers will be the first vertical forest in Asia.  This will be the third vertical forest project by the architecture firm after they completed their first building in Milan and then a second project in Switzerland.

Originally Published by The Huffington Post, continue reading here.

Most of us encounter public spaces in our daily lives: whether it’s physical space (a sidewalk, a bench, or a road), a visual element (a panorama, a cityscape) or a mode of transport (bus, train or bike share). But over the past two decades, digital technologies such as smart phones and the internet of things are adding extra layers of information to our public spaces, and transforming the urban environment.

Traditionally, public spaces have been carefully designed by urban planners and architects, and managed by private companies or public bodies. The theory goes that people’s attention and behaviour in public spaces can be guided by the way that architects plan the built environment. Take, for example, Leicester Square in London: the layout of green areas, pathways and benches makes it clear where people are supposed to walk, sit down and look at the natural elements. The public space is a given, which people receive and use within the terms and guidelines provided.

While these ideas are still relevant today, information is now another key material in public spaces. It changes the way that people experience the city. Uber shows us the position of its closest drivers, even when they’re out of sight; route-finding apps such as Google Maps helps us to navigate through unfamiliar territory; Pokemon Go places otherworldly creatures on the pavement right before our eyes.

But we’re not just receiving information – we’re also generating it. Whether you’re “liking” something on Facebook, searching Google, shopping online, or even exchanging an email address for Wi-Fi access; all of the data created by these actions are collected, stored, managed, analysed and brokered to generate monetary value.

Originally Published by The Conversation continue reading here.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June 2017.

The Conference will allow your organisation to benefit significantly from constant exposure to an interested, relevant and influential audience in a relaxed environment, away from the distractions of their daily roles.

2017 Conference Topics Include:

sponsorship-opportunities

  • The New Urban Agenda
  • Commitment to Health
  • Community Participation and Social Development
  • The Liveable Neighbourhood
  • Responsible Resource Management
  • Bringing Nature Back
  • Showcasing Regional Liveable Cities and Centres

Conference Sponsorship will connect your organisation with leading professionals and practitioners within the sector. Some of the benefits of sponsorship include:

  • Maintaining a high profile before, during and following the event.
  • Demonstrating your organisations commitment within the sector.
  • Consolidating corporate relationships and expose your staff to your key markets.
  • Enabling your organisations representatives to mix informally with industry professionals, leaders, local governance personnel, planners and speakers.
  • Sponsors and exhibitors have the opportunity to publish articles on our blog during the year.
  • Website advertising.
  • All Sponsors and Exhibitors are acknowledged and linked from the conference website for one year.

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE HERE

Discount registration is available for those attending both the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 2017 Safe Cities Conference which run consecutively at the same venue.

We are looking forward to another successful year of the Making Cities Liveable Conference and hope you can join us, for further information on the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference please visit the conference website.

 

 

 

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June 2017.

This successful conference grows with importance each year as a platform for innovative discussion on the approach to follow and the actions to undertake in making our cities
liveable and healthy urban communities. Abstract Submission and Registration are now open!

Conference Topics Include:

  • The New Urban Agenda
  • Commitment to Health
  • Community Participation and Social Development
  • The Liveable Neighbourhood
  • Responsible Resource Management
  • Bringing Nature Back
  • Showcasing Regional Liveable Cities and Centres

Presenters or organisations are invited to submit an Abstract to present at the conference. Presenters are encouraged to submit papers that in particular demonstrate evidence of change – highlighting an understanding of the issues, framing the action and interpreting the change. Abstract submission is open until 27 February 2017.

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE HERE

Who Should Attend:

  • Policy Makers
  • Urban Designers
  • Politicians
  • Senior Public Servants
  • City Governance Personnel
  • Public Health Administrators
  • Academics
  • Waste Management Professionals
  • National Resources Administrators
  • Planning Professionals
  • Environmental Groups
  • Engineers
  • Sustainability Practitioners
  • Business Development Managers
  • Transformation Leaders
  • Environmental Managers
  • Consultants
  • Social Planners
  • Town Planners
  • Mayors
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Students
  • Coastal Resource Managers
  • Place Makers

Discount registration is available for those attending both the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 2017 Safe Cities Conference which run consecutively at the same venue.

We are looking forward to another successful year of the Making Cities Liveable Conference and hope you can join us, for further information please visit the conference website.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June 2017.

This successful conference grows with importance each year as a platform for innovative discussion on the approach to follow and the actions to undertake in making our citabstract-submission-now-open-for-2017ies liveable and healthy urban communities. Abstract Submission and Registration are now open!

Conference Topics Include:

  • The New Urban Agenda
  • Commitment to Health
  • Community Participation and Social Development
  • The Liveable Neighbourhood
  • Responsible Resource Management
  • Bringing Nature Back
  • Showcasing Regional Liveable Cities and Centres

Presenters or organisations are invited to submit an Abstract to present at the conference. Presenters are encouraged to submit papers that in particular demonstrate evidence of change – highlighting an understanding of the issues, framing the action and interpreting the change.

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE HERE

Who Should Attend:

  • Policy Makers
  • Urban Designers
  • Politicians
  • Senior Public Servants
  • City Governance Personnel
  • Public Health Administrators
  • Academics
  • Waste Management Professionals
  • National Resources Administrators
  • Planning Professionals
  • Environmental Groups
  • Engineers
  • Sustainability Practitioners
  • Business Development Managers
  • Transformation Leaders
  • Environmental Managers
  • Consultants
  • Social Planners
  • Town Planners
  • Mayors
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Students
  • Coastal Resource Managers
  • Place Makers

Discount registration is available for those attending both the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference and the 2017 Safe Cities Conference which run consecutively at the same venue.

We are looking forward to another successful year of the Making Cities Liveable Conference and hope you can join us, for further information on the 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference please visit the conference website.

Higher density urban living has become a primary concern for urban planners, who grapple with issues such as infrastructure development, traffic management and housing solutions. But beyond these physical concerns, there are a number of very real human issues that also need to be addressed by planners as well as developers and architects.

For all of its benefits, city living isolates people from the natural world, and new research is finding that this isolation affects the wellbeing of urbanites. With some clever design thinking, however, we can create cities that are more sustainable and offer a higher quality of life.

As cities grow, it’s easy for green spaces to become an afterthought in the planning process. This is not just the case in public spaces, but also in the development of residential and commercial projects.

Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore

Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore

Many city councils now have limited regulations in place specifying how much green space a new building should deliver, but going above and beyond this will have a positive impact on the environment, wellbeing of residents, the liveability of the property and its resale value.

In the last week alone there has been a great deal of public discussion over the design of apartment buildings in Brisbane, after research by Associate Professor Rosemary Kennedy from QUT’s Design Lab found that many new developments are too hot for the city’s sub-tropical climate.

Due to the excessive heat generated from their glass facades, these building require a higher amount of air-conditioning for temperature regulation.

“One of my major concerns is that we’re not designing our buildings using good design; we’re using electricity to solve design problems,” she said in an interview with ABC News.

She believes that as buyers become aware of these design issues, resale prices will suffer and tenant turnover rates will increase.

Building our cities without any regard for climate regulation contributes to the urban heat island effect, which negatively impacts the liveability of a city. This effect occurs when building materials such as concrete, glass and bitumen absorb and hold on to heat and, as a result, increase the temperature of a city.

By incorporating plants into buildings through rooftop gardens or green walls, however, we can begin to offset this effect and cool the structure, in turn reducing the need for air-conditioning.

If we were to create enough green spaces to cool Australia’s cities by eight degrees, it is estimated that the reduced use of air-conditioning alone will lower carbon emissions by 12–15 percent each year.

One Central Park, Sydney

One Central Park, Sydney

Integrating plants into city buildings is also an effective way to absorb stormwater runoff and reduce the noise levels experienced within office and apartment buildings.

These benefits are in addition to the well-known role trees play in filtering the air by soaking pollutants. So what seems like a simple element of city design can have a big impact on sustainable living and the practicality of a building.

It’s not just the environment that benefits from the practice of biophilic design – human health and mental wellbeing improves too. A recent 2009 Dutch study found that those who live less than 1km from green space had lower incidence of 15 diseases including depression, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

Here at home, 83 percent of Australians relate relaxation and time out with green spaces, and 73 percent see their garden as a place to improve their mental wellbeing.

It is believed that this inherently positive association with nature lowers stress and anxiety levels, contributing to improved mental and physical wellbeing. Given this association, buyers are willing to pay more for a feeling of connection with nature.

Read more.

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”.

Transport infrastructure is seen as a facilitator of growth and competitiveness in our cities. This is where much of Australia’s economic growth is generated. But, while important, promoting economic growth is not transport’s only major function.

Until recently, it was generally accepted that urban transport and land development needed to be planned in an integrated way, having regard to what city future was desired. Transport infrastructure investment would then help to achieve that city future.

While city planning was once a “tool for correcting and avoiding market failure”’, it is now much more about promoting economic growth by providing certainty for the development industry and reducing regulation.

Under this increasingly dominant view, city planning (by governments) is seen as a generally distorting influence on property markets. Regulation is a “transaction cost”.

Major urban transport investment is increasingly divorced from achieving broader city planning objectives. This includes equitable access to services and facilities.

For example, there is a disconnect between the TransApex major road program and urban planning in southeast Queensland. This program of four major road projects in Brisbane aimed to improve cross-city travel and keep the economy strong. However, TransApex was at odds with the southeast Queensland regional plan’s aim of promoting sustainability and reducing car dependency.

Instead of an integrated city planning approach, governments are increasingly basing transport investment decisions on cost-benefit analyses.

Cost-benefit analysis for transport projects involves weighing up the costs (construction and operating costs) and benefits (travel time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, crash cost savings and wider economic benefits). If the dollar value of the benefits exceeds the costs, the project is considered justified.

It has recently been suggested that all transport projects where benefits exceed costs by some margin should be built, apparently with little regard to the effects of those projects on city planning. The significant limitations of cost-benefit analyses are well documented. It is particularly troubling that, for transport projects, these analyses rely on a flawed assumption that motorists aim to minimise generalised costs.

Cost-benefit analyses also provide limited guidance in deciding which projects advance broader city planning objectives. Decisions about transport investments are really about what kind of future city we desire.

These are decisions about values as much as they are about economics. American philosopher Michael Sandel is concerned that conversations about the future are largely framed in technocratic (often economic) terms. This leaves public discourse “hollowed out”.

The Gold Coast light rail project neglected the social equity effects of a roughly $1 billion public investment. AAP/Dave Hunt

The Gold Coast light rail project neglected the social equity effects of a roughly $1 billion public investment. AAP/Dave Hunt

The social equity effects of transport investment are not usually taken into account. The public investment of about A$1 billion in the Gold Coast light rail disproportionately benefits residents, landowners and businesses close to the stations. Other Gold Coast residents – including many disadvantaged people – have to drive or make do with a relatively low-quality bus service.

With cities now urged to market themselves, “flagship” projects like the light rail are valued as means of giving cities an advantage in a world of footloose businesses and investors. These projects are considered important for growing the economy.

The Gold Coast light rail is an 18-year public-private partnership (PPP). PPP contracts frequently include “non-compete” clauses (no new competition with the PPP infrastructure). These can constrain future city planning decisions, however desirable they may be.

Read more.