The reduction of vandalism and graffiti through arts based place making and youth engagement.

This project responded to a request from stakeholders within the Henderson Town Centre for vibrant and positive public art that could cover multiple sites, and create visible change within selected public spaces. Public spaces blighted by graffiti and vandalism.

Our project methodology utilised the power of Public Art to engage with youth to reduce vandalism and graffiti sustainably in the short and long term. It did this by linking a series of public art making events to entry portfolio requirements to higher education in art and design.

Image: Kakano Youth Arts Collective member Nate Cole with Community Constable Marty Speers. Henderson Pop-Up Space, 2016.

The project’s success relied on facilitating partnerships between Local Government, Unitec Institute of Technology, and a local Henderson community outreach organisation the Kakano Youth Arts Collective. This combination of institutional resourcing and stewardship, government funding, and essential local knowledge and social connections was a vital set of management tools.

The project involved engaging local 16 to 20 year old youth who have a Police record of vandalism and graffiti, but have been identified through the outreach program as being creative. These young people are the peer group to the 12 to 15 year olds, also engaged in tagging and vandalism but deemed too young for the project.

The methodology involved a series of public artwork strategies and mentoring workshops by well-known street artists. Permanent and temporary public artworks were supported by skills based workshops such subjects as screen-printing and hand-lettering. This work program produced a series of high profile permission based public art initiatives, authentic, and capable of constant renewal. They were structured to create a visible and achievable staircase into an Art and Design education pathway. A path previously seen by the youth to be unattainable. Our program of creative practice and mentoring ensured a connection was made by the youth between their tagging designs and the skills and approaches inherent and required in a commercial design.

To date, the program has measured a 60% reduction in vandalism and graffiti within the town centre.

Paul Woodruffe MLA
Unitec Institute of Technology.


When we think of coasts, we are likely to think about the great sandy beaches that have been the destination for many day trips and long weekends. At times these spaces have been sources of contestation, especially in areas of public access and codes of conduct. However, behind the sand dunes are other landscapes with deep histories of social conflict.

Moments from coastal pasts have had a major impact on how we see different coasts today. They feed into distinct ideals and ethics on place, especially in terms of how it is developed.

Noosa Heads versus Surfers Paradise

Noosa Heads is a prime example of this. Noosa’s history during colonisation includes a number of difficult stories to tell. Examples include the contentious tale of the rescue of Eliza Fraser, or the fate of the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people, at the hands of the colonial settlers and the native police.

Yet it was in the 1960s when modern conflict over land use really took shape in Noosa. A proposal by the developer T.M. Burke to build a resort at Alexandria Bay created a stir among locals. The local shire was set to build an access road around the headland, destroying well-trodden walking tracks.

A group led by local Arthur Harrold fought this proposal and formed the still-operating Noosa Parks Association. Thus began a long-standing fight against over-development, mining and other impediments to what residents saw as the natural beauty of the coast. This included the Cooloola Conflict and the now-famed resistance to high-rise development.

While there are elements of conservationism here to consider, these conflicts arose in a bid to keep Noosa low-key, with a slower mentality and authentic natural surrounds. Today, these ethics of authenticity are firmly embedded in planning regulation, illustrating the strength of local resistance past.

Noosa residents’ key fear in the 1960s and ’70s was losing their sense of place to the different ideals embodied in another coastal mecca, Surfers Paradise. Like Noosa, Surfers has a long history of conflict. Yet this place developed much differently due to several key factors

Originally Published by The Conversation, continue reading here.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Making Cities Liveable Conference, being held from the 10-11 July in Brisbane.

The 2017 Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held in conjunction with the Safe Cities Conference, running consecutively over 3 days at the same venue. If you’re looking to present at either Conference, abstract submissions close Friday 24 March!

Topics for the Making Cities Liveable Conference include:

  • The New Urban Agenda
  • Community Participation and Social Development
  • The Liveable Neighbourhood – Placemaking
  • Responsible Resource Management – Bringing Nature Back
  • Showcasing Regional Liveable Cities and Centres
  • Heritage Infrastructure and Liveable Cities

Topics for the Safe Cities Conference include:

  • Urban Safety
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Role of Local Government in Community Safety
  • Digital Intelligence
  • Safety – Reality vs Perceptions
  • Promoting Safety and Reducing Crime within our Communities
  • Crime and Violence Prevention


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 world is preoccupied with rating the city. From the towering skyscrapers of New York to Tokyo’s colourful neon and Melbourne’s amiable public spaces, it seems there’s a way to grade every aspect of the modern metropolis.

Economists, sociologists and even politicians pick apart our cities, presumably ranking them so we might best select a place to live. What is unquestionable however, and it was the focus of BlueNotes’ MetropolisNow series, is human life is becoming inexorably more urbanised.

Sydney, despite its shortcomings of urban sprawl and increasingly insufficient infrastructure, typically features on these lists. Indeed, such global status seems to matter to a rising global star like Sydney, even if the varied experiences within a city can be far less glamorous.

Of course, rankings differ based on the parameters. Some define great cities by their economic output or the number of job opportunities they create, while others are more concerned with culture or quality of life.

Consider Singapore which routinely scores well for its economy. It generates $US51,149 in economic output per person which makes it one of the richest and most developed nations in the world, according to the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto.

With the rapid rise of its creative middle class, it follows Singapore must be a great a place to do business.

Meanwhile, consultancy Mercer ranks Vienna, Zurich and Auckland as the three most ‘livable’ cities in the world, based on factors such as their political and social environments, economics, housing, transportation and the natural environment.

These cities apparently offer an array of enticements for prospective newcomers, which is the basis of the study’s undertaking.

Further still, the United Nations defines a ‘prosperous’ city as one that’s productive, provides adequate infrastructure, has a good quality of life, offers equity and social inclusion, and is practicing environmental sustainability.

The tally of these factors is called the city prosperity index and scores each city out of 100, with Hong Kong notching 57, for example, against Jakarta’s 51 and Sydney’s 66. (Notably, Auckland scored just 35).

But does all of this equate to greatness in a city?

Originally Published by ANZ Blue Notes, continue reading here.

Sydney could stretch to the Central Coast, Melbourne could hit Geelong and Brisbane could merge with the Gold Coast as super-cities start to take over Australia.

Country towns could be mostly emptied out and the Aussie outback left almost abandoned as most of the nation’s population will flock to Australia’s major capitals — Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

According to The Australian, two in three people will live in our main cities in the future, as Australia’s population soars to almost 30 million.

If population growth keeps going as it is, the four main capital cities will grow more than two times faster than anywhere else in Australia.

For the four cities to house the population, more and more land will need to be unlocked to build more residential housing, meaning urban sprawl will become a massive problem.

It’s already starting to happen in Melbourne. On Wednesday, the Victorian Government announced it would unlock 17 new suburbs on the outer fringes of Melbourne, and build residential areas on the currently bare land. The government said it would help solve housing affordability problems but experts disagree.

Suburbia around the cities could just keep extending. Picture: John Appleyard Source: News Corp Australia.

REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said Melbourne was most at risk of creeping further and further out and it could eventually extend as far as Seymour, which is about 100km north of Melbourne.

“Melbourne is well suited to urban sprawl,” Ms Conisbee wrote for University of Melbourne publication Pursuit.

“It’s flat, easy to build on and lacks geographic boundaries like waterways and cliffs that force other cities into higher densities. It’s possible to continue building low-density housing out as far as Geelong in the west, Seymour in the north and Warragul in the east.”

Urban sprawl happens because people want to live the Australian dream, in a house with a block of land all to itself.

Originally Published on, continue reading here.


The state’s leading education union warns the Gold Coast’s schools are struggling with overcrowding and at least 35 new campuses will be needed within three decades.

The unprecedented growth of the city’s population, particularly in the booming northern suburbs, is putting pressure on existing state schools. There’ll be 1.2 million of us on Gold Coast by 2050.

The issue is becoming so severe the Queensland Teachers Union will demand the State Government begin planning and funding for about 35 new schools across the region.

QTU president Kevin Bates said the call for new schools will be put to the Palaszczuk Government next week in the organisation’s submission for the state budget. Mr Bates, who has worked as a teacher for more than 30 years, said the Gold Coast’s schools were struggling against the tide.

“We are seeing a huge boom in the number of students, an issue which is becoming acute on the Gold Coast and leading to us having larger schools, which itself has consequences,” he said.

“This is not just one or two schools: we are seeing at least a dozen with more than 2000 students and some even exceeding 3000. “These student bodies are the size of a small town and this is matter of real concern.”

Findings made in 2015 by prominent demographer Bernard Salt showed the city needed 35 new schools by 2050 if the Gold Coast is to maximise its potential as an education and health leader.

Mr Salt’s report, Beyond the Horizon, gave insight into the city as it could appear in 2050, with the population forecast to double from its present 600,000 to 1.2 million people.

Bernard Salt’s report Beyond the Horizon gives insight into the city as it could appear in 2050, with the population forecast to double from its present 600,000 to 1.2 million.

Originally Published by The Gold Coast Bulletin, continue reading here.

A virtual reality device has been launched that will help architects and designers create dementia-friendly buildings and spaces by mimicking the visual impairments experienced by dementia patients.

The invention is a market first for architectural design and will be known as Virtual Reality Empathy Platform (VR-EP). It stems from the knowledge that people with dementia can see things very differently, with objects often appearing dimmer and less colourful than they really are which can lead to fright and confusion.

The appearance of a room without and with the Virtual Reality Empathy Platform headset, for a dementia sufferer.

The technology can be used in the design of new buildings such as care homes, hospitals or sheltered housing, and also has the potential to assess existing buildings and environments. Dementia-friendly design can significantly improve the quality of life for people living with the condition.

Originally Published by The Urban Developer, continue reading here.

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.


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!