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Houses in Bondi Beach

The root of Sydney and Melbourne's housing crisis: we're building the wrong thing

By Bob Birrell / Published by The Conversation.

AS is well known, the shortage of affordable separate housing in Sydney and Melbourne means that most first home buyers and renters cannot currently find housing suited to their needs in locations of their choice.

The dominant response from the housing industry and commentators is that governments must unlock the potential for more intensive development of the existing suburbs. From this standpoint, the recent surge in high-rise apartment construction in Sydney and Melbourne is part of the solution.

Melbourne West CBD

What Melbourne learned cutting emissions from '1200 Buildings'

By Brendon Bosworth / Published by Citiscope.

MELBOURNE, Australia — The octagonal office tower that sits above a Maserati dealership here has seen a lot of change since it was built for an airline tycoon in the late 1970s.

For one thing, the helipad on the roof has been replaced with a black "plant room." This space houses the mechanical guts of the building's new heating and cooling system — a much more energy-efficient version than its predecessor.

'Suburban sprawl', Sunbury

How should local government tackle its infrastructure backlog?

By Damien House / Urbis Insights.

All levels of government across Australia acknowledge that the backlog of infrastructure, both economic and social, cannot be satisfied without private sector participation.

That is the simple part. But how to deliver this backlog is more complicated given policy directives, budget constraints and process. The 'how?' is usually the responsibility of government and its agencies but the private sector needs to be 'taken along' too.

'New Units'

Inefficient tax slugs all homebuyers

By Lyndall Bryant / Published by The Conversation.

So developer charges were introduced as a "user pays" method of funding new urban infrastructure. These charges are levied on property developers by local authorities at the time of planning approval. Some think these costs are passed back to the original land owner by way of lower land prices.

But property developers claim these charges are instead added on to new house prices, with a negative impact to housing affordability. When new house prices increase, existing house prices are also dragged up, extending the housing affordability issue throughout the community.

'The lights of Broadway', Sydney

Speaking with: Crystal Legacy on the politics of transport infrastructure

By Dallas Rogers / Published by The Conversation.

As our cities continue to grow, it is virtually impossible to escape the tangle of peak-hour congestion. But with governments focused on reducing deficits, only one or two transport infrastructure projects are likely to be implemented.

So how are decisions about which infrastructure to build made? And how much of a say do the people who actually use the transport system have in which projects are prioritised?

Vancouver West End

3 Ways Land-Use Planning and Zoning Can Increase Urban Density

By Mona Qureshi and Robin King / Published by TheCityFix.

Where would you feel safer walking alone at 3 A.M: a busy, heavily trafficked street, or a loosely populated section of a sprawling city? Most people would likely choose the former. Indeed, higher population densities can make city streets feel safer at all hours—while also fostering commercial activity and giving cities an attractive, bustling character.

  • Category: World
Pedestrians in Shanghai

China's Pedestrianization: Reviving a Tradition of Walking for Healthier Cities

By Wei Li / Published by TheCityFix.

Pedestrian-oriented streets not only are safer, improve air quality, and encourage physical activity, but also facilitate commercial and social activity. Although China has rapidly urbanized in the past few decades, many cities across the country are still not easily walkable.

According to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment, 82 percent of Chinese residents indicated that they are not satisfied with the walkability of their city. With increasingly large cities, China's urban population has experienced a decrease in quality of health, caused in part by heavy air pollution and sinking levels of physical activity.

  • Category: World
Tiny House Village in Washington DC

Australians love tiny houses, so why aren't more of us living in them?

By Heather Shearer, Griffith University / Published by The Conversation.

Housing affordability is a perennial problem in Australia and has worsened significantly over the past three decades.

Multiple reasons exist for the the lack of affordable housing. On the demand side these include population growth and increased migration to urban areas, easily accessible housing finance, tax incentives and a "strong cultural preference for owner-occupied detached houses". On the supply side, affordability problems are exacerbated by inflexible and slow responses to the need for new housing stock, lack of infrastructure and generally inefficient planning processes and development assessment by local governments.

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