On why there’s unexploded ordnance in the planning tent

News from the front, issue 515: Planning minister Rob Stokes released a lovely new human-centred planning policy last week. But two weeks before another change to the planning controls went unannounced. Few people outside the inner circles of planning knew what was going on. The first SEPP (state environmental planning policy) last week was loudly […]

How our new loosey goosey zoning threatens our economy

According to the people who specialise in these fields the future of the NSW economy is not in the CBDs. It’s in the industrial and light industrial zones that can generate technology centred innovation such as bio tech, med tech, robotics and so on. Perhaps like Professor Veena Sahjwalla’s green ceramic micro factory that’s supplied […]

Why Bill Gates can’t save the world

OPINION: Why don’t these billionaire philanthropists like Gates just stop their foundations and pay their fair share of taxes The media everywhere has been fawning over Bill Gates and his new book, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster. But should we really be listening to the world’s third wealthiest man for advice? If his suggestions […]

Is this house losing power? Someone somewhere is going to ask “why have we got two Powerhouses?”

Here’s a cynical take on recent announcements concerning the Parramatta Powerhouse. It’s getting sillier… Just as advertising has become the product – rather than the thing promoted – we recently learned that the newly approved Powerhouse is set to become Australia’s very own Smithsonian, as though this potential equates to its delivery. This is magical […]

Water injustice runs deep in Australia. Fixing it means handing control to First Nations

It’s widely understood that rivers, wetlands and other waterways hold particular significance for First Nations people. It’s less well understood that Indigenous peoples are denied effective rights in Australia’s water economy. Australia’s laws and policies prevent First Nations from fully participating in, and benefiting from, decisions about water. In fact, Indigenous peoples hold less than […]

Williams on Covid’s great “levelling out” between subs and burbs

Can the impact and premium of the agglomerated knowledge economy of a CBD really be replicated in the disaggregated city? Follow the money. While we can all imagine better ways to understand what’s going on in our towns and cities, you won’t go far wrong if you know what’s going on in the economy and […]

Planners Declare aim to embolden better outcomes from the get go

Last year wasn’t an easy time to start a national “Declare” movement but that didn’t stop a small group of dedicated planners joining forces to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. The group of about 15 planners has spent the past year coordinating the movement via video conference, with the most pressing task developing an […]

Why we need a betterment levy in NSW: better late than never

The NSW Productivity Commission in November released its final report on the Review of Infrastructure Contributions in NSW (PC Review). It controversially ruled out capturing a share of windfall gains made from rezonings or the granting of additional development, even though this is widely used in voluntary planning agreements (VPAs) and state infrastructure contributions (SIC). […]

Exposing a brotherhood of BS

Praise for investigative journalists like Marian Wilkinson who have a way of joining the dots without taking detours in diplomacy.

Gardening for ourselves and Earth

A couple of years ago I decided to leave Sydney and find refuge in a remote valley from what’s coming. This is the story of that failed escape and the refuge I find in gardening, still living in the city.

When the birds stop singing and the roads begin to melt

Australia’s summer officially begins on December 1, but climate change observes no calendar. And even as another summer is almost upon us, memories of last summer’s ferocious fires still linger on the minds of those devastated by all manner of loss. For weeks on end, the residents of many towns and cities not directly threatened were […]

Two-thirds of Australian suburbs at risk of extreme heat effects due to lack of trees

The lack of trees in around two-thirds of Australian suburbs is intensifying extreme heat effects, which could make these cities almost unliveable in the coming years according to new report. The new RMIT and Greener Spaces Better Places Where Will All the Trees Be? report aims to understand to what extent urban density, population growth, […]