Bushfire rebuild: to rise from the ashes – or not?

OXYGEN FILES: Yes, some of the communities devasted by bushfires are in high-risk zones but that’s no reason to not rebuild. We didn’t stop flying, driving or swimming because they are risky, “Instead we manage the risk through the most effective tools available; education, innovation, safety systems, warning systems, engineering, regulation.”

California’s wildfires and what Australia can learn

In 2018, the US state of California saw its worst-ever bushfire season on record. The Fifth Estate spoke to US architect and sustainable design guru David Hertz about what the region learnt about designing and managing infrastructure in the face of ever-increasing fire risk.

How design of our cities is amplifying urban heat and what to do about it

Most of the time we discuss climate change as affecting cities and the people who live in them. Less well known is that cities – specifically their planning and design – also create climate change through the urban heat island. Encouragingly, this means that cities can provide climate solutions. Why are we not discussing this?

New thinking needed to address Sydney growth constraints

If government won’t explore innovative ways to grow Sydney’s CBD, perhaps the private sector – with all its faults – may be our only hope. It sometimes seems that planning is as much a concealing and evasive discipline as it is a coordinating and enabling one. As explained recently in The Fifth Estate, Pyrmont is […]

The inclusive apartments of the future need visionary backers

Tomorrowland19 – I, human: Property consultant Abdul Khan told Tomorrowland19 about plans for a new style of sustainable housing, with apartments to suit everyone from youth with disabilities to retirees looking to downsize. But will politicians and developers back this vision?

Tomorrowland19: The power of planning to future proof Parramatta for heat and water shortages

PLANNING FOR HIGHER TARGETS: All eyes are on Sydney’s west as a site of huge growth but is all this new development equipped to cope with the impacts of climate change and other ecological pressures? The city of Parramatta certainly will, if Helen Papathanasiou has anything to do with it. City of Parramatta manager, environmental […]

Nothing moves slower in Australia than fast rail 

Despite piles of reports, oodles of analysis and a substantial application of common sense, the federal government is proceeding at a glacial pace with plans for fast rail at scale. This week, another inquiry was launched, this one by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities. It is an inquiry into […]

The urgent challenge of net zero embodied carbon

OPINION: Climate change is without much doubt the greatest threat now confronting the planet – and the dread most of us feel about accelerating global warming is being deepened by the failure of our elected leaders to act decisively.

WA gets inaugural precinct design policy

In brief: Western Australia now has a Precinct Design Policy that encourages designers to consider a precinct in its entirety rather than just individual sites. The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage have collaborated with Urbis to develop the state’s new policy. Community participation will be at the core of the new policy.

Gamifying the planning process to bring young people into the fold

A digital engagement tool that relies on gamification elements could bring hard-to-reach community members, including time-strapped millennials, into Australia’s planning process.  The tool’s creator, founder and chief executive officer of UK-based Built-ID Savannah de Savary, has global ambitions for the tool and is in Australia teaching potential clients how it works. The engagement tool allows […]

Planning for fire safety in the ACT

The Green Star rated Ginninderry community in the ACT is taking a suburb-wide approach to planning for fire. The development will be something of a living laboratory, with developer Riverview Projects signing a Collaborative Arrangement Agreement with CSIRO. CSIRO Bushfire Urban Design research leader Justin Leonard will be part of the research team, which also […]

Observations on Japanese city making

You might think that a city like Tokyo, with a metro population of 14 million, has very little in common with a city like Sydney or Melbourne.

The post-election infrastructure review

The NSW and federal 2019 elections saw the return of Coalition governments. My perspective – from western Sydney – is: Coalition infrastructure policies have been dreadful, Labor’s offerings weren’t any better.

 Save Our Suburbs rejects Posh Sydney label

OPINION: Philip Bull’s article “Posh Sydney says No to density” incorporates an inaccurate, emotive attack on me that requires a response.

Posh Sydney says No to density – it’s a thing

There is an abundance of self interest in the collaboration between the Save Our Suburbs crowd and developer lobby The Urban Task Force – in furious agreement to stop medium density in middle ring leafy suburbs. But why? And is it fair?

Brisbane gets big new park as golf course made redundant

BRIEF: Brisbane City Council will terminate the life of its inner city golf course and combine its 26 hectares with surrounding land to create the biggest new public park the city has seen in 50 years. The Victoria Park Vision project will cover 45 hectares in total, “more than double the size of City Botanic Gardens […]

NSW’s reshuffle leaves environment a small player in a big pond

ANALYSIS: NSW environment and climate supporters would have been in shock on Tuesday afternoon. Early news had just seeped out that newly re-anointed premier Gladys Berijiklian looked like she’d reneged on the still fresh optimism on climate action she stoked in the weeks before the state election and had demolished the Office of Environment and Heritage.