Recap: all the issues discussed by The Urbanist last month


Density by itself does not necessarily create vibrant street life. Late Saturday morning in Borneo, inner city Amsterdam

Are infrastructure costs a lot higher in the outer suburbs?

It’s a truism that development costs are much higher on the urban fringe than in inner areas. But there’s little evidence the claim still holds and good reason to think it’s no longer the case

Managing excessive car use: what’s the low hanging fruit?

A study of urban form in the US concludes that increasing the density of population and employment is a slow way to significantly reduce car use compared to directly pricing driving

Should we be building new rail lines up in the air?

It would be a pity if the “Sky Rail” brouhaha in Melbourne over removal of level crossings were to damage the potential use of elevated rail for totally new rail lines in all Australian cities

Is New York’s spectacular new train station worth the price?

The visually arresting World Trade Center Transportation Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava opened in New York last week to a chorus of naysayers worried about the $4 Billion it cost to build

Melbourne Metro: what do you get for $10 Billion?

The Business Case for Melbourne Metro was finally released publicly last month. It confirms the need and the solution. Now the Commonwealth needs to come to the party with matching funding

Melbourne fantasy rail map 2047

It seems everyone loves a ‘fantasy’ map of how the rail network in their city might look in a parallel universe of more money. This is a vision of what Melbourne could look like in 2047

How much do inner city residents love their cars?

Even in the dense, congested and walkable inner city suburbs of Australian cities, car ownership rates – and consequently the demand for parking – are remarkably high

Is Eddie McGuire’s “Victoria Stadium” what Melbourne needs?

Collingwood football club Chair Eddie McGuire has a grand proposal for a new stadium he says provides “an opportunity to reshape and remodel Melbourne for the next 50 to 100 years”

Are bingles an inconvenience for cyclists or deadly serious?

What’s a mere bingle for a motorist is usually a painful injury for a cyclist and often much worse. Policy needs to recognise that for cyclists bingles aren’t a minor annoyance; they can be deadly

Why are we still taking East Coast High Speed Rail seriously?

East Coast High Speed Rail is the boondoggle that just won’t go away. Yet gunzels, rent-seekers and progressives stand side-by-side in wanting to squander $100 Billion on this folly

Is Turnbull’s “30-minute city” all spin (or a really useful idea)?

Politicians don’t like to be too specific because it invites criticism and accountability, so both the Government and the Opposition are spinning the aspirational idea of “the 30-minute city”

Is the Grand Prix worth dropping $60 million a year on?

The benefits from this year’s Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park won’t be remotely commensurate with the circa $60 million subsidy it demands from Victorians

Who’s had enough of Fairfax clickbait?

Fairfax readers don’t like clickbait and some are cancelling their digital subscriptions. Their choice, but I’m keeping mine because digital media like The Age and SMH still provide a valuable service

Will Sydney and Melbourne implode as they get bigger and bigger?

The idea of Sydney and Melbourne doubling in population to eight million by the 2050s conjures images of total traffic gridlock and super long commutes. Fortunately, it’s not likely

How much time do we really spend on work-related travel?

The duration of the average work-related trip in Melbourne is consistent with other large world cities in developed countries but the average doesn’t show there’s considerable variation by mode

Are Sydney’s “empty homes” the result of perverse tax incentives?

It’s not certain Sydney even has a serious “empty homes” problem much less one driven by tax incentives. There are simpler and more plausible explanations for unoccupied dwellings

Is 20% two and three bedroom apartments diverse enough?

Requiring new developments to have more 2 & 3 bedroom apartments is questionable policy – it may impact affordability; it’s unnecessary; and it probably won’t work anyway

Does diversity mean everywhere has to be the same?

More diversity seems to be a “no-brainer” to most urban policy-makers and it’s mostly a very good thing, but insisting on it at every scale misunderstands what big cities are about

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