Recap: all the issues discussed by The Urbanist in August

Barcelona market.jpg

My kind of market

Including repurposing golf courses, cycle superhighways, rough sleeping, social isolation, Uber tax, tiny apartments, Olympic medals, super commutes, motorcycles, and more

Should urban golf courses be used for something else?

Strong population growth in established areas prompts the question of whether or not golf courses are still the best way to use very large tracts of urban land

Shouldn’t all cities have a “cycle superhighway” plan?

It might look like all political gain and no financial pain, but the WA Government’s Cycling Network Plan is a valuable and important exercise that governments elsewhere should emulate as soon as possible

How big a problem are “super commutes”?

Rely on the sensationalising media for news and you might conclude most suburban workers suffer daily “super commutes” of an hour and a half or more. Not so

Why do some countries win most of the Olympic medals?

Certain countries consistently take the lion’s share of medals at the Olympics but it’s got little to do with national character and a lot to do with national wealth and political commitment

What’s better: a small apartment or nothing?

“If a cramped apartment is the best someone can find within their budget and other constraints, how would they be better off if that apartment didn’t exist?”

The end of ice cream economics

The Federal election suggests that if Labor cannot yet be trusted with the economy then the Liberals cannot be trusted with the wider society, says guest writer Garry Glazebrook

Is the EIU’s World’s Most Liveable City gong rubbish?

Melbourne is supposedly about to lose top spot in the world’s most liveable city rankings. So what? It’s a meaningless tick useful only for politicking by all sides

Rail: under or over?

Removing level crossings by elevating rail over road has advantages but in cases like this one it’s less compelling; and not helped by questionable public consultation

Will these standards really make apartment residents better off?

The Victorian government has no idea if its draft standards for apartments will make future residents better off or worse off. That’s poor policy-making

Why didn’t we win more medals in Rio?

The “host city effect” from the Sydney games has gone. The Australian team won as many medals at the Rio Olympics as it could plausibly expect to

Is urban transport too expensive?

The Australian Automobile Association reckons transport – especially driving – costs too much: it says households spend a “staggering” 13.3% of their weekly budget on transport

Is a $2 tax on Uber and taxi trips over the top?

Victoria will put taxis and Uber on a common footing with light regulation. It will impose a $2 per trip tax on both modes to fund compensation for taxi license owners

Are these standards worth $62,500 per apartment?

An independent analysis puts the extra cost of new amenity standards proposed by the Victorian government at $62,500 per apartment

What to do about rough sleeping?

The factors leading to living on the streets are different from other forms of homelessness and suggest conventional approaches to housing support might not always work

Do high-rise apartment towers promote social isolation?

Of all the many criticisms of high-rise living in Australia’s capitals, the charge that it reduces “chance encounters” and is socially isolating is the weakest

Is the risk of dying on a motorbike increasing?

The number of motorcyclists who’ve died on Victorian roads is up significantly in the first half of this year compared to last year. It’s too early to say though if it’s a permanent increase

Is cycling on roads getting safer?

The risk of riders dying on Australian roads is declining but there’s still a lot to be done to make cycling safer; better infrastructure is at the top of the list

Is cycling on roads getting safer?

Do we still need good neighbours?

It seems clear we have less to do with our neighbours than in the past but it doesn’t appear to be a big problem for most of us; there are some though who would benefit a lot from good neighbours

Do we still need good neighbours?

Do bicycle helmets work?

The cycling helmet law is contentious, but it’s time to call bullshit on those who reckon bicycle helmets are useless or, worse, actually increase the risk of injury

Do bicycle helmets work?

Is it time to get serious about road pricing?

Recent positive comments by urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher indicate it’s time for governments to actively pursue implementing road pricing in Australia

Is it time to get serious about road pricing?

Does having the funds make a poor project OK?

The extra $10 billion the Victorian government is getting from the sale of the port of Melbourne doesn’t suddenly turn a poor project like a station at South Yarra into something worth doing

Does having the funds make a poor project OK?

Shouldn’t we have an Australian Museum of Popular Music?

The demolition of Melbourne’s Palace Theatre suggests it’s time to create a museum that showcases the history and breadth of the Australian popular music industry

Shouldn’t we have an Australian Museum of Popular Music?

Shouldn’t every state have a one-metre cycling law?

The one-metre overtaking law sends the message that cycling matters, is here to stay, is going to get bigger, and motorists must adapt their behaviour and attitudes

Shouldn’t every state have a one-metre cycling law?

Should removal of this level crossing get priority?

Two deaths this week at a Melbourne level crossing prompted calls to prioritise its removal. But it’s a much more complex decision; there are other important issues that must also be taken into account

Should removal of this level crossing get priority?

Recap: all the issues discussed by The Urbanist in July



Including walking, buses, parking, High Speed Rail, the city centre, cycling, greyhounds, the suburbs, taxing tobacco, and the environmental benefit of building rail

Will new rail lines save the planet?

The justification for a big investment like the $11 Billion Melbourne Metro isn’t to save the planet (it will do very little to reduce GHGs); it’s to improve transport

Is it time to rethink how smoking is taxed?

 With the 2016-17 budget potentially a relic, there’s an opportunity to step back from the cruel and uncaring decision to increase the excise on smoking by (yet another) 50%

Should greyhound racing history be forgotten?

It would be unfortunate if the appalling findings of the Special Commission meant the historical role of greyhound racing in the social and cultural life of NSW was overlooked

Can cyclists travel happily with pedestrians?

Cyclists and pedestrians aren’t the same; mixing them up in busy public places on the dubious grounds they’re both “not cars” inevitably leads to conflict

What revitalised central Melbourne?

Planners made an important contribution to the oft-noted and widely admired vitality of central Melbourne but success really does have many mothers

Will business really pay for High Speed Rail?

A new company reckons it can build Sydney-Melbourne HSR without calling on government coffers. It says the proposal is commercially viable; it’s not a Trojan horse

What can history tell us about land values and HSR?

The association between rail infrastructure like High Speed Rail and increases in land value is nothing new; it was there when much of Victoria’s rail network was built

Should commuters pay to park at the station?

Commuter parking at outer suburban railway stations is usually free, leading to peak period shortages. The first step should be to charge for it

Are buses “visible” enough?

There’s a dense system of useful bus routes in most cities that’s often invisible to prospective users. Bus routes needs to be improved but also made more legible

Is “the suburbs” a useful idea anymore?

Tall residential towers are widely seen as inappropriate in the suburbs. But maybe the idea of “the suburbs” is itself no longer appropriate

Is walking to work the way to go?

Walking accounts for only a small share of journeys to work but has enormous potential. Its great advantage is it doesn’t require huge licks of money for specialised infrastructure

Why is the centre of Sydney so dull?

Sydney’s CBD is pretty lifeless compared to Melbourne’s. Is it the result of the lock-out law? Are Melbourne’s laneways just too good? Or is it more likely there are structural reasons?

Why is the centre of Sydney so dull?

So what if India has more mobile phones than toilets?

It’s true India has more mobile phones than toilets but the meme demeans the population and contributes little to improving sanitation

So what if India has more mobile phones than toilets?

Getting gender balance in politics

“There is a straightforward way to achieve gender balance in any parliament: halve the number of electorates and have each elect a man and a woman”

Getting gender balance in politics

Should bicycle lanes be abolished?

Bicycle lanes are a necessary evil in Australian cities but they should be regarded as interim. There are much better ways of encouraging greater bicycle use

Should bicycle lanes be abolished?

Are regional dormitories the way to grow our cities?

It seems inevitable regional centres will take a much bigger share of metropolitan population growth, but the case hasn’t been made that creating regional dormitories is the best policy

Are regional dormitories the way to grow our cities?

Should trailer parks be trashed?

With declining affordability we need to take a flexible approach to alternative housing options. We can learn from trailer parks; they’re an important and sought-after housing option in the US

Should trailer parks be trashed?

Are city centre apartment towers really slums?

It’s a common charge but Melbourne’s city centre apartment towers aren’t remotely like real slums and nor are they likely to be in the forseeable future

Are city centre apartment towers really slums?