Recap: all the issues discussed by The Urbanist last month

Decentralisation, high-rise in the inner city, sprawl and farming, Federation Square, suburban McMansions, ABC-TV’s Streets of your Town, cycling safety, heritage, and more

Is The Age’s reporting of the Corkman Pub fiasco prize-worthy?

The Age has done an outstanding job of reporting on the demolition of the Corkman Irish Pub. Excellence in day-to-day reporting warrants greater industry recognition

Why do more cyclists on the road mean fewer riders die?

More cyclists on the roads is associated with fewer fatal crashes. The safety in numbers effect might be part of the explanation but there are others that are arguably more important

Is better health a key rationale for urban policy?

A significantly more compact urban form in a city like Melbourne would improve public health, but it doesn’t seem a very compelling justification for strategic land use policy

Is decentralisation regional sprawl by another name?

Decentralisation is a perennial political favourite because intuitively it seems sensible; but current proposals look a lot more like regional sprawl than regional development

Does ABC-TV’s Streets of Your Town get it wrong?

Part one of ABC-TV’s Streets of Your Town is an enjoyable look at 60s and 70s modernist domestic architecture but it’s not as relevant to today as it claims

Why are new suburban houses so bloody big?

It’s a commonplace observation that new detached houses in Australia’s outer suburbs are much bigger than in the past. The interesting question is why

Should Apple get a bite of Federation Square?

Apple reportedly wants to establish an Apple store with a signature glass cube in Melbourne’s Federation Square. Boring; there are more exciting ways to enhance Fed Square

Are we really a rural country like Senator Abetz says?

Senator Abetz claim on Q&A that Australia is a “rural/regional country” isn’t true. But we need more sophisticated measures to describe what’s regional vs urban

Is sprawl a serious threat to food security?

We’re often told suburban sprawl replaces agricultural land and is a serious threat to future food security, but the evidence suggests it’s not such a big deal

Is 16-storeys OK in the inner city?

More people want to live close to the cosmopolitan city centre but this conflict over a development in Fitzroy North shows existing residents zealously protect what they’ve got

Will shifting government agencies to the regions drive decentralisation?

Politicians like the idea of moving government functions to regional centres in the name of decentralisation; but the wider net social benefits are mostly political


Should this movie set get heritage protection?

It sounds preposterous and more than a little like fiction, but there’s a push in Melbourne to give heritage protection to the house used as a set in the film The Castle

Should this movie set get heritage protection?


Does its impact on train patronage kill the case for this road?

It’s estimated Melbourne’s proposed North East Link will reduce public transport use by 25,000 trips per day – sounds awful, but as usual there’s more to it

Does its impact on train patronage kill the case for this road?


What books to read over the holiday season?

Here’s my annual list of good books – mostly novels – to read over the holidays. A lot are quite recent and some of them are even quite fashionable

What books to read over the holiday season?


Heritage falls victim to planning tribunal rules

Guest writer Damien Bonnice argues the planning tribunal and developer of this inner city Melbourne project rode roughshod over heritage values and good design principles

Planning falls victim to planning tribunal rules


Is this motorway obviously a really stupid idea?

The Victorian governments proposal to build a major motorway in the suburbs is premature – but it highlights the need for a more mature discussion about the role of new roads

Is this motorway obviously a really stupid idea?


Do motorways help make cycling safer?

Segregating bicycles from vehicles is universally recognised as a key safety practice; one way it’s achieved in the Netherlands is by pushing through traffic on to motorways

Do motorways help make cycling safer?