Category Archives: health & well being

Rebecca Solnit on Trump

It’s Time (again)

It is definitely time for all forms of peaceful and concerted actions to adjust our democratic structures to deal with the damage being done by forces that have resulted in Trump and his cronies being where they are.

Continue reading Rebecca Solnit on Trump

Nicole Lawder, a Liberal who has your back

We expect a lot of our politicians. People rightly expect their elected representatives to do just that – be representatives of the people who elected them. That’s not always a success story.

Continue reading Nicole Lawder, a Liberal who has your back

Rebecca Huntley Still Lucky

Book Review

Still Lucky, Rebecca Huntley, 2017. This is a good book. The message is clear – Australians are far more optimistic than we have been led to believe by our governments and the media. This researcher has done the research, travelled the country, talked to loads of people over many years. If you are interested in her reports on her research and comments – this book will give you all that and more.

Continue reading Rebecca Huntley Still Lucky

George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan

George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan – Breaking the Spell of Loneliness

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A collaboration between the writer George Monbiot and musician Ewan McLennan seeking to use music and word to open up the issue of loneliness and bring people together.

Continue reading George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan

Marie Coleman and Turnbull’s FTB

I suspect that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is still locked into appeasing those on the far right that this country needs to reduce its spending on the social welfare programs. There is little evidence that the Turnbull government is looking to have the top wealthy few and big business pay their share of taxes and thus increase the revenue.

Continue reading Marie Coleman and Turnbull’s FTB

George Monbiot, VW and diesel

George-Monbiot-LI have been wondering just how long the world was going to accept diesel engines in cars given they are polluting nightmares. Yet they continued to be rolled out. I hope this latest scandal involving VW fixing their diesel cars so that they produced false results will now focus attention on to how bad diesel engines are for the environment. Yet again, George Monbiot has written a very timely piece on the topic – it is definitely worth the read. click here.

Dickson Parklands – Land Grab

Article Lead - wide998573026gija9aimage.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.giivvm.png1437707368480.jpg-620x349The North Canberra Community Council (NCCC) has expressed both surprise and disappointment at yesterday’s shock announcement by the ACT Government proposing residential development in Dickson between the Dickson Pool and Dickson Playing Fields. It is known formally as Dickson Section 72 and informally as Dickson Parklands. click here for the full media release from the community council.

Dickson Shops

Development dilemmas: part one
Residents and the future of the Dickson Shops

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This is the first of several posts on planning and development issues effecting local residents. The stories and issues are not unique to Dickson in Canberra. Many residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

Continue reading Dickson Shops

Hockey meanness

The meanness of Joe Hockey

and his continued destruction of Australia’s way of life

Baz-P1020496If there was anyone left in Australia, who for one minute thought that the current Australian Federal Treasurer was anything but a mean and nasty politician, then all they had to do was observe his latest crimes. This man looks after his rich mates especially Big Coal, Banks and Big Miners; looks after this who pull his strings and keep him in power, Murdoch and their cohorts; and does all this by stripping back opportunities for health and well-being from those most disadvantaged.

Continue reading Hockey meanness

Big Corporations and Inequity

Comment: More on Corporations and Inequity

1a34098uI had reviewed Andrew Leigh’s very good 2013 book, Battlers & Billionairesclick here. Just this week there has been announcements from an American campaign that is raining voices about the control the corporate elite have on the country and how this is destroying the planet and our civil societies. click here

Continue reading Big Corporations and Inequity

Linton Kwensi Johnson

Music Review online

Linton Kwensi Johnson, more time, from Paris Live, 2004

photo_We have been bombarded recently with a lot of neo-conservative rubbish about how everyone needs to work longer hours and stay in work for more years. There’s so much indoctrination being put about how people need to do more and expect less. I disagree.

Continue reading Linton Kwensi Johnson

Big Tobacco & Michael Moore of Canberra

Commentary: Did Big Tobacco win this one

Michael-Moore-175x1751I had previously posted a link to a good commentary by Michael Moore of Canberra. He said among other scathing things: “Tobacco companies want to prove that plain packaging does not work because it is being seriously considered by other governments across the world.”

Continue reading Big Tobacco & Michael Moore of Canberra

Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Notice: Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Second Edition

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

 

cover1The Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Second Edition, is based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. Completely re-designed with an accessible, four-color layout, this second edition continues to build upon the fast-changing state of the practice at the local level. The designs in this book were developed by cities for cities, since unique urban streets require innovative solutions.

To create the Guide, the authors conducted an extensive worldwide literature search from design guidelines and real-life experience.

Continue reading Urban Bikeway Design Guide

LA for bikes

Los Angeles a city for cyclists?

LALA wasn’t always a driver’s town. In the 1920s, it had the longest urban rail network in the world, and innovative infrastructure was built for cyclists as well. Despite this, Angelenos fell in love with the car early on and moved for more highway projects, making it the road-based city it is today.

click here for the story.

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Paul Costigan, 19 August 2014

Michael Moore of Canberra

Commentary: Articles by Michael Moore of Canberra

Michael-Moore-175x1751I have mentioned articles written by a local, Michael Moore. While he holds down a very busy job in health, he continues to devote serious time to punching out thoughtful articles in one of the local free newspapers. They are most welcomed.

Continue reading Michael Moore of Canberra

LA for Bikes

Los Angeles a city for cyclists?

LA wasn’t always a driver’s town. In the 1920s, it had the longest urban rail network in the world, and innovative infrastructure was built for cyclists as well. Despite this, Angelenos fell in love with the car early on and moved for more highway projects, making it the road-based city it is today.

click here for the story.

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Paul Costigan, 19 August 2014

The Barrier Reef & Big Coal

The Rabbott Government and Big Coal and The Reef

reef2The Guardian has published a terrifying article of just how far down this country is heading.  As Tim Flannery says: The Great Barrier Reef is sick. Almost half of its coral is already dead and a massive new coal mine, which was given final approval this week, will only cause further damage. This is not just an issue for Australia, it affects us all.

click here for his article

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Paul Costigan, 3 August 2014

Supermarkets

The duopoly of supermarkets in Australia

 

8061542291243433879There is a very hard-hitting article in the August 2014 issue of The Monthly on how the two large supermarkets have been allowed to rip anyone and everyone off. Even more depressing is that it points to how we, as consumers,  are continuing to allow this to happen.

The major point raised by the article is how this dominance of the two of these supermarkets has reduced the food security in this country.

Continue reading Supermarkets

Urban Trees

Comment and Link to UK article on Urban Trees

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I have the benefit of living in a suburb with plenty of tree cover. In fact the view outside onto the streets is almost as if the street is a parkland. The concept that any suburb should have an abundance of trees and shrubs and associated bio-diversity is simply so logical that one wonders why would anyone think otherwise.

Continue reading Urban Trees

Value the Landscape

How can we work with the landscape to make liveable places?

A video, about six and half minutes, introducing the concept of valuing landscape and the link to liveable settlements.

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see also – Sustainable Sites Initiative

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Paul Costigan, 24th June 2014

 

Canberra Urbanity and Development

Recent Canberra Government development announcements

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In recent weeks and months there have been several significant development proposals announced by the territory (ACT) government in Canberra. If all the government’s ambitions come to fruition then residents about to witness some very serious alterations and additions to the make-up of several parts of the inner city urban fabric.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity and Development

Rural Health

Rural Health and the Budget 2014-15
making it work beyond the Big End of Town

 

logoMuch of the response to the Federal Budget has been on the extent to which the proposed cuts and savings would affect those who are already vulnerable.

In health, the main focus has been on a potential co-payment for people who are bulk-billed. Access to primary care is critical – and it should not be forgotten that some people have no access to general practitioners at all. Underlying the whole Budget strategy are questions about whether the challenges in Australia’s fiscal circumstance have been exaggerated and, if so, for what purpose and to what effect. click here for more

Rural Health

Rural Health and the Budget 2014-15
making it work beyond the Big End of Town

logoMuch of the response to the Federal Budget has been on the extent to which the proposed cuts and savings would affect those who are already vulnerable.

In health, the main focus has been on a potential co-payment for people who are bulk-billed. Access to primary care is critical – and it should not be forgotten that some people have no access to general practitioners at all. Underlying the whole Budget strategy are questions about whether the challenges in Australia’s fiscal circumstance have been exaggerated and, if so, for what purpose and to what effect.  click here for more

Urban Agriculture

 Urban Agriculture – one part of the solution

from The Guardian, Designing cities and factories with urban agriculture in mind. The Netherlands offers inspiration for designers looking to create environments that harvest water, energy and nutrients.

Urban farms are transforming inner city spaces – rooftops, infrastructure, streetscapes, building skin – into generative ecologies that support the lives of people, and pollinators too. They are bringing into cities, and into plain view, the natural systems that sustain urban life

click here

2014 budget & rural people

Opinion Piece: Measuring the fairness of the 2014 Federal Budget for rural people 

 

default_slider_0An online report following the 2014 Commonwealth budget announcements and how they relate to people in rural and remote areas of Australia.

The piece was posted by the National Rural Health Alliance.

Definitely worth the read. It is not good news. Click here.

Equity & Parks

Urbanity: Parks for everyone

There’s many a piece of research and publication about the links between access to parks and people’s health and wellbeing. Any urban area that includes ample public green spaces will always be sought after and the benefits are evident in the community attitudes towards their residential areas. Parks enhance the sense of community.

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Most Australian urban areas usually have had parks provided as part of the urban infrastructure. However in too many cases these parks and open spaces end up not being maintained well and sadly many also become places of neglect.

Continue reading Equity & Parks

Michael Moore of Canberra

Comment: the widening inequity gap
by Michael Moore of Canberra

The ideology of ultra conservatives now dominates the current Australian federal government and we all know that this mantra simply reflects those pulling their strings, being the same industry groups who managed their ascension into government.

There’s so much written, but not read, about the inequalities in today’s society. It is welcomed to see a lone voice in our local media occasionally urging people to step back and think about what sort of society is being created.

Continue reading Michael Moore of Canberra

Rural Health

Unravelling why geography is Australia’s biggest silent killer

The Conversation article online outlines the differences in health prospects for those living in regional areas compared to those living in larger cities.  Apart from the well-known deficiencies in access to health services, people in rural and remote areas also have less access to health-promoting infrastructure, such as targeted smoking cessation activities, organised physical activities and the information contained in health promotion campaigns.

the full The Conversation article is here.

Happy City

Reviews: Book

Happy City, Charles Montgomery, 2013

From the blurb online:

“A brilliant, entertaining and vital book. Montgomery deftly leads us from our misplaced focus on money, cars and stuff to consider what makes us truly happy. Then everything changes – the way we live, work and play in humanity’s major habitat, the city.” – David Suzuki

Continue reading Happy City

Billy Bragg on Rinehart

Comment on Gina Rinehart

I was thinking of appropriate words to say about the unbelievably stupid but evil comments by the richest woman on the need for government to put the boot, even more, into the disadvantaged in our society.

Such a mean person, who continues to reap the benefits of all sorts of subsidies and tax reductions, deserves to be spoken of in the harshest terms. Yet one does not want to stoop to her levels of incivility.

Thank god for Billy Bragg. With his experience of Thatcher, he is the perfect person to put Gina the Buffoon in her place. Click here.

Empires of Food

Review: Book

Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Evan D. G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.  Random House, 2010

empiresoffoodAs if there was not enough information available on how the world is not paying attention to all the warning signs, this book was recommended to me to make me aware of the dire situation coming our way in relation to the supply of adequate food for coming generations.

This is all linked in with the issues of climate change, population growth and the way we have allowed our food supplies to be controlled by particular market and political forces. This book is a must read for all.

Continue reading Empires of Food

inequity and growth

Inequity and growth: International Monetary Fund paper

The IMF has been released that dismisses the ideological argument that redistributing incomes is self-defeating.

IMF_4Following on from yesterday’s post on this topic, I have to say I was taken back to see a report from the IMF on the subject of inequity and growth. The paper has backed economists who argue that inequality is a drag on growth in a discussion paper that has also dismissed ideological theories that efforts to redistribute incomes are self-defeating.

Reports from the IMF are usually about driving down the working conditions in order to achieve growth. This IMF report knocks those theories on the head. I am sure it will be ignored by many, in particular the present Australian government. Click here for the article.

inequity and growth

Does Tackling Inequality Reduce Growth?

Australia is going through strange times right now. The mainstream media and the government are involved in the full time spin of convincing the population that the ‘age of entitlements’ is over. As we are learning, this is correct except if you are deemed to be worthy by the government. This in particular applies to their friends in business. Amongst the business end of town, at least for those in the pockets of government (or is it the other way around), the age of entitlements is well and truly about to be enhanced.

Continue reading inequity and growth

social media and narcissism

Opinion: Social Media and Narcissism

130611122111-largeWhat does it take to bring out even further that narcissist behaviour that occasionally surfaces within social and business interactions? By my reckoning, not much.

I have witnessed that when a certain group in society gains access to any social media, or online forums, or even reply sections online, that with very little encouragement, they quickly plunge headlong into some of the worst troll like and uncivilized behaviour.

Continue reading social media and narcissism

places for play

Places for Play

Referring to a posting on The Nature of Cities: Involving Children in the Design of Park Renovations to Create Green Places for Play with Urban Nature

Locally there have been several wonderful initiatives that have delivered wetlands to local neighbourhoods. These developments were very much welcomed and have become destination for people taking walks.

The new wetlands were primarily established to become catchments for run off water that had previously been channeled into 1960s concrete drains straight down through the suburbs into the lake. Water is now being partially diverted along the way to provide storage as well as being piped off site to other large water tanks for other irrigation purposes.

Continue reading places for play

Cities and Biodiversity

Cities and Biodiversity

There’s a short presentation online that introduces the benefits and urgency for all countries to do more for Cities and Biodiversity. The presenters have some key messages on their web site.

Key Messages for Cities and Biodiversity Continue reading Cities and Biodiversity

urban ecology

urban ecology

re-posted article: What are the social justice implications of urban ecology, and how can we make sure that “green cities” are not synonymous with “gentrified” or “exclusive” cities?

Here is Australia there is a lot of talk amongst city planners and such that there is a need for green cities, sustainable cities and lots more simplistic terms. It is very hard indeed to find amongst the rhetoric any realistic commitment to urban ecology.

The need to base all urban developments against a measure based around preserving and enhancing the soil, the ecology and the green infrastructure remains an optimistic wish for those interested in the survival of the planet. Current approaches to urban design and planning are still very much ‘business as usual’ with market forces, meaning the quick dollar, as the drivers and measures applied.

Continue reading urban ecology

Edible City

Advocacy: Edible City

A presentation: Turn your city to being an edible city

Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation will assist advocacy to deal with the forecasted food shortages as climate change kicks in. The presentation demonstrates how to turn a conventional community into an edible city. Learn how to transform unproductive spaces into agricultural landscapes that help fight obesity and reduce food deserts. Make sure you note the address and send it onto anyone in decision making roles.

Continue reading Edible City

Urban Forests

Advocacy: Urban Forests

A presentation: Urban Forests = Cleaner, Cooler Air

Developed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, this presentation will assist advocacy for more resource allocation for urban forests. Governments need to deal with climate change in the urban areas, and dealing with urban forests is a good place to concentrate some resources. The urban forest issues are linked to the population’s health and wellbeing and avoiding heat island effects.

Continue reading Urban Forests

Leadership in Landscape Design

Leadership in Landscape Design
Online Presentation:
The Best Planned City: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System

olmstedDespite all the evidence and all the advocacy, our political leaders are still not up to the challenge of dealing with something that is a threat to life as we have come to know it here on this planet. True leadership seems to be in short supply these days.

Continue reading Leadership in Landscape Design

Big Tobacco

Opinion: Big Tobacco and big lies

Australia has the tobacco plain packaging legislation due to the wonderful work by the former health minister, Nicola Roxon.

This landmark piece of legislation, hailed internationally, fitted well with her belief  that “governments have got a role to make sure they can help people in circumstances they can’t control – either through their health failing or an accident”.

Continue reading Big Tobacco

Health Costs

Opinion: Health Costs – the reality

rabbott01The Australian Government is currently not doing much,  except to hand power to its business friends.

We expect all manner of stupid decisions to follow soon. That is, once the business groups have worked out what they want this Rabbott Government to do. Hence all the reviews underway, which are being overseen by the business and lobby groups who brought this government to power.

Continue reading Health Costs

Urban Transportation Change Maker

Re-posted from The Dirt

Rina Cutler: Urban Transportation Change Maker

When I retire I will write a book called, ‘you can’t make this sh*t up,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, Philadelphia, at a National Complete Streets Coalition dinner in Washington, D.C. In a review of her experience serving seven mayors and governors, Cutler revealed the sometimes painful truths about pushing for positive change in urban transportation.

Continue reading Urban Transportation Change Maker

Play

Play, Recreation and Children

While sustainable settlements debates more often than not focus on such key issues as climate change, carbon, energy, green infrastructure, weather etc, emphasis must also remain on the rights of children to have access to play.

It is overdue that planning and development legislation to be inclusive of the ‘need to create time and space for children to engage in spontaneous play, recreation and creativity, and to promote societal attitudes that support and encourage such activity’ (1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child article 31).

The problem has been that play has been a separated issue for planning. At worst it is a token of optional matter to be addressed. The contemporary view is that whether the planning is for a street, a park, a suburb or any form of redevelopment of urban areas, play and the rights for children to have access to safe and engaging recreation must be as important as the rest of the requirements. This is rarely the case.

Continue reading Play

Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

Reporting on research being undertaken

Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

You are urged to ‘watch this space’ for research and reports by scientists who have been carrying out research on Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health. To quote from their website:

Safeguarding future health in Australian cities, The CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship has funded scientists and researchers from a range of disciplines to develop adaptation strategies which will improve the health of urban populations in the face of a variable and changing climate.

The Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health Cluster was established in 2010 and officially launched in March 2011 at a Conference in Cairns, bringing together nine different partner organisations focusing on 7 major research projects.

Continue reading Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

Urban Trees and Heat

Opinion Editorial: Urban Trees and Heat

A case study of neglect and willful blindness?.

(cross posted from our other blog)

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Continue reading Urban Trees and Heat