Category Archives: People

Walking

image_startWhile Australian governments spend a lot of time on transport matters, it usually means cars, maybe public transport and occasionally bicycles. In Canberra the pedestrian is not often on the agenda. Walking is far more fun. I visited Vienna recently and was impressed about many things to do with its urban structure. And now I read that they have a new emphasis on walking and urban planning is allowing for this!

Continue reading Walking

Seven Myths About New Urbanism

Re-Posted from ThisBigCity blog

brooklyn-bridgeSeven Myths About New Urbanism: Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University and an untiring defender of the suburbs, begins a recent column in the Washington Post with a valid question: “What is a city for?” He then proceeds to get that question completely wrong. But really, we should be thanking him. In his article, he neatly sums up many of the key myths emerging from the anti-urbanism set, making the job of debunking these myths a lot easier. Click here.

Going Backwards Fast

Commentary: on how the country is being trashed

 

GREEN ARMY INITIATIVE LAUNCHThe Conversation has just completed an informative series on the range of devastating changes being made to this country.

The writers cover most topics including:  health, the environment, education, migration, science and the economy.  It is definitely worth the time to make your way through them.

Continue reading Going Backwards Fast

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.

——————————

Paul Costigan, 19 August 2014

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.

glebe-P1000979

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

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.

Graffiti and Public Space

Graffiti on the Path and the Nature of Public Space

from the article on Nature of Cities: The nature of cities is inextricably tied to the nature of public space and this blog is about just a small part of that ‘nature’. It was inspired by what appeared to be graffiti on a public footpath that runs along the street where I live, in sunny Semaphore, South Australia. Now I appreciate intelligent, well-executed graffiti. I like the stuff that possesses some style and carries a positive, or simply necessary message. The best graffiti rescues blighted spaces from greyness and orthographic rigour with dynamic swathes and patterns of colour that maybe should have been there in the first place, and graffiti has a proud place in the annals of urban ecology. Some nature-oriented graffiti in Cape Town was discussed in this blog space by Pippin Anderson.  see the full article – click here

The City Square

The City Square – what are they there for?

Many years ago there used to be lots of protest gatherings in Canberra. I am referring to both local and national protests. The local ones used to be regularly held in the place called Civic Square. The national ones were in front of the original Parliament House – now known as the Old Parliament House.

civic-square1above – the original Civic Square

Such protests are now a rare event. Times have changed even though the political situation is much worse now than then.

Continue reading The City Square

Climate and Equity

Climate and Equity

There’s an interesting debate on how we convince people to take action on climate change. This action can be that we vote for the political parties that will follow through on actions, or it could that we all need to take some personal responsibility for climate change and take appropriate actions.

A Sydney GP has an interesting take on this and how we need to use particular words to convince all people.

Continue reading Climate and Equity

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

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

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

Cities and Women

Re-Post from the Guardian

Making cities safe for women and girls

It’s about Cities and Women:  World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty is focusing on how to tackle violence against women and girls in public spaces Whether walking city streets, using public transport, going to school, or selling goods at the market, women and girls are subject to the threat of sexual harassment and violence. This reality of daily life limits women’s freedom to get an education, to work, to participate in politics – or to simply enjoy their own neighbourhoods. Yet despite its prevalence, violence and harassment against women and girls in public spaces remains a largely neglected issue, with few laws or policies in place to address it.  click here for the full article

Women and the city

Re-Posted from The Global Urbanist

A woman’s right to enjoy the city

Dealing with the overlooked issue in Urban Design, Women and the City. As part of our series on eliminating violence against women and girls in our cities produced in collaboration with the Huairou Commission, Mumbai architect Pallavi Shrivastava offers a personal reflection on how the threat of violence forces women not only to change our movements but also prevents us from enjoying our cities, and thus from helping to make them the cities we want them to be. click here for the full article.

Public Health

Re-Posted from UK Landscape Institute

Public health and landscape: creating healthy places (November 2013)

The UK Landscape Institute believes that greater priority needs to be given to prevention of ill health in public health and social care. All those involved in creating healthy places, public health professionals, planners and landscape architects, need to recognise that landscape has enormous potential to improve our health and wellbeing. In Australia, despite all the evidence being available, it has been a struggle to have the Australian Government recognise the importance of the links between our public spaces and the population’s health and well being.

 Click here for UK Landscape Institute Public Health Policy links