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Miscellaneous

Jun 30, 2017

The Urbanist Digest, Vol 2, 2017

A digest of all the topics discussed by The Urbanist in the June quarter 2017, including airports, transport, heritage, cycling, planning, health, infrastructure, housing, regions

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(Image by Joseph Bsharah via So bad So good)

AIRPORTS

What’s Turnbull’s airport rail adventure all about?

The funding the Turnbull Government says it will provide to Victoria in next month’s budget for a rail line from the CBD to Melbourne Airport is about politics, not good policy

Does Sydney Airport really charge train travellers too much?

The assertion that rail travellers pay a $7.96 access fee to Sydney Airport on top of the Opal fare is wrong and lets the NSW Government off the hook

Is an airport train to the CBD the whole story?

The Victorian and Federal governments have different strategies for Melbourne Airport rail but there’s a lot more to the transport task at Tullamarine than a train to the CBD

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Western Sydney: proposed metro/light rail network

Guest writer Dr Garry Glazebrook describes what a comprehensive plan for a metro rail network supported by feeder light rail services in Western Sydney should look like

Is all-night weekend public transport value for money?

Melbourne’s move to all-night public transport on Friday and Saturday nights is certainly appealing but there are many other ways such a huge sum of money could be spent

Melbourne ‘fantasy rail map 2070’

Adam Mattinson’s 2070 fantasy rail map incorporates almost every rail line ever proposed for Melbourne, as well as historic lines decommissioned during the 1950s and 60s

The Melbourne Subway Map (a rail fantasy)

A fantastical vision from mapmaker Adam Mattinson of what a subway underneath Melbourne’s inner suburbs could look like if it were as connected as Tokyo’s famous system

Should Doncaster BRT be a priority?

A private proposal to build and operate a Bus Rapid Transit system in Doncaster looks promising but taxpayers will ultimately pay for it; so it’s vital to make sure it’s a high priority

ROADS AND TRAFFIC

Is this (suburban) motorway a good idea?

The Andrews Government’s decision to build Melbourne’s North East Link lacks transparency and analysis, but the idea of suburban motorways shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand

Has Albo really found a congestion hollow log?

Anthony Albanese gets it wrong on traffic congestion. Australian cities need politicians who’ll tell us what’s really going on and what really needs to be done

HERITAGE

What’s the heritage value of this office block?

Another fashionably handsome modernist building with debatable claims to social and architectural significance is the subject of a heritage battle in Melbourne

CYCLING

Is a cycling “freeway” the way to go?

The schematic proposal for a veloway the Andrews government says it’s going to build as part of the Western Distributor looks good but there’s room for improvement

If it’s not OK to walk it, why is it OK to cycle it?

A simple but shocking image showing how infrastructure purportedly provided for the benefit of cyclists, expects them to ride in situations they feel are dangerous

Should walking and cycling trails be like freeways?

Melbourne’s new Darebin-Yarra Link will be more like a freeway than a shared walking and cycling trail; it’ll be hard – and unsafe – for nearby residents to get access to it

How big are the public health benefits of riding to work?

Those who cycle to work have better health prospects than those who commute by car or transit but it’s unlikely all the public health benefits would scale up if a lot more of us cycled

A Bicycle Boulevard for Melbourne?

There’s an opportunity for the Victorian Government to recognise the key role Yarra Boulevard plays in supporting cycling in Melbourne by giving more of it to riders

A fantasy cycling map for inner Melbourne

Here’s master mapmaker Adam Mattinson’s vision of what a high-quality cycling network could look like in an Australian city. At present, unfortunately, it’s sheer fantasy

What are the prospects for dockless bike share in Australia?

Dockless bike share faces a much bigger challenge in Australia than in countries like China, especially given new entrant oBike must make it work commercially

PLANNING

Have the Premiers finally ‘gotten’ New Urbanism?

A visiting Canadian expert appears to have done what the locals couldn’t: inspired most of the Premiers to improve the health of city dwellers through better urban planning

Is Sydney the new New York?

The Sydney Morning Herald’s comparison of small parts of Sydney with leading world metropolises might grab the attention of readers, but it’s rubbish

Are Australia’s big cities dense enough?

The extensive suburbs in the middle rings of Australia’s east coast capitals explain why the “missing middle” is so much less dense than in comparable Canadian cities

Where’s the toilet?

The location of a humble toilet block in a park might seem a minor issue, but it’s big news in inner suburban Melbourne and highlights some larger issues

Can security bollards be done better?

It’s regrettable it seems necessary to install heavy bollards in Australian cities to protect against vehicle attacks. But it could be a way to improve public spaces

Why has walking to school stumbled so badly?

The proportion of children driven to primary school has raced ahead over the last 30 to 40 years. The standard solutions won’t change that by much, but there’s hope

Could the average trip to work nearly double by 2030?

The average one-way commute could increase by 28 minutes by 2030 according to Melbourne’s Herald Sun. Sounds horrendous but it’s scary tabloid journalism

HEALTH

Do residents of green places live longer?

It’s arguable whether greener residential areas reduce mortality but there are plenty of other good reasons to promote planting more trees, especially along streets

INFRASTRUCTURE

The outlook for infrastructure is improving

Guest writer Dr Garry Glazebrook reckons the federal budget shows the Coalition is at last heading in the right direction on infrastructure funding

HOUSING

Does the Grenfell Tower fire mean we should stop building residential towers?

The Grenfell Tower fire was the result of flawed policy on public housing, not some inherent flaw in the high-rise residential building type

Are towers inherently wrong for public housing?

St Louis’ famously demolished Pruitt-Igoe public housing project has a lesson for the debate over high-rise stemming from the Grenfell Tower fire; it’s not really about the architecture

REGIONS

Suburban sprawl or regional sprawl?

It’s probably a political winner, but it’s not obvious the Victorian Opposition’s new regional sprawl policy is preferable to suburban sprawl or redevelopment of established metro suburbs

See Urbanist Digest, Volume 1, 2017

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