Density and the Suburbs

What was it? A seminar organised by Justine Clark on behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects recently that discussed Melbourne's suburbs and its disconcertedly low housing density. Rather than propose specific solutions, it sought to broadly articulate the scope of the issue and how our understanding of it might help us chart a course... Continue Reading →

Future vision for Victoria

What is it? The State Government released a media statement a couple of weeks ago announcing a new metropolitan planning strategy for Melbourne and Victoria. According to the statement, it "will be focused on land use and transport options that respond to and integrate social, economic and environmental issues facing the metropolitan region. The strategy will take... Continue Reading →

Regulating sustainability

What is it? A proposal is currently before the Victorian State government that recommends abandoning mandatory 6-star thermal efficiency requirements for housing as part of a broader agenda to cut government red tape. Documents obtained by The Age newspaper reveal state Treasurer Kim Wells has suggested that "consideration could be given to a voluntary thermal... Continue Reading →

City and the City

What is it? A crime novel by fascinating author, China Miéville, set in the fictitious Eastern European cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma. The driving narrative force of this novel, and the subject of the above drawing, is the relationship between these two cities. Beszel and Ul Qoma are unique cities, each with its own... Continue Reading →

Dangerous places

Walsh Street House by Robin Boyd, 1958 What are they? The antithesis of the contemporary urban environment, whose sturdy handrails, warning decals and fluorescent yellow strips are tenderly coddling us in bubble wrap, anxiously protecting us from every possible bump, scrape and bruise. By dangerous, we do not so much refer to cliff edges nor shark-infested... Continue Reading →

2,500 residents

What is it? The population of Alexandra, a small town in central Victoria, and the new home of friends of ours recently returned from 7 years living in Hong Kong. It is also the population of their apartment tower in Hong Kong, where as many as three generations of a family were housed in each... Continue Reading →

Our Liveable City

What is it? A recently completed, 6-month study commissioned by The Age and undertaken by Tract Consultants and Deloitte Access Economics into the liveability of Melbourne's 314 suburbs. The term liveability is in itself difficult to define, with research into its parameters marking the start of the study. According to Adam Terrill of Tract Consultants, the definition... Continue Reading →

Hiding in the City

Hiding in the City - The Temple of Heaven, 2010 Hiding in New York - Magazine Rack, 2011 What is it? A series of installation artworks by Chinese artist, Liu Bolin. Dubbed The Invisible Man, Bolin photographs himself in front and part of urban environments, his clothing and body painted with exacting patience to mimic... Continue Reading →

Safe enough or too safe?

What is it? An article published in the New York Times a few months ago, viewable here, asked the question: can a playground be too safe? Is it really necessary to prevent potential injuries on and around play equipment with rubber matting, lower monkey bars and slower slides? Or is the importance of learning our... Continue Reading →

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