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Theconversation. The UN estimates that more than half of the global population currently live in cities, and this figure is expected to balloon to five billion urban inhabitants by 2030.


In both developed and developing countries, the fast pace of urban growth often overwhelms existing housing and infrastructure. This in turn has led to an expansion of informal settlements, expensive rent, the growth of household debt and the consolidation of power and revenue with developers and landlords.

With these issues in mind, political leaders, academic experts, civil society organisations and community representatives from UN member states are meeting at the Habitat III conference in Quito, Equador, to develop strategies for managing an urban future, which they will define in the “New Urban Agenda”. In general, the people and groups proposing solutions to these problems have access to certain forms of capital – not just economic, but also cultural or social, political, intellectual and natural capital.

Theconversation. Saving energy is a win-win.


You reduce greenhouse emissions and you reduce your energy bills. However, improving energy efficiency is not an option for a significant number of people in Australia – renters. This is important not only because rental properties account for 29.6% of Australian houses, or 2.3 million homes, but because the high proportion of low-income households in rental properties are particularly vulnerable to rising energy prices. Dickensian approach to residential tenants lingers in Australian law - Australian Property Investor magazine. By Eileen Webb, Curtin University A Victorian Supreme Court decision has held that landlords should ensure that residential premises are maintained in good repair, even if the property is dilapidated when the tenant goes into occupation.

Dickensian approach to residential tenants lingers in Australian law - Australian Property Investor magazine

That this is being hailed as a “landmark” decision underscores the sometimes Dickensian approaches that still influence tenancy law. With two states, New South Wales and Victoria, reviewing tenancy legislation, the decision is a persuasive case study on the desirability of imposing minimum standards on the condition of rental premises. There is, however, a sting in the tail, with the judge acknowledging that the conclusion could reduce the supply of very low-cost residential housing. … there is no law against letting a tumble-down house. – Robbins v. What did the court decide? Canberra is Australia’s ‘most sustainable city’ according to Arcadis index. Play Video How long does it take us to get to work?

Canberra is Australia’s ‘most sustainable city’ according to Arcadis index

See how long the average travel times are for our capital cities and around the world. Peak-hour traffic congestion makes for an unhappy city. What really makes cities liveable? By Ross Elliott, cross-posted from The Pulse.

What really makes cities liveable?

So called city liveability rankings are proliferating like rabbits before Myxomatosis. And like rabbits, they can be pest. A couple of recent liveability surveys beggar belief, not just in their method but also their conclusions. New Green Leasing Standard Could Sweep Across Nation - Now this is green living in Eumundi. Slum warning: more than one million Australians live in poor to derelict housing.

More than one million Australians live in properties which are dangerously close to being slum housing, researchers reveal.

Slum warning: more than one million Australians live in poor to derelict housing

Another 100,000 people occupy houses defined as being in very poor condition or derelict, according to the study. The problem was larger than academics from the University of Adelaide anticipated. Researchers have found 100,000 Australian are enduring poor quality to derelict housing. Photo: Dean Osland Almost one in five renters (19 per cent) live in dwellings classed as poor quality to derelict, compared to three per cent of homeowners, the study published this month found. Vulnerable tenants with low incomes and disabilities are among those worst off, and younger people were more likely than the elderly to live in shoddy conditions. Analysis showed a measurable and significant impact on the mental, physical, and general health of those living in substandard housing.

Australia Needs Regulation on Livable Housing. Following the release of a paper which indicates the housing industry is expected to meet less than five per cent of its goal for all new housing to be constructed to an agreed universal design standard by 2020, National Shelter chief executive officer Adrian Pisarski said regulation was needed in order to ensure that basic standards of universal design became the standard throughout the design and construction sector in Australia.

Australia Needs Regulation on Livable Housing

Theconversation. Low-energy or zero-energy housing is international best practice, but is still considered costly.


Part of the problem is that studies of housing standards typically use only cost-benefit analysis to assess their value, and so often wrongly conclude that sustainable housing is unaffordable. Our new research shows how such analyses may miss some flow-on financial benefits – such as reduced energy bills and lower mobility costs.

Most importantly, these analyses also overlook effects on householders' health and quality of life arising from factors such as improved thermal comfort. Sustainable housing can also have important benefits for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, as the report released this week shows. The environmental performance of Australian housing has improved slowly, associated with changes in minimum building regulations and the creation of subsidies such as solar rebates. Conventional cost-benefit analyses exclude these benefits. Smart cities: The six key things Sydney and Melbourne need to do to attract talent and stay relevant.

Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% The Singapore government is testing a range of 'smart city' technologies in one of the most extensive plans to collect data on daily living ever attempted in a city.

Smart cities: The six key things Sydney and Melbourne need to do to attract talent and stay relevant