London Underground - reimagined!

Alternates to the London Underground map

The Death and Life of...

Planning for our future (figuratively speaking)...

Urban greening in high density environments

Creating 'Vertical Forests' in high density residential developments

Best Towers of the Year, 2011

Think that 3 storey building is too tall? Poor design on that 4 storey apartment building application? Hah! Get some real density in yah, check these out. Some of these are the top rated supertalls, we're talking 200m+. Even Australia makes a feature in these awards, chosen by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Check them out.

2011 Census Data Released! Data Nerds Rejoice!

It doesn't matter what kind of planning you're doing in Australia, you're still going to need some good data. And the best cold data is Census.

It's wide ranging, incredibly accurate thanks to the sample size, and collated and organised by the best data nerds in the business, the mighty ABS. So whatever you're doing, get the good stuff here:

The super executive summary: we are still growing, we are still sprawling, everything costs more, and less and less believe are religious. Read some media analysis of the data here, here and here.

Or for more fun, have Shaun Micallef explain the Census to you here.

The Next American Dream And The Next Australian Dream

Allison Arieff writes in a NYT blog about the American Dream: Phase II. The American Dream, as it unsurprisingly turns out, is the same as the Australian Dream. Or rather more accurately I'm sure, the other way around. A big house, a piece of land, 2.5 kids, a dog, a couple of cars and whatever brand new item needs to be consumed. 

Allison writes:
We’ve built more houses than we’ve needed — and built them farther away from jobs. This has led to longer commutes, which has created more traffic. In response, we built more highways, increasing fuel consumption and, as transportation planners acknowledge, doing little if anything to reduce traffic. It’s a vicious, seemingly endless cycle, and at its core is the notion that the American dream can exist only within the framework of the single-family home on a large lot.
 Luckily, it seems, things are slowly beginning to change in America, argues Allison, people are becoming more interested in the communities surrounding them than the amount of hummers their carport fits. But not everyone is interested (or stands to profit from) such a change...

Read on.

Minister Amps Up Fishermans Bend, E-Gate and Richmond Station

The Victorian Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy (rumoured as being groomed to replace Baillieu come next election), has just announced that he will be implementing Amendment VC92 to the Victorian Planning Provisions which will:

Specifically reference Fishermans Bend, E-Gate and Richmond Railway Station as areas for mixed use urban renewal.
"This puts Fishermans Bend, E-Gate and Richmond Station in the same category as the CBD, Southbank and Docklands," Mr Guy said.
"We are providing a clear planning framework to designate these as areas for major urban renewal and this move signifies to the community and industry that we are serious about advancing these proposals, and that rezoning will progress as soon as possible.
"Fishermans Bend will be Australia's first inner city urban growth area. The Coalition Government is providing opportunities for Melburnians to live in both inner city locations and suburban locations," Mr Guy said.

Amidst the debate about the recent massive expansion of the now absurdly named 'Urban Growth Boundary',  Mr Guy is also ramping up inner-city renewal precincts.

Like greenfield expansion, a political benefit of this grey/brownfield renewal is that no one currently lives there and therefore people don't get too worked up about it (likely with the notable exception of Richmond Station).

But can we really blame the Minister? The recently released Census data shows that Melbourne's growth is as strong as ever, set to surpass Sydney within 15 years. And people have to live somewhere. It's just a shame that the emphasis appears to be fading from Activity Centres toward these isolated renewal areas, and the urban fringe.

Read the Media Release here.

Some more Census news here.

UPDATE: Today's Financial Review also has mention of 'light rail routes' going into Fisherman's Bend, and a continuation of Collins Street tram across a new bridge.

Amazing Use of Public Steps

This is another one of those ideas that makes so much sense once you see it that you can't believe it's never been done before. Found on the aptly-named Urbanfunscape. Not much more need be said other than 'look at the picture'. From here.

25 Awesome and Unusual Bike Racks

Bike racks are functional things. They need to be secure, easy to use, and allow bikes to lean up against them without falling over. Ideally they cannot be 'cut' and they should require at minimum a blowtorch to get through.

To date, at least in Australian capital cities, the objective seems to be to make them as unobtrusive as possible. Like any good utilitarian design they should perform their function and be otherwise invisible in the public realm.

But hey, that's boring as hell. Why not use them to do something mad with, and enliven what may otherwise be a dull street. Cyclists are happy just to have any kind of rack that works.

So, in that spirit, here is 25 photos of the most insane bike racks that Flavorwire could pull together.

Read/View on.