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Posts from the ‘Locale is Aus’ Category

We must plan the driverless city to avoid being hostage to the technology revolution

The Conversation, 28 April 2017
Trials of autonomous cars and buses have begun on the streets of Australian cities. Communications companies are moving to deploy the lasers, cameras and centimetre-perfect GPS that will enable a vehicle to navigate the streets of your town or city without a driver. Most research and commentary is telling us how the new machines will work, but not how they might shape our cities. The talk is of the benefits of new shared transport economies, but these new technologies will shape our built environment in ways that are not yet fully understood. There’s every chance that, if mismanaged, driverless technologies will entrench the ills of car dependency. As with Uber and the taxi industry, public sector planners and regulators will be forced to respond to the anger of those displaced by the new products the IT and automobile industries will bring to the market. But can we afford to wait?
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Cities are complex systems – let’s start looking at them that way

The Conversation, 26 April 2017
The way we design our cities needs a serious rethink. After thousands of years of progress in urban development, we plateaued some 60 years ago. Cities are not safer, healthier, more efficient, or more equitable. They are getting worse on these measures. The statistics on chronic disease, rising road tolls and congestion in our urban environments paint a bleak future. The clues to why lie in how we think about and design our cities.
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Rooftop solar now Queensland’s biggest power station

RE neweconomy, 12 April 2017
The 1,805MW of solar PV capacity on the rooftops of Queensland homes and business now amount to be the biggest power station by capacity in the state, overtaking the 1,780MW of the Gladstone coal fired power station.
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Where are they now? What public transport data reveal about lockout laws and nightlife patronage

The Conversation, 11 April 2017
It is vital that public policy be driven by rigorous research. In the last decade key policy changes have had profound impacts on nightlife in Sydney’s inner city and suburbs. The most significant and controversial of these has been the 2014 “lockout laws”. These were a series of legislative and regulatory policies aimed at reducing alcohol-related violence and disorder through new criminal penalties and key trading restrictions, including 1.30am lockouts and a 3am end to service in select urban “hotspots”.
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Andrew Leigh urges NSW government to support Canberra to Sydney high-speed train

Canberra Times, 11 April 2017
Federal MP Dr Andrew Leigh is urging the NSW government to support a high-speed railway proposal between Canberra and Sydney. The proposal, put forward by Spanish manufacturing company Talgo, could slash the rail travel time between the two cities from four hours to just two and a half hours.
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Australian gas: between a fracked rock and a socially hard place

The Conversation, 10 April 2017
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s response to the looming east coast gas shortage has been to secure a promise from gas producers to increase domestic supply.
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How do we restore the public’s faith in transport planning?

The Conversation, 5 April 2017
Opposition to proposed road projects has become a feature of state and federal elections. In Western Australia, protests against the Roe Highway Stage 8 escalated just before Christmas 2016. On the eve of the state election, Main Roads WA contractors (acting at the behest of the then Liberal-National government) pushed forward with the destruction of the environmentally significant Beeliar wetlands. This happened despite considerable community opposition. The Labor opposition, now the newly elected government, declared it would halt the construction if elected.
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Elevated cycling freeway for Melbourne’s speedy commuters

The Age, 2 April 2017
An elevated cycling freeway will be built above Footscray Road, transporting cyclists faster into Melbourne’s CBD. The 2.5-kilometre “veloway” will sit underneath a future road flyover over Footscray Road and is designed for serious commuters, bypassing a number of traffic lights.
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Could tiny houses help solve Australia’s affordable housing crisis?

The Guardian, 30 March 2017
It’s the long weekend. You get a few friends together, crack open some beers, watch a YouTube video. And build a house. Yup. That’s all it takes to make one of the world’s first DIY flat-packed homes, according to Sydney-based architect Alexander Symes. “First day, you assemble panels. Second day, install them. Third day, plug and play all the appliances,” says the Big World Homes founder. “You don’t need experts but you do need enthusiasm – if you’re someone who likes putting together Ikea, then that’s perfect.”
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The real reason our power companies block battery systems

Brisbane Times, 29 March 2017
If you’re wondering why battery storage is still on the fringe of the energy debate in Australia, and why power prices are high, just ask Dr Tony Marxsen, the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). He made it plain earlier this week the big power companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on quick start power stations, so-called “gas peakers” and they aren’t going to be giving up their sway over the market any time soon: they want to make sure they get a return on their money.
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