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19. Secret Life of a Degree

The Sydney Bachelor of Architecture degree has a lively history. It was open to men and women from its first offering in 1918, but the inclusion of women was controversial. In 1972 a student strike shut down the school for two weeks; students demanded the degree be remade. "In 1926... the University of Sydney put forward Marjorie [Holroyde nee] Hudson, a female student, for the award; and this really set the cat amongst the pigons. And the document we have from the Board of Architects...


18. Working With a Street

Imagine building a life size (1:1 scale) model of your urban design right there on the street to communicate and test your design ideas with local communities. This is exactly what Evelina Ozola and her Fine Young Urbanists colleague Toms Kokins did in Latvia with the tools of tactical urbanism. Evelina wants architects, urbanists and designers to be more proactive in their practice, and to engage more directly with issues concerning the spatial environment and communities in cities. "We...


17. Becoming a Utopian

The utopian visions of architects, planners, philosophers and sociologists are important speculative projects. We take a deep dive into the idea of utopia with Professor Danilo Palazzo, who calls on us to become utopians. “We are all utopians, as soon as we wish for something different and stop playing the part of the faithful performer or watchdog”, argued Henri Lefebvre. Cities have often been used as the laboratory for the imaginations of better futures. Such thinking recognises that...


16. Urban Renewal and Cities

What role does the government play in facilitating displacement through transit-led development? We often hear about the role of the private sector, private landlords, and the purchasing power of individual real estate buyers in urban renewal, gentrification and displacement debates. The planning of new transit systems and overheating housing markets has renewed interest in understanding the role of government in neighbourhood change, specifically in the context of gentrification and...


15. Parks and Cities

In New York, where anything’s possible, the privatisation of Manhattan's Central Park is even stranger than fiction. I imagine that few people would choose to travel back in time to visit the run down and quite frankly often dangerous Central Park of 1970s Manhattan. But many people don't realise that a casual and relatively safe stroll through Central Park today has come at significant cost to the park’s maintenance workers. "My dream is to have the park system privatised and run entirely...


14. City Boom, City Bust

Australian cities are awash with construction activity. From Collingwood to Kogarah, Marrickville to Newstead, every passing month seems to bring with it a new, sold-off-the-plan high-rise apartment tower. Real estate, it seems, is the true national sport. Australia now hosts the world’s most active market for securitised home loans and has the world’s second highest, and rising, levels of household debt. There are reportedly more cranes in the east coast capital cities than all of North...


13. Pop Up Cities

Pop-up, Guerrilla, DIY or Tactical Urbanism; whatever the name, temporary urban interventions are increasingly popular in contemporary cities. From community gardens and pop-up cinemas to outdoor art installations and mobile libraries, pop-up urbanism can take many forms. Much of the discussion about pop-up urbanism is celebratory in tone, highlighting the ways in which these transient practices are putting on display alternative lifestyles, reoccupying urban space with new uses, or...


12. Antagonistic Cities

What are the possibilities for community action that hold powerful urban actors to account? Strategic antagonism and the spaces that community alliances are opening up themselves to engage with urban development might hold the answer. It is not only urban planners and the formal planning system that shape the way residents contribute to the planning of their city. In Sydney, local resident action groups and other urban alliances are working beyond the market-centred urban planning system...


11. Automated Landlord

This is a story about how the financial industry and governments turned a housing foreclosure crisis for everyday Americans into a financial opportunity for institutional real estate investors. And like all good stories, it involves the management of the new post-GFC housing asset class with digital technologies and algorithms. Say hello to The Automated Landlord. We talk to Desiree Fields about a new housing asset class that emerged from other side of the GFC in the United States. The...


10. History and Cities

In Washington, DC, neighbourhood activists attempted to make themselves at home in their city by using the techniques of neighbourhood preservation. What became clear in that process is that those who control the historical narrative about a neighbourhood often have the power to shape its character and identity. We talk to Cameron Logan, author of Historic Capital: Preservation, Race and Real Estate in Washington, DC., about the fragility of history and the battles over the past in the US....


9. Land and Cities

What is the secret life of land title registration? The Torrens system of land title registration, developed in South Australia in 1858, is fast becoming the most popular system of land conveyancing and administration around the world. Sarah Keenan discusses the Torrens system of title registration that was invented for South Australia to assist the project of colonial settlement and land speculation. It was designed to increase efficiency of conveyancing, but title registration...


3. Foreign Investment & Cities

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Chinese are the only foreign investors buying housing in Sydney and Melbourne. There has certainly been a lot of stories about foreign real estate investment in Australia in the news lately. Often, this news is about Chinese investment in housing. In this episode of City Road Podcast we talk with University of Sydney PhD scholar Sha Liu, who has been digging into the patchy data to find out just how much foreign investment in Australian housing...