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new media & society (2017)
Wyatt, D., Mcquire, S., & Butt, D.
Australia is currently rolling out one of the most expensive and ambitious infrastructure projects in the nation’s history. The National Broadband Network is promoted as a catalyst for far-reaching changes in Australia’s economy, governmental service provision, society and culture. However, it is evident that desired dividends, such as greater social engagement, enhanced cultural awareness and increased civic and political participation, do not flow automatically from mere technical connection to the network. This article argues that public institutions play a vital role in redistributing technological capacity to enable emerging forms of social and cultural participation. In particular, we examine public libraries as significant but often overlooked sites in the evolving dynamic between digital technology, new cultural practices and social relations. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork across the public library network of the state of Queensland, we attend to the strategies and approaches libraries are adopting in response to a digital culture.
City & Community (2015)
Shanthi Robertson & Val Colic-Peisker
This paper presents a comparative case study of two northern suburbs in Melbourne, Australia, in order to analyze local perceptions of proximity, mobility, and spaces of community interaction within diverse neighborhoods experiencing socioeconomic and demographic transition. We first look at government policies concerning the two suburbs, which position one suburb within a narrative of gentrification and the other within a narrative of marginalization. We then draw on diverse residents’ experiences and perceptions of local space, finding that these “everyday geographies” operate independently of and often at odds with local policy narratives of demographic and socioeconomic transition. We conclude that residents’ “everyday geographies” reveal highly varied and contested experiences of sociospatial dimensions of local change, in contrast to policy narratives that are often neoliberally framed.
Foster, S., Knuiman, M., Wood, L., & Giles-Corti, B.
Strategies that reduce fear of crime may contribute to improved health outcomes; however interventions require a better understanding of the neighbourhood correlates of both emotional responses to crime (i.e., fear of crime) and cognitive assessments of crime (i.e., perceived crime risk). This study explored the association between objective measures of suburban design and two safety outcomes: perceived crime risk and fear of crime, for participants who lived in new suburban housing developments in Perth, Western Australia. The characteristics of a walkable neighbourhood, particularly retail land, were associated with less fear of crime, but greater perceived crime risk. One interpretation is that ‘strangers’, attracted to the neighbourhood by diverse land-uses, might influence the emotional and cognitive as- pects of ‘fear of crime’ differently. Researchers interested in the impact of the built environment on ‘fear of crime’, and any subsequent influence of these perceptions on health, should be mindful that the environment appears to impact these constructs differently.
French, S. et al.
We investigated the influence of neighborhood built form on sense of community in Perth, Western Australia. It was hypothesized that sense of community would be stronger in individuals living in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Multivariate linear regression models explored associations between walking and sense of community, with progressive adjustment for objective and perceived neighborhood characteristics. Sense of community was positively associated with walking for transport and positive perceptions of neighborhood quality, and negatively associated with residential density. The findings highlight the influence of local area perceptions on sense of community that appeared to be more important than objective environment characteristics. However, the latter may influence perceptions, and this requires investigation.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2011)
Foster, S., Giles-Corti, B., & Knuiman, M.
There is growing evidence that residents are more likely to walk in attractive neighbourhoods, and that negative visual cues can deter residents from engaging in physical activity. This study explored the premise that house design and upkeep could inhibit the incidence of physical disorder in suburban streets, thus contributing to a more pleasant walking environment for pedestrians. Street segments (n 1⁄4 443) in new residential developments (n 1⁄4 61) in Perth, Western Australia, were audited for house attributes that facilitate natural surveillance (e.g., porch/verandah) or indicate territoriality (e.g., garden/ lawn upkeep), and physical incivilities. A composite index of street-level house attributes yielded highly significant associations with disorder (trend test p 1⁄4 0.001) and graffiti (trend test p 1⁄4 0.005), signifying that the cumulative effect of several key attributes had greater potential to discourage incivilities in the street than any single characteristic. The findings suggest house design and upkeep may contribute to the creation of safe, inviting streets for pedestrians.
Social & Cultural Geography (2002)
The ‘problem’ of skating has been conflated with a ‘problem’ with young people in public spaces, reflecting a rise in fear of crime from the mid-twentieth century and referencing more general questions about public space and citizenship. My task in this paper is to highlight some of the tensions between skating and urban governance in Franklin Square, Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania in Australia. This task is indebted to ideas about governance and citizenship advanced by Nikolas Rose; about the proper city as conceived by Michel de Certeau; and about fortress strategies and species of spaces promulgated by Stephen Flusty. Franklin Square functions in two ways in this work. First, its examination encourages consideration of local cases. Second, it can be deployed as a heuristic device through which to explore the edges of public space and citizenship. The essay is intended to make two contributions to social and cultural geography, one enlarging on some well-rehearsed debates about situated and contested socio-spatial relations in what I hope are innovative ways, the other unsettling particular strategies that place skaters ‘on the edge’ and yet draw them into particular domains of citizenship via specific practices of urban governance.
Journal of the American Planning Association (1995)
In the 1970s, the Dutch city of Delft adopted a new residential street layout. Its fundamental concept was the antithesis of the notion of segregating pedestrians and vehicles. It emphasized integration of traffic and pedestrian activity as a positive principle for street planning. The shared street approach was later systematized by local agencies and given legal status by the national government. This new concept has drawn global attention, and similar street designs are appearing not only in Europe, but also in Japan, Australia, and Israel. The shared street concept's adaptability to different countries and societies reinforces its status as a valid, flexible choice for residential street layouts. Studies and surveys of shared streets in these countries have found considerable reductions in traffic accidents, increased social interaction and play, and a high degree of satisfaction by the residents. The available data and the successful implementation of the shared street in other countries can foster its acceptance in the United States. In particular, shared streets could be a workable alternative to the prevailing street layouts in new suburban subdivisions.
The British Journal of Sociology (2011)
Homelessness has been a perennial concern for sociologists. It is a confronting phenomenon that can challenge western notions of home, a discrete family unit and the ascetics and order of public space. To be without a home and to reside in public places illustrates both an intriguing way of living and some fundamental inadequacies in the functioning of society. Much homelessness research has had the consequence of isolating the ‘homeless person’ as distinct category or indeed type of individual.They are ascribed with homeless identities.The homeless identity is not simply presented as one dimensional and defining, but this imposed and ill-fitting identity is rarely informed by a close and long-term engagement with the individuals it is supposed to say something about. Drawing on a recent Australian ethnographic study with people literally without shelter, this article aims to contribute to understandings of people who are homeless by outlining some nuanced and diverse aspects of their identities. It argues that people can and do express agency in the way they enact elements of the self, and the experience of homelessness is simultaneously important and unimportant to understand this. Further, the article suggests that what is presumably known about the homeless identity is influenced by day-to-day lives that are on public display.
International journal of urban and regional research (2009)
Atkinson, R. & Easthope, H.
The idea of ‘creative cities’ has gained prominence amongst urban planners and policymakers who often now find links between economic development and the ‘soft’ attributes of cities. While definitions of the ‘creative industries’ and the ‘creative class’ continue to be contested, many key urban policy actors continue to focus on developing strategic programmes and policies to boost ‘creativity’ and economic growth. In this article we review recent attempts to implement creative city ideas across five Australian state capitals. Following the analysis of interview material derived from contact with 100 key community and policymaker actors, we first develop a typology of approaches to creative city ideas: concerted action, engagement and strategic drift. We then move on to consider how the idea of the creative city provides a simultaneously criticized yet powerful organizing device that informs local strategies in relation to prosperity. Our analysis highlights a series of connected consequences around four key issues: (1) arts projects and gentrification; (2) housing affordability; (3) revanchist strands to public space management; and (4) relative rates of social investment. We find that the rhetoric of universal social potential accompanying creative city ideas continues to overlook those unable to participate in this new economy, as well as those who are more actively excluded.
Farahani, Leila Mahmoudi and David Beynon
This paper reports the findings from a research project that examines the relationship between urban design and the physical environment, and aspects of social and communal life in suburbs. Australian suburbs are perceived to be lacking in vitality and sociability. To address this, three suburban commercial streets were selected for investigation. Through documents and maps of the residents’ activities and behaviour, this study aims to identify the popular zones of activity and investigate the physical characteristics that encourage a sociable atmosphere in activity zones. The observation of activities in the three streets has been registered in tables relative to the date and time of occurrence. According to the behavioural mappings, the zones of activity are mostly shaped around pavement cafes and popular everyday food stores. Since more than half the activities have been observed to be initiated from the pavement cafes, this paper will investigate how the physical qualities of commercial streets such as the width of the pavements, personalization, soft edges and greenery have contributed to the pavement café culture in the selected neighbourhood centres.
Women's Studies International Forum (2005)
Outdoor advertising presents a unique case in that, unlike advertising in other media, an individual’s capacity to avoid exposure is inhibited. Unlike the private world of magazine and television advertising, outdoor advertising is displayed throughout public space, thus making regulation of the medium a pertinent public policy concern. The inescapable nature of outdoor advertising, compounded with the increasingly sexualised display of women within, demands that an active public policy response occurs. This paper draws from the disciplines of criminology, architecture, and feminist geography to argue that the continued sexualised portrayal of women in outdoor advertising works to illustrate and contribute to the social inclusion of men and the social exclusion of women in public space. I argue that these portrayals fuel women’s perceptions of fear and offence, and force them to limit their movements. I further suggest that such portrayals function to amplify masculine control of city spaces and reinforce women’s exclusion.
Australian Planner (2013)
Thomson Susan and Kent Jennifer
A healthy built environment is one which connects citizens together to create a sense of community. These are influential determinants of good mental and physical health. This paper presents an overview of key research on how the built environment supports the development of community as part of creating and sustaining places for health and well-being. Formal public places such as town squares, plazas, parks and gardens cultivate community in numerous ways. Informal public places such as those in between buildings, on the street, at the train station and bus stop are also important for social encounters and interaction. Careful design of open space, neighbourhood streets and buildings can encourage human interaction as part of community creation. Evidence is presented here as a ‘Places Framework’ to illuminate the ways in which place strengthens community. The paper concludes by discussing and critically evaluating policy implications for urban planners and designers. Major gaps in the research are identified and suggestions made for future investigative work to strengthen the evidence for building healthy communities through built environment interventions.
Journal of Urban Design (2011)
There is growing awareness among many city councils that their downtowns or central business districts have become bland or devoid of sufficient cultural activity to attract the highly skilled, creative workforce that is seen as a prerequisite for competitive success. This paper examines a recent set of policy initiatives to have emerged from the City of Sydney Council that has explicitly sought to mitigate the negative design outcomes of earlier phases of modernist office development through the promotion of a ‘finer grain’ urbanism, based around support for small shops and services, civic spaces oriented towards pedestrians and the reinvigoration of intra-block laneways enlivened by small bars and cafes. The noted Danish urban designer Jan Gehl was an important agent in the development of these strategies, along with the success of similar policies in Melbourne, illustrating the significance of globally operative design professionals and inter-city learning. However, these policies have not gone uncontested, and the paper examines the political context that surrounds their implementation in central Sydney.
New media & society (2015)
Liao, T., & Humphreys, L.
As augmented reality (AR) is becoming technologically possible and publicly available through mobile smartphone and tablet devices, there has been relatively little empirical research studying how people are utilizing mobile AR technologies and forming social practices around mobile AR. This study looks at how mobile AR can potentially mediate the everyday practices of urban life. Through qualitative interviews with users of Layar, a mobile AR browser, we found several emerging uses. First, users are creating content on Layar in ways that communicate about and through place, which shapes their relationship and interpretations of places around them. Second, we found a growing segment of users creating augmented content that historicizes and challenges the meanings of place, while inserting their own narratives of place. Studying emerging uses of AR deepens our understanding of how emerging media may complicate practices, experiences, and relationships in the spatial landscape.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2015)
Foster, S., Wood, L., Francis, J., Knuiman, M., Villanueva, K., & Giles-Corti, B.
Declines in children's independent mobility are frequently attributed to parents' fears about stranger danger, yet there is limited understanding of the factors that might aggravate (or ease) these concerns. We examined the social and built environment correlates of parents': (1) fears about strangers harming their child; and (2) perceptions of the likelihood this would actually happen. We also tested whether associations differed by area socio-economic status (SES) as parents in low income neighbourhoods, typically with more crime, may hold greater fears for their children's safety. Results suggest that regardless of SES, neighbourhood features that encouraged pedestrians, whilst minimising vehicle traffic, were most conducive to parents perceiving a safer neighbourhood. The natural surveillance generated by a more walkable neighbourhood may help alleviate parents' fears about strangers.
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (2007)
Paay, J., Dave, B., & Howard, S.
As built environments become increasingly hybrid physical, social, and digital spaces, the intersecting issues of spatial context, sociality, and pervasive digital technologies need to be understood when designing for interactions in these hybrid spaces. Architectural and interaction designers need a mechanism that provides them with an understanding of the `sociality- places-bits' nexus. Using a specific urban setting as an analytical case study, we present a methodology to capture this nexus in a form that designers of hybrid spaces can effectively apply as a tool to augment digitally sociality in a built environment.
URBAN DESIGN International (2009)
Wei Zhang & Gillian Lawson
This paper examines the opportunities for social activities in public outdoor spaces associated with high-density residential living. This study surveyed activities in outdoor spaces outside three high-density residential communities in Brisbane. Results indicated that activity patterns in public outdoor space outside residential communities are different to general urban public outdoor space. This broadly, but not fully, supports current theories concerning activities in public space. That is some environmental factors have impacts on the level of social interaction. The relationship between outdoor space and a residential building may have a significant impact on the level of social activities. As a consequence, a new classification of activities in public space is suggested. In improving the level of social contact in public outdoor space outside a residential community, the challenge is how to encourage people to leave their comfortable homes and spend a short time in these public spaces. For residential buildings and public space to be treated as an integrated whole, the outdoor open spaces close to and surrounding these buildings must have a more welcoming design.