Social cities

by Jane-Frances Kelly

Humans are social animals: relationships are critical to our wellbeing. Indeed, a lack of face-to-face contact can put our health at risk. This report looks at ways to make cities better places to live by increasing our opportunities to connect with other people.

It examines how the design and functioning of a city – from transport networks to the availability of parks and sporting grounds to the architecture of public spaces and buildings – can help bring people together or keep them apart.

It shows that even modest and inexpensive changes, such as installing benches at the edge of a public area or converting an unused lot into a ‘pocket park’, can make urban spaces more welcoming.

Australian cities are expected to keep growing for the foreseeable future. If they are to absorb more residents and improve quality of life for all, then it is essential that cities provide for our social as well as our material needs.

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