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Victoria is well behind OECD best practice when it comes to its public transport operations according to Professor Bill Russell, Deputy Director of the Australasian Centre for the Governance and Management of Urban Transport (GAMUT).

"Melbourne has a fairly unusual system of public transport operations through franchising,” he says. “The OECD doesn't think it’s a good system, the public doesn’t think its a good system.  The OECD says public transport should either be publicly operated, or operated on the basis of specific gross contracts.  The best practice examples in Australia are in Perth and Brisbane with 100% public operation, and so it’s quite an ‘odd-man-out’ situation in Victoria."

"This is the last roll of the dice, and the Brumby Government must deliver effective public transport during the life of these contracts."

Professor Russell also warned against expectations that the new operators will make an immediate positive impact.  "Connex had a lot of problems and were unable to provide reliable service, and it would be very optimistic to think that another operator can simply walk in with existing tracks, rolling stock and system design and accomplish the kind of performance that is being experienced in Hong Kong for example."

"It's a high risk bet by the Brumby Government.  It's betting a lot that this re-franchising will be successful and deliver the kind of public transport system people want."

The roles existing cities and buildings have to play in a carbon free future are the central debate in a new Masters of Architecture Design Studio exhibition, to officially open tomorrow night.

Melbourne suburb design is in need of a rethink according to Professor Philip Goad from the Melbourne School of Design.

Fixing the planning system in Victoria requires more than “discussion”, says Dr Carolyn Whitzman.

Increasing Melbourne’s housing density along its major tram lines would help achieve the planning goals of Melbourne 2030 according to Dr Carolyn Whitzman at the University of Melbourne. 

“The plan would add a lot of certainty, because right now decisions are being made council by council about what maximum heights are going to be, while this plan is talking about a maximum height of 8 stories. Studies in Europe and North America show that if you increase density, you also increase services."

"So building along tram lines can lead to more trams more often, better shopping, more taxes to get better parks and recreation centres and so on.”


The spread of integrated technology in buildings is helping to make living and working conditions more comfortable, as David Scott explains.

Australia’s peak architectural and design index, covering more than 50 000 items, will be easier to access following the launch of a digitised web edition.

The integrated approach to combining architecture and advanced engineering will be the focus of an upcoming lecture by world-renowned architect, Winston Shu.

Post-tsunami architecture in Indonesia has largely abandoned the construction traditions of locals in favour of rapid scale production, according to a new research proposal being completed by two University of Melbourne academics.