Australia is the only western liberal democracy without a national bill of human rights, which makes talking about human rights all the more important today. Part of my job at Amnesty International is to work with volunteers all around the country who work with students in schools, universities and different youth communities to educate and inspire activism around our human rights work. Put simply, it’s about talking with young people every day about human rights, and why they are important.
Getting housing density and height right is a creative urban design exercise. There are some general “rules of thumb”, which I will try to cover later, but often what works on one site won’t work on another. What works for private housing may not work for social or assisted housing. What works near a railway station may not work 200 metres away. The right answer is not “rocket science” – it comes from a creative interaction between a community familiar with all options, and skilled architects/urban designers committed to working with that community. In the Sydney region there are good examples of nearly all density/height variations – people need to speak with real knowledge of them.
Sydney, more than most cities in the world, has a rich cosmopolitan mix of different cultures. Just look at the variety of restaurants from Asia, Europe, South America or Africa along main streets like King Street in Newtown. This enhancing mixture of cultures has led to Sydney becoming a more cosmopolitan place, with a greater diversity of where people want to live. Our predominantly suburban model is now being complemented by more urban models with 25.8 per cent of Sydney households now living in apartments.
As traditional cities grew from villages into cities they grew denser; most people walked. Sydney was the same with a cluster of walkable inner terraced suburbs. Transportation enabled the spread of the city, but also increased the social and physical consequences. The car was a bad move as the city exploded particularly after WW2, and travel times remained the same, or increased.
When my beloved grandmother died, she was a month short of her 94th birthday. It was a solemn and sorrowful day, but overwhelmingly it was a huge relief – for me, for everyone else who cared for and/or about her, and most of all for Gran herself.
Forty-six years ago, in 1967, a diverse group of residents and community leaders were inspired to work together to establish a locally based community service. Beginning as a branch of the Good Neighbour Council with 30 members, South Sydney Community Aid began with the support of local residents, city councillors, the federal MHR, Jim Cope, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Orthodox and Anglican churches with support from the sisters of Catholic schools.
The proposed constitutional changes to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples require extensive grassroots and community discussion, urges Dr Tom Calma, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.
As our jet banked left to land at Lahore airport, I was feeling a little like Tin Tin on one of his exotic travel adventures about to turn into a mystery thriller. Watching Zero Dark Thirty on the flight from Sydney was, in hindsight, not a wise choice to inspire confidence. I was beginning to wonder whether I should have listened to those advising against accepting the invitation to visit a school in Hafizabad that the Barkat Foundation, of which I am a board member, has been supporting for five years.
April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day, an opportunity to celebrate and be involved in helping raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Peak body, the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders, partners with other organisations such as Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to host a number of activities and events.
City making is everybody’s responsibility. It is a civic responsibility and not just the responsibility of the government, planners, architects, developers and builders. It is a civic responsibility because we all have to live in or with what is built in our neighbourhoods.