BOM: 2019 was the hottest summer ever

This summer has been truly exceptional. The warmest summer on record. There have been fires, floods, heatwaves, cyclones, dust storms and snow. Now, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says there is little relief on the way this autumn.

Key points:

  • 2018/2019 was the hottest summer on record

  • Above average autumn temperatures expected throughout

  • Dry autumn expected for eastern Australia

The BOM's autumn outlook has been released and it confirms all of the things we didn't want to hear:

  • summer broke the temperature record;

  • apart from the flooding rains in Queensland it was very dry;

  • autumn is looking warm and dry in the east; and

  • the autumn break could be delayed.

Click on the image to access the ABC report .

Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros

Smart Growth America/LOCUS released Foot Traffic Ahead 2019, a report which ranks the 30 largest metros in the United States based on the percentage of office, retail, and rental multi-family space each has in their walkable urban places.

The report powerfully illustrates the price premiums investors and buyers are willing to pay to live or work in walkable, transit-connected neighborhoods—and why we urgently need to build more of them.

Click on the image to go to Smart Growth America, to download the report.

Compound Costs: How Climate Change is Damaging Australia's Economy

The Climate Council’s report, ‘Compound Costs: How Climate Change is Damaging Australia’s Economy’, finds there are few forces affecting the Australian economy that can match the scale, persistence and systemic risk associated with climate change.

Australia’s financial regulators have recently made a call for action to deal with climate change, with the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission citing risks posed by climate change as a central concern for the economy and financial stability.

As the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia noted, the risks that climate change poses to the Australian economy are “ first order” and have knock-on implications for macroeconomic policy (Debelle 2019).

Click on the image to download the report.

Business and Practice Management Systems Survey Results

Management for Design and the Association of Consulting Architects (ACA) have recently conducted our second independent survey of Business and Practice Management Systems used by, and available to, Architects, Engineers and Consultants in the Australian marketplace. This is the only comprehensive survey of this information undertaken in Australia with the actual users.

As you are aware there are a myriad of business and practice management systems available to your business and the industry to manage your finances, projects, clients and documents. Currently there is minimal independent information describing the effectiveness of these systems and minimal expert assistance regarding making the right choice for you and your business.

The purpose of the survey is to research and assess the functionality, effectiveness and importantly the use of the various business systems used in practice. The results are a summary of the actual users experience and we hope to assist you to make a more informed decision around what’s right for your business. The work involved:

• Investigating the technologies available in Australia

• Formulating and distributing the market survey

• Collaboration with the Association of Consulting Architects

• Analysing the results of the extensive market survey.

We have collated the results of over 210 businesses across Australia varying in size from 2 people to over 500 people—an increase of 20% on last year. Thanks to those of you that provided responses to the survey.

Click on the image to access the report.

Physical activity-related health and economic benefits of building walkable neighbourhoods: a modelled comparison between brownfield and greenfield developments, Feb 2019

By Belén Zapata-Diomedi, Claire Boulangé, Billie Giles-Corti, Kath Phelan, Simon Washington, J. Lennert Veerman and Lucy Dubrelle Gunn


A consensus is emerging in the literature that urban form can impact health by either facilitating or deterring physical activity (PA). However, there is a lack of evidence measuring population health and the economic benefits relating to alternative urban forms. We examined the issue of housing people within two distinct types of urban development forms: a medium-density brownfield development in an established area with existing amenities (e.g. daily living destinations, transit), and a low-density suburban greenfield development. We predicted the health and economic benefits of a brownfield development compared with a greenfield development through their influence on PA.


We combined a new Walkability Planning Support System (Walkability PSS) with a quantitative health impact assessment model. We used the Walkability PSS to estimate the probability of residents’ transport walking, based on their exposure to urban form in the brownfield and greenfield developments. We developed the underlying algorithms of the Walkability PSS using multi-level multivariate logistic regression analysis based on self-reported data for transport walking from the Victorian Integrated Survey of Transport and Activity 2009–10 and objectively measured urban form in the developments. We derived the difference in transport walking minutes per week based on the probability of transport walking in each of the developments and the average transport walking time per week among those who reported any transport walking. We then used the well-established method of the proportional multi-cohort multi-state life table model to translate the difference in transport walking minutes per week into health and economic benefits.


If adult residents living in the greenfield neighbourhood were instead exposed to the urban development form observed in a brownfield neighbourhood, the incidence and mortality of physical inactivity-related chronic diseases would decrease. Over the life course of the exposed population (21,000), we estimated 1600 health-adjusted life years gained and economic benefits of A$94 million.


Our findings indicate that planning policies that create walkable neighbourhoods with access to shops, services and public transport will lead to substantial health and economic benefits associated with reduced incidence of physical inactivity related diseases and premature death.


Meeting the needs of the next generation of home buyers and renters, Dec 2018

To address the housing shortage and ensure that the housing stock deficit is erased the UK needs to build 340,000 new homes every year until 2031. As such, the residential construction sector is under increasing pressure to build the volume of homes the country so desperately needs, which will require not only meeting but exceeding the Government’s current pledge to build 300,000 new homes annually. It’s also critical that these homes meet the needs and demands of future homeowners. 

To gain insight into this, Eurocell surveyed 1,000 25-40-year old renters and home owners to investigate their views on the subject. Respondents were asked questions on a wide range of issues including their home ownership prospects, attitudes towards sustainability credentials in future homes, views on building design, the impact of homes on their wellbeing, as well as their views on how homes could be made more affordable. Following this, Eurocell asked experts from Simpson Haugh, Hawkins Brown, BDP and The High Street Group to analyse the findings and provide insight into the trends that they are currently seeing in the market. 

Insight to action: the future of the professional services industry, 2018


The professional services sector is in a state of flux. While globally the sector continues to grow, competition has intensified and margins have gotten tighter. Suppliers no longer have the monopoly on specialized knowledge they once had and corporate buyers want “more for less”. Emerging technologies are upending traditional delivery models and signal more disruption to come.

To explore these issues we surveyed 700 senior decision-makers from professional services companies around the world, distilling the results in our latest report Insight to action: the future of the professional services industry. Most respondents said they felt concerned by this more challenging business environment and unprepared for the future.

Recommended by:

Rachael Bernstone of Sounds Like Design

Good design: it all adds up, RIBA, 2011


What is the value of architecture? Is it worth the expense? Is design dispensable?

As expenditure on construction schemes of all kinds, from schools to hospitals to regeneration projects, comes under the microscope, we hear these questions more and more.

Maybe design has become synonymous with luxury and the high street, and its role in making ordinary objects desirable and expensive has overshadowed that of making things and places safe, understandable, durable, energy-efficient and affordable.

The evidence assembled here counters the argument that design is a luxury in the production of the built environment, especially in straitened times.

What this report brings to light is the true value of good architecture. Design that resolves problems and answers needs will pay for itself over a building’s lifetime. Good architecture has its price. But bad architecture – or no architecture at all – will cost you more.

We summarise the research assessing the value of good design; include case studies that provide the evidence of good practice; and show how clients and those who live and work in a building can get the most out of it when it is created together with an architect.

Recommended by:

Rachael Bernstone of Sounds Like Design 

Buildings and spaces: why design matters, CABE, 2005


This brochure examines the impact of good design on a range of measures including housing, hospitals, schools, community facilities, urban design and the economy. It references it’s assertions with a bibliography containing links to further research. 

Recommended by: 

Rachael Bernstone of Sounds Like Design