Trend Watch December 2021

Making a city sloth-friendly:

By Sarah Holder

“A conservation foundation in Costa Rica is trying to help the tree-dwelling mammals survive rapid urbanisation by building road crossings,” writes Sarah Holder for Bloomberg CityLab.

As a result of rapid population and infrastructure growth in Costa Rica, many sloth populations have been all but eliminated. Costa Rica’s Sloth Conservation Foundation founder, Rebecca Cliffe, says it’s not too late to protect the slow creatures, “We’ve got such a good opportunity in this region to try and achieve this coexistence and balance … There’s still a chance to reverse the damage and do things the right way.”

The ideal habitat for a sloth, she says, is “a dense forest canopy, which well-camouflaged animals can navigate without drawing attention to themselves or running into ground-dwelling predators.”

Rapid urbanisation, cars, and infrastructure have left a thinning canopy, encroaching on their habitat and putting sloths at risk. “As pedestrians, sloths do not walk as much as ooze, inching forward commando-style with their bellies to the ground.”

The Sloth Conservation Foundation is working to help make changing urban spaces safe and navigable for sloths through initiatives including “stringing rope above roads that sloths can traverse by their signature crawl in just three minutes flat.”

The foundation has built more than 130 sloth crossings so far, as well as working with local custodians and contractors to ensure that infrastructure is sloth-proofed and safe paths are available for the creatures to traverse their changing habitat.

Read the full story in CityLab.


How our cities work – essential lessons from lockdown:

By Matt Wade

New research on the demographics of essential workers in Australia’s largest cities casts a stark light on geographic and gender inequalities, writes Matt Wade for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Essential workers are employed “across health and social services, education, freight and delivery, transport, police and emergency services, logistics, construction and some retail,” and make up 45% of the workforce in Australian capital cities.

They are exposed to greater risk of contracting Covid-19 in their workplaces, and through travelling to work. According to a study by consultancy SGS Economics and Planning, most essential workers in Sydney and Melbourne live in outer metropolitan growth areas where housing is more affordable – these regions also recorded a high share of infections during the 2021 Delta outbreak. Sydney’s west and south-west also experienced the most stringent lockdown restrictions.

In parts of Melbourne and Sydney around 60% of workers are in an essential job while in some inner suburbs of both cities the share is below 30 per cent, Matt writes. “The upshot? The property market dynamics of Sydney and Melbourne has been closely linked to the geography of the pandemic.”

The analysis also revealed a stark contrast between the types of jobs male and female essential workers do. Around 60% of male essential workers were employed in traditional industrial workplaces, such as factories, transport, logistics and construction. And 53% of female essential workers were employed in health and education – jobs highly exposed to Covid-19.

Researcher Alison Holloway said the study shows that cities are “not experienced the same by men and women, and in public policy if we are not looking at things with a gendered lens we’re missing a lot of the story.”

Wade also points to a disparity in access to job hubs for those living in outer suburbs—especially women. Holloway’s research indicates that “women consistently have higher levels of tertiary education than males in metropolitan areas but earn less than men in the same locations… this gap is much larger for women in growth areas.”

She suggests that because caring and family responsibilities tend to fall on women, they are taking jobs that they are overqualified for, because they are close to home – “in purely economic terms that’s wasted productivity,” she says.

Read the full story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Image: Sydney Morning Herald.

make an enquiry

Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

enquire now

recent news

Join Us For Tea Time (via Zoom)

Take a quick (and educational) tea break with us! Customers are invited to book in a 10-minute Zoom chat to learn about new products. Presentations are guaranteed no longer than 10-minutes plus Q&A. Choose from: New Linea additions (recommended). Wood Without Worry. Or request a custom presentation. Each participant will receive a T2 gift box (optional). Book by contacting us on, or via the button below. Win a Georg Stool by Skagerak Tea Time bookings for Australian customers from 2 November 2021 will go into a draw for a chance to win an iconic Georg Stool by Scandinavian designer Skagerak, valued at $615. The prize will be drawn on 1 April 2022 and the winner notified by email. Ts and Cs: Presentations must be done by 1 April 2022. For customers based in …

  • 25 sep 2020
read more

In Profile: Kylie Legge, CEO of Place Score

A leading voice in placemaking, Kylie Legge is an architecture graduate, planner, place maker, author, facilitator, curator and entrepreneur. She is founding Director of Place Partners, a multidisciplinary placemaking consultancy based in Sydney, Australia and Place Score – the world’s first place experience measurement company. How did you get started and find your unique career pathway? My career has tended to veer off the beaten track. I’ve never been too worried about what other people think and am risk-hungry. I’m also interested in disruption – looking for better ways of doing things. At 23 as an architecture grad I talked my way into an internship at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I lived a double life, working in a dive bar by night and at the most …

  • 26 apr 2022
read more

Book launch: CM+ celebrates 40 years of …urban thinking

Bill Morrison and Darrel Conybeare, co-founders and directors of Street Furniture Australia, are celebrating 40 years of design practice with their architecture and urban design studio, CM+. The two young architects, shaped by formative experiences in the US and UK working with major players such as Eames, William Holford & Partners and the Farrell/Grimshaw Partnership – started their own venture in 1980 to shape cities through the still-fledgling practice of urban design. Their work includes the redesign of Macquarie Street and Circular Quay in Sydney for the 1988 Bicentennial, designing prominent Canberra spaces such as City Walk, universities in China and Kuching Waterfront in Malaysia. Bill and Darrel’s philosophy considers how a design might discover a the urban pulse and heritage of a city, reveal its urban character, and recognise …

  • 19 may 2022
read more

related news

Trend Watch October 2021

Students could have a field day with more outdoor learning: “Australian students typically spend over 10,000 hours during their adolescence in schools” – despite this, the schoolyard hasn’t traditionally been viewed as a space to improve student wellbeing, writes Gweneth Leigh for the Sydney Morning Herald. The return to classrooms in the wake of COVID-19 has prompted an urgent need for schools around the world to create learning spaces that are well-ventilated and socially distanced. Outdoor learning has proven to be an innovative and simple answer to this dilemma.  “For some this meant clustering picnic tables together, building shade structures, adding trees, gardens, even yoga circles and mountain bike trails”- varied, resourceful outdoor classrooms have had a distinctively positive impact, they report. Studies have revealed that greening school grounds helps …

  • 1 nov 2021
read more

Trend Watch September 2021

Cities for “small men” – gender and urban planning: In The City for “Small men” – mode, median or just plain mean? Claire Martin, landscape architect and Associate Director of OCULUS’ Melbourne studio, outlines gender sensitive thinking concepts and methodologies for urban planning. In the world of medicine, until relatively recently the World Bank reports that “medication doses [were] typically adjusted for patient size with women considered ‘small men’” – Martin writes that “despite women, girls, and sexual and gender diverse people making up over 50% of the world’s population, it seems Western planning, like medicine, has had a similarly blinkered view of men as the locus for the universal model.” “While gender inequality impacts people of all ages and backgrounds looking at the person specifically, not typically, is paramount …

  • 12 oct 2021
read more

Trend Watch August 2021

New concept to see older women live together to avoid homelessness, loneliness: Older women are recognised as the fastest-growing cohort of homeless people in Australia, writes Dea Clark for ABC News, as they struggle to find affordable housing. With a soaring rental market and no hope of owning their own homes, Dea tells the stories of women who are turning to a newly formed foundation Sharing With Friends, which aims to provide the opportunity to buy into custom-built shared housing. The prototype, designed by Eloise Atkinson, will fit on an 800-square-metre suburban block of land provided by the charity. Five women will each invest $120,000 to pay for the construction of the accommodation consisting of five private living quarters, a communal laundry, library and garden. Eloise Atkinson told the ABC the challenge …

  • 25 aug 2021
read more