The Fifth Estate: The top 10 TFE articles of 2015

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The Fifth Estate: The top 10 TFE articles of 2015 (22 December 2015)

2015 has been a huge year for The Fifth Estate. Reader numbers continued to grow; we clocked up our most read, commented upon and shared story in TFE history; and the number of special projects, events and ebooks we took on seemed to grow exponentially.

Following the success of COP21 and a renewed focus on cities from our federal government and indeed the world, we leave the year hopeful for an even bigger 2016 – hopeful that our leaders now finally understand the importance of a sector we’ve been talking about for close to seven years now, and hopeful that they will now implement some concrete actions to improve its sustainability.

As we head off for the Christmas break, we’ll leave you with the top 10 stories of 2015 – there’s some scandal, some hope, some “how-to”s and a little bit of old-fashioned sustainability ingenuity to boot. See you in 2016!

Newcastle rail cut – a solution looking for a problem

Newcastle rail cut – a solution looking for a problem

Listed at no. 8 – Newcastle rail cut: a fake solution in search of a real problem

A thoughtful piece by EcoTransit Sydney’s Gavin Gatenby on the Baird Government’s decision to cut the train line before Newcastle, forcing people to change at Hamilton for buses, with a plan to create a light rail system, that would open up an underutilised foreshore to development.

“Around the globe, direct CBD-to-CBD inter-city rail is the gold standard. It’s what governments aspire to and pay billions to get,” Gatenby said.

“Between Sydney and Newcastle we already have this boon, but the Baird government is insanely determined to throw it all away, permanently cut the last, vital 2.5 kilometres, and sell the narrow rail corridor – the only remaining non-undermined land in the Newcastle CBD on which high rise can be built – to a developer clique.”

Gatenby said that “opening the city to the waterfront” was “a fake solution in search of a real problem”.

“All Newcastle gains from rail closure is a curtain wall of inappropriately situated high rise.”

The article attracted a vast number of comments from supporters and detractors alike. The Baird Government has continued with its plans to rip up the rail line.