When it comes to population there's disagreement about whether big really is better. In the Uniken cover story, some of our leading academics enter the debate on a "sustainable Australia".

"This is particularly problematic in Australia, which has one of the highest rates of population growth and the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world," warns Dr Mark Diesendorf, the Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies in his opinion piece on pages 8 to 10.

"Unless we stablise our population numbers, climate mitigation, protecting biodiversity, supplying rural and urban water, and providing infrastructure will all become much more difficult."

Among other views, Professor Bill Randolph from the City Futures Research Centre suggests that while there is no exact figure, Australia could support 36 million people.

Architect, artist and researcher at COFA, Professor Richard Goodwin, argues that with proper planning, 200 million people could live comfortably in Australia.

"Human history proves we are like termites when it comes to density. Cities and types of suburbia work as long as we provide infrastructure on an armature that also understands the cities' needs for food, water and power.

Also in the September/October issue, we learn some of the secrets of living to 100 with the country's most comprehensive study of centenarians underway at UNSW (pages 12 and 13); and we hear how clowning may be the best medicine for dementia sufferers (pages 14 and 15).

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, Editor | 9385 1583 |