Australian cities are some of the lowest density and most car-dependent on the planet: intensified urban development and improved public transport to meet the imperatives of population growth and a low-carbon future is a major challenge. Despite decades of compact city policy there has been little change to the practice of ever-expanding suburban fringe development and freeway building that entrenches and exacerbates car-dependency. One of the major blockages to transformational change has been a lack of design vision that can capture the public imagination for more sustainable urban futures. In 2010 we commenced an ARC Linkage research project called 'Intensifying Places: Transit-Oriented Urban Design for Resilient Australian Cities'. This project seeks to analyse the potentials for Australian cities through developing visions for transit-oriented futures that can achieve broad community acceptance in a democratic framework.