29 Nov 2017
Gathering of associates leads us into the new year

Despite the some seriously warm November weather and a last minute change of venue the Cities Programme End of Year Gathering with our associates and friends was a sound success.

On 22nd November a group of some 35 Urban Scholars, Global Advisors and other urban academics from RMIT and beyond came together to meet, network and share drinks and discussion on projects they have been working on and to celebrate 2017.

From a balcony overlooking central Melbourne the event was opened by Cities Programme Chair, Michael Nolan, who gave an update of 2017 along with a snapshot of who and where our Scholars and Advisors are working along with a ‘heads up’ on what to look forward to in 2018.

Urban Scholars and Global Advisors play an important role in the work of the Cities Programme providing expert support, research and guidance to city and partners. In their commitment to the program and the advancement of the 10 principles they draw on their networks and experience to actively inform and strengthen cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaboration.

2017 has been a busy year with many challenges and successes for the Cities Programme. With 6 new Urban Scholars and 2 new Global Advisors joining us recently,  2018 promises to be another busy year with the commencement of City Partnerships project in Australia. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm amongst participants as they came together – some scholars meeting for the first time.

Our Urban Scholars and Global Advisors shared some of their current work – the great range of projects included addressing food security in Melbourne peri-urban areas, facilitating ethical management principles into urban design and construction, tackling child exploitation in cities, projects with indigenous Brazilian communities in the Amazon, improving recycling capability of city waste and working with a flood prone community in San Juan Puerto Rico.

We congratulate Global Advisor and Senior Industry Fellow Alan Pears for being awarded ‘Energy Efficiency Champion 2017’ by the Energy Efficiency Council of Australia and an award from Environment Victoria for his contribution to their work over many years. Great work Alan.

One of our newer Urban Scholars, Iain Butterworth shared some words on his work at University of California – Berkley University in advancing his research into Healthy Cities and how Berkley is positioning itself as a hub for generating capacity-building around Healthy, Liveable Cities.

Cities Programme Deputy Director Elizabeth Ryan spoke about the new Cities Programme Regional Office at University of Saõ Paulo and how this provides an important platform to grow our collaborative research with university partners in that continent and others and expands the Cities Programme in other regions in the world.

A couple of other Cities Programme projects of 2017 in which our Scholars and Advisors played  a leading role include Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Resilience and Liveability Capacity Building Programme. This has led into a VicHealth funded research project that will test Liveability Indicators in the Bangkok context. The project is being led by Dr Hannah Badland from the RMIT Healthy Cities Group.  The Cities Programme is also facilitating research with Urban Scholars Alberto Posso and Simon Feeny in partnership with AECOM for Eureka Real Assets group on the economic impact of Climate Change on key city infrastructure in the cities of Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

RMIT University Vice President & Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Professor Calum Drummond closed the event by with a few words of encouragement and recognition on the important interaction between RMIT Enabling Capability Platforms and the Cities Programme.

“It is so important for academics to work across disciplines and in partnership with colleagues in government and the private sector. Through partnerships we can develop cities and communities that are both economically vibrant – and inclusive.”