13 Dec 2018
Second Cities: Smart and Smaller Symposium

In late October, Michael Nolan and Joana Correia headed to Newcastle, New South Wales to attend the Second Cities: Smarter and Smaller Symposium organised by the University of Newcastle and theHunter Research Foundation Centre.

The symposium brought together academics and practitioners with local, national and international expertise to analyse and debate the role of second cities as strategic gateways to regional economies. A key focus was Greater Newcastle’s potential to become a global ‘second city’.

Presentations and panel discussions addressed three key themes: infrastructure, innovation and liveability. MichaelNolan moderated a panel discussion on the role of second cities in ensuring inclusive community making processes. A theme centred on how to take advantage of human scale settlements and harness the sense of identity around industry that exists inNewcastle and the Hunter Region.

Rebecca Casson, CEO of the Committee for Geelong, presented the findings of the report ‘Winning from Second: What Geelong can learn from International Second Cities’. Authored by Joana Correia and Todd Denham, this reports on the project partnership between the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, RMIT’s Centre of Urban Research and the Committee for Geelong. Comparative case studies of eight second cities in Europe, the UK and the USA provide a base for discussion about regional cities in Australia. Participants of the symposium came to learn how the findings and recommendations of the report have informed a Proposed Second City Policy framework developed by the Committee for Geelong and presented to the Victorian Parliament in July this year. The national debate is gathering, with proposals for a potential National Second City Policy framework.

The two-day event culminated in a final working session to discuss next steps for second cities. Greater collaboration and transparent governance across sectors – government, business and community – was a consistent theme in positioning future policy and practice.