8 Aug 2017
Sustainable development symposium brings together key industry leaders from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific

Key stakeholders shaping the built environment industry in the Asia-Pacific were recently brought together at RMIT city campus Melbourne for a Symposium and breakfast meeting aiming to draw links between research, practice, education for sustainability and the needs of industry to address global Sustainable Development Goals.

The Symposium was Co- Chaired by Dr Judy Rogers and Associate Professor Usha Iyer-Raniga.  A parallel high level industry breakfast convened as part of the Symposium event was co-facilitated by Cities Programme Chair, Michael Nolan.

The symposium on Sustainable Development Research in the Asia Pacific Region, held in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, HAW Hamburg, under the auspices of the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP) aimed to foster and facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of teaching and research projects, especially successful initiatives and good practice.

Supported by Karolina Barkowitz and Claudia Montalvo under the leadership of the symposium Co-Chairs the Symposium was the culmination of decades of experience in the sustainable built environment globally but focusing specifically on issues pertinent to the Asia-Pacific region.

“The great thing about this symposium is that it’s not limited to a specific discipline, but intentionally seeks to promote sustainable development research across multiple disciplines in an integrated fashion,” Iyer-Raniga said.

“This breakfast meeting was a chance to bring industry players in the sustainable environment area, and parts of government and professional associations together to consider built options for powerful and effective sustainable education and work integrated learning,” Nolan said.

“It provided an opportunity to bridge the gaps between the planners, architects, engineers and a range of other built environment professionals.”

“There’s been so many lessons learnt over the past 20 years, but the learning – the way it’s been taught and delivered in single disciplines has been a major barrier,” Rogers said.

“Being able to get more integration for students and professions is beneficial for everybody and will have huge impacts on the pedagogy of future built environment teaching, learning and research.”

Participants at the Industry Breakfast discussed lessons and success stories from the United Nations – Principles for Responsible Management of Education (PRME) – this initiative is the largest organised relationship between the UN and business schools to transform management education, research and thought leadership globally, seeking to establish a process of continuous improvement among institutions of management education in order to develop a new generation of business leaders capable of managing the complex challenges faced by business and society in the 21st century.

“The mission of PRME is to transform management education, research and thought leadership globally by providing the Principles for Responsible Management Education framework, developing learning communities and promoting awareness about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and this can be leveraged for the urban built environment sector,” Iyer-Raniga said.

Several projects for collaboration were discussed during the breakfast event, including the key focus – a massive open online course (MOOC) for sustainable practice to support what we are calling PRUE – Principles for Responsible Urban built environment Education – which will be supported by several universities, private industry, peak industry bodies and government organisations working in the built environment around the world.

“It’s an excellent way for RMIT to use its leadership in the sustainable built environment space to provide education on the principles whether you’re in quantity surveying, engineering, planning or an architect or landscaper,” Nolan said.

“The principles should operate as a common platform in industry and be consistent and cohesive.

“This is an important initiative and we aim to convene again shortly to progress the collaboration.”