Collaborate or compete? Opportunities to adapt Australia’s Smart Cities Plan to develop a stronger pathway to achieving SDG11 by 2030

In 2008, the global urban population exceeded rural populations for the first time in history (UN-Habitat 2015). The Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan (SCP) maps a pathway to ensuring the prosperity of Australian cities, proposing that they develop domestic networks to become globally competitive. However, the plan neglects to consider possibilities for partnering with other cities across the globe to share innovative ideas for improving housing and sustainable urban development. This is necessary for Australia to fulfil its commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11: ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ (UN 2016a) (see appendix for targets). This report proposes that the Australian Government adapts the SCP to strengthen the focus on achieving SDG11 by 2030.

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The political economy of development and urbanisation: Australian and Brazilian housing policy in the global context

By Rufael Tsegay

Rufael attended the 2016 Habitat III Summit where he represented RMIT University. Rufael is studying a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) (Honours).

Abstract

This paper analyses recent urbanisation and development strategies from Australia and Brazil. Contrasting Australia’s changes in public housing from tenancy for manufacturing personnel to low income populations with favela development programs in São Paulo, Brazil. The analysis engages with and discerns the financial, political and social implications of policy decisions in these two case studies. This research aims to critically observe different examples of housing oriented urbanisation to better realise the complexities in housing strategies and implement more effective regeneration strategies for informal settlements in developing nations.

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The road to urban coherence and sustainability: using architectural innovation to evolve cities

By Sadman Shafiq

Sadman attended the 2016 Habitat III Summit where he represented Swinburne University. Sadman is studying a Bachelor of Computer Science.

Abstract

This paper addresses the issues with current architectural trends and visits Sydney with its standing as a top Australian city along with the recovering Lebanon Capital Beirut. While both share similarities as being the tourist hubs of their countries, they share a lack of architectural practices in widespread use for a sustainable future. While Sydney is well developed it has a downtown district that has minor urban and architectural significance and more importantly lacks in public cohesiveness within the city. Beirut has a zoning issue that generates both hardship within the community and removes the cultural and historical heritage of the city. The transportation dilemma exists in Beirut with the congestion and lack of public transport, wherein Sydney suffers from a spread of urban development with the creation of suburbs that spread away from zones of activities centered in the city. It also lacks a public transport system that supports the pace of growth both in the suburbs and congestion within the inner city. The relationship with the transport system and architectural design allows for urban growth and efficiency. And as such, is needed for sustainable cities of the present and future.

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Ensuring responsible and sustainable construction for our future built environment

By Caleb Adams

Caleb attended the 2016 Habitat III Summit where he represented Griffith University. Caleb is studying a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering.

Abstract

Whilst there have been recent advances, and global commitments to address the challenges of climate change, its remains a critical issue. The construction and building industry is one of the biggest global polluters and energy consumers, yet plays a significant role in Australia’s economy, meaning there is potential to achieve significant emissions reductions through activating change within the building and construction industry.

Cultural changes are reflected in the recent advancement of construction and design relevant policy and regulations; which now address environmental sustainability. However, it is arguable that current regulations and guidelines are not assertive enough, leaving companies to choose how sustainability they wish to operate.

Voluntary sustainability assessment programs are achieving positive results as energy efficient and sustainable projects are now being featured in cities across the globe. Only a compliance culture of the construction industry has meant that the use of these tools is limited and dominated by large-scale industry leaders. Through analyzing the success and framework of these programs, recommendations can be drawn on how Australia can ensure our built environment is constructed via responsible and sustainable methods. This research will influence recommendations on policy review and regulation, innovative research, and an internationally collaborative approach to minimising impacts on climate change through the development of our cities.

 

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