More intelligent infrastructure, creating better places for people to live and managing growth and diversity in communities are the big issues that will be tackled by the newly launched Griffith University Cities Research Centre from today.
Cities Research Centre founding director Professor Paul Burton explained that the initiative would build on the work already accomplished by the Urban Research Program, which had been doing high quality research on cities and urban policy for more than 12 years.
“We recognise that Australian cities need more sophisticated research that brings together experts from different fields, like engineering, to face the complex challenges of today,” he said.
“That is exactly what the new Cities Research Centre has been set up to achieve.”
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Professor Burton said the Cities Research Centre would focus on three main themes that cities around the world, including the Gold Coast, were grappling with.
The research themes include:
- Intelligent infrastructure. How do we make sure our infrastructure networks (roads, rail, power, water and so on) are fit for purpose and able to meet the demands of the future? How do we harness new technologies to help manage and modify demand?
- Quality places. How do we build new suburbs that allow us to live our own version of the good life? Can we make them easy to walk and cycle around? How do we make the most of our parks and green spaces and how do we deliver housing affordability to all age groups?
- Transforming communities. As our population grows it will probably become more diverse in terms of age, social and ethnic background and wealth, so how do we manage this growing diversity so that we are able to live well together?
The Urban Research Program, which preceded the Cities Research Centre, looked at a range of issues during the 12 years it operated, including the impact of climate change on food security in cities and more recently how to capture increases in land value from public investment in infrastructure, such as light rail.
The Urban Research Program also developed the VAMPIRE (Vulnerability Assessment for Mortgage, Petrol and Inflation Risks and Expenditure) index, which maps patterns of vulnerability to fuel and other price rises for people living in outer suburban areas.
The new Cities Research Centre is expected to have more than 50 researchers and other staff.