Cities Research Institute News - Issue 1, March 2018

Paul_lectern Welcome to our first Newsletter of 2018.  We want to use this to showcase some of the excellent research going on within the Institute as well as highlighting other interesting activities our members are engaged in.  If you'd like to know more about the research we are currently doing or to discuss possible new collaborations then please contact me or the researcher in question.

With best wishes

Paul Burton
Director, Cities Research Institute


Concrete Flat Plate Substructures tests to Failure

Reinforced concrete flat plate systems are popularly used in the construction of modern day high-rise buildings in Australia and internationally. There are potential risks of progressive collapse, which is characterised by a disproportionate and catastrophic collapse of the structure due to a sudden removal or failure of a major vertical load-carrying component caused by explosions, bomb blasts or natural disasters. However progressive collapse of flat plates is still one of the most under-researched areas and no proper guidelines to design such a structure to resist progressive collapse are available.

At the School of Engineering and Built Environment, a group of academics and HDR scholars led by Professor Hong Guan has conducted a series of concrete flat plate substructure tests to failure, funded by an ARC Discovery Project. The group has investigated the load carrying mechanisms, force redistribution patterns and large-deformation behaviour of the substructures under various column loss scenarios. Some test results have already been accepted for publication in the Journal of Structural Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers. Numerical simulation method is also developed to enable further investigations of the failure mechanisms of the structure which are not easily obtainable from the laboratory tests. Numerical parametric studies of the characteristic design factors will be carried out subsequently, through which a set of design recommendations can be derived.

This research will ultimately improve the integrity, robustness and safety of concrete flat plate systems. Through this study, design standards will be enhanced so that injury and loss of life can be prevented in both new and existing buildings.

Hongs Group Feb 2018 compressed

$155,600 Grant Awarded

Cities Research Institute members Dr Yong Wu and Professor Peter Tatham, together with Associate Professor Vallipuram Muthukkumarasamy from the School of ICT and the Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems (of which Yong Wu is also a member) have signed a $155,600 contract with the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC). 

The proposed research project will explore the use of block chain technology for the red meat industry. Block chain technology, which underpins digital currencies (e.g. bitcoin), provides the ability to record sequential events and their timestamps throughout a supply chain. Its availability and maturity present significant opportunities for any supply chain where products need to transact through different parties with different trust levels, and at different times and locations. The project will offer enhanced transparency, accountability, coordination, traceability, and customer confidence with improved customer-oriented decision making for the industry.

New Publication Release - Communicating Climate Change Information for Decision-Making

Is climate change information any use in decision making?

Much of what science understands about expected climate change is not widely shared or used among the policy makers, decision makers and practitioners who need it most urgently. A new book written by Dr Silvia Serrao-Neumann, PhD Candidate Liese Coulter, Assoc. Prof Michael Howes, Prof Darryl Low Choy and Dr Ed Morgan
from the Cities Research Institute with Dr Anne Coudrain 
of the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) provides examples of applied climate information to offer valuable insights for others to plan for possible futures based on the best knowledge available. Drawing on international experts, Communicating Climate Change Information for Decision-Making shows how new climate change information is being developed, communicated and usefully applied internationally, regionally and locally.

Developed to share experiences and insights that support the active application of climate change information, the book bridges gaps between what scientists know and the information needed by policy makers, decision makers and practitioners. It addresses three themes; what new climate change information is being developed, how that knowledge is communicated and how it can be usefully applied across international, regional and local scales.” Over 13 chapters, the book highlights that input from civil society, business, and government combined with the results of good research, actually fosters informed climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

The book shows that communication networks are already developing that bring together social and economic information to represent the human dimensions of climate change. To do this, researchers must involve other stakeholders from the outset to consider what formats and scales are meaningful for both the issues considered and the needs of decision-makers. Lead editor, Silvia Serrao-Neumann said “This book speaks to citizens with an interest in climate change, and researchers and practitioners spanning natural sciences through to technologies and social sciences who work to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

Life's a Beach 

Are you interested in assisting to create healthier beaches?

Would you like to help in collecting vital information on our sandy dunes?

Would you like to learn more about the coastal habitats unique to the Gold Coast?

Maggie Coastal

If you answered yes to any of those questions, Maggie Muurmans from the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management (GCCM) urges you to find out more about the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management’s coastal community engagement programs.

Our programs BeachCare, CoastEd and Dunewatch focus on creating capacity and local stewardship for the local community within the Gold Coast region. The CoastEd program has already reached over 6000 community members over the past 6 months through the popular school holiday programs, school visits and community events.   The BeachCare and DuneWatch programs ensure that our dunes are thriving through re-vegetation activities and   citizenscience. The past year has seen 1100 volunteers involved in these programs.

 With the Easter holidays coming up, CoastEd and BeachCare will be collaborating with Bleach Jnr. to provide a range of environmentally flavoured programs for all ages! Make sure to join in between Sunday, April 1 to Tuesday, April 3, to explore the rocky shores, learn about Burleigh National Park or turn trash into treasure. 

International Collaboration leads to presentation at Cities & Climate Change Science Conference in Canada

This research collaboration is a result of Griffith Cities Research Institute's delegation to Vietnam arising from the East Asia Society of Transportation Studies (EASTS) Conference in September 2017. Dr Abraham Leung worked with researchers from Vietnam German University and Vietnam Aviation Academy to produce this work. Our collaborator Thi Phuong Linh Le won a fully funded trip to present this poster at the Cities & Climate Change Science Conference organised by UN IPCC at Edmonton, Canada from 4th to 8th March, 2018.

The study presented in the poster raises concerns about Vietnam's substantial growth in vehicle numbers and motorised mobility. This is causing a rapid increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution. There is a need to better quantify transport-related emissions so as to devise policy measures to tackle climate change. However, the databases and modelling tools for the quantification of traffic-related GHG emissions are not readily available in Vietnam. This study assessed road transport sector energy consumption and GHG for 10 (5 major, 5 secondary) cities located in Southern Vietnam from 2014 to 2016 based road network traffic, estimated fuel consumption and emissions factors. We use the bottom-up approach to quantify emissions in the transport sector. This approach provides more detailed data on GHG emissions by mode, vehicle type, trip purpose, fuel type, etc. The method used in this study is able to estimate emissions from on-road vehicles with limited data or low-quality data, which is a major issue for developing countries or cities. The methodology of this study could be applicable to other cities facing similar challenges and help develop better regional and local monitoring systems.

 RICES Project

The Remote and Isolated Community Essential Services (RICES) project led by Dr Cara Beal and PhD researcher Melissa Jackson (Cities RI and School EBE) is a collaborative effort aimed at trialling community-directed water demand management strategies to reduce the typically high volumes of water (and related energy) used by residents in remote Indigenous communities. RICES employed a mixed method approach using smart metering technology, workshops, semi-structured interviews and community engagement initiatives to gain local buy-in. 

This research is the first of its kind in Australia and has received support from many local project partners. The use of smart technology, linked to mobile phone apps, provided good information to derive evidence based policy advice and the opportunity to provide real time usage that has broader application across Qld. Close consultation and two-way engagement with the communities allowed for community-tailored water demand management trial programs to be implemented for each town. This included face to face feedback on water use, community awareness/water education events (e.g. BBQs), local and state government workshops and training of local water officers. Results from the trial efficiency strategies demonstrated a significant reduction (50%) in outdoor water use and leaks in water consumption and associated energy demand. 

For the community in general, there was also a reduction in water use when the RICES trial was combined with council-led community-wide notices and education about outdoor water use. Evaluation and feedback of the demand management trial from community and project partners is currently underway with preliminary survey results demonstrating a very positive response to the community-led approach taken by the RICES research team.

Save water compressed

Higher Degree Research Student Profile

Prosper Korah has been working on his doctoral thesis at the Cities Research Institute, Griffith University since October, 2017. Prior to commencing the PhD research at Griffith, Prosper worked as Project Consultant for Trend Group, a Non-Governmental Organisation, which specialises in pro-poor water and sanitation delivery in Ghana. He holds MSc in Environmental and Infrastructure Planning (University of Groningen, Netherlands) and BSc (First Class Hons) Human Settlement Planning from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Prosper’s principal research interest is in the area of urban transformation and planning. He is interested in how theories of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) can be used to analyse contemporary transformations in cities of Africa and the implications for planning and governance of these cities. He has published in a number of reputable journals on the foregoing subject.

PhD Project: Globalising city, socio-spatial dynamics, and planning

There is a growing call for a need to better conceptualise the emergent and often contested spatial, social and political morphologies and typologies in cities as they must necessarily negotiate the competing demands of globalisation (global) and urbanisation (local) forces. However, little exist on the globalising experience and spatial planning of cities in Africa.  In particular, how cities co-evolve and adapt to changing conditions created by (e.g. contemporary globalisation) remains unclear. This thesis aims to fill this gap by using Accra (Ghana) as prism to reflect how cities transition in response to changing conditions created by (e.g., globalisation), and what the implications are for spatial planning and governance of African cities. The study will adopt two main approaches-GIS and descriptive analysis (both quantitative and qualitative).

Research interests: Globalisation and urban transformation; spatial planning; spatial analysis with GIS; environmental planning.

ProSPER.NET Scholarships for Cities PhD Students 

Two Cities  PhD students (pictured below), Nowar Raad  and Sonya Kozak (from the School of Medicine), recently returned from Japan after winning  scholarships to participate in 2018 ProSPER.NET Young Researchers’ School on ‘Sustainable Urban Development for the World’s Megacities’. ProSPER.Net is an alliance of leading universities in the Asia-Pacific region that are committed to integrating sustainable development into postgraduate courses and curricula. The network, dubbed ProSPER.Net: Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network, is developing a new generation of leaders who can best tackle global sustainability challenges in the face of rapid environmental degradation.

Working closely with Sustainability experts from United Nations University, Sonya and Nowar gained advanced skills and knowledge in sustainability research and practice and become a part a network of sustainability researchers in the Asia-Pacific region. Sonya was pleased to report that she made many worthwhile contacts and also came 2nd in the cohort's 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.  Associate Professor Cheryl Desha from the Cities Research Institute is Griffith University's representative on ProSPER.NET and has been very supportive of students applying for this scholarship each year.

CRI-PhD students in Japan- compressed

Coastal Management Short Course

Registrations are now open for the annual Coastal Hazard Management Short Course, now in its 5th edition. EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION IS EXTENDED TO FRIDAY 1 OF APRIL.  

The short course will be held in Brisbane, Australia, from 2 - 4 May 2018. In the last 4 years we had more than 120 participants from local government, industry and universities from Australia and internationally. The course covers coastal hazard management theory and practices relevant to Australia and the Asia Pacific region. Please check the course web page for program details and updates.


Coastal communities in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region are frequently challenged by hazards such as cyclones and storm surges, and by the constant, long-term dynamics of the shorelines responding to climatic forces. As a result, erosion and storm tide inundation threaten coastal settlements and infrastructure. Climate variability and change, including sea level rise trends, possible changes in weather patterns, will likely add additional pressure on coastal communities across the region. The burden of the responsibility for managing these risks resides with local governments, following State advice and requirements, which may differ from State and Territories or national jurisdictions at a larger scale. In this course, the Queensland experience in managing coastal hazard and planning for the future will be used as a guide for intrastate, interstate and international participants.


Australian Coastal Society


Further information can be found on the website or please contact the Organisers:
Dr Marcello Sano, International Courses Leader, Griffith Centre for Coastal Management
Professor Rodger Tomlinson, Director, Griffith Centre for Coastal Management

2018 Joint APNHR and AHRC Conference

APNHR 2 Jan 2018  GU_Cities_Research_Institute_logo_CMYK  AHRC Logo- Jan 2018

The Cities Research Institute is proud to be supporting this event at Griffith Gold Coast campus from 6 - 8 June 2018.

Conference theme

Smart and Sustainable futures’ issues are expected to be looked at in an integrative and holistic way in addressing the different sustainability pillars taking into account future studies and changes within the global context. This joint APNHR and AHRC conference will provide a special forum for researchers, policy makers and practitioners to share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of academic institutions, government departments, and private sector organisations.  Within the specific conference sub-themes listed, we will cover broad areas of current and emerging issues which will enable affordability and livability while at the same time accelerating the speed, quality and equity of housing delivery in the Asia Pacific region.

Go to the APNHR and AHRC Conference website for more information and to register.

  +61 7 555 27269

icon_map-pin  Nathan Campus - Sir Samuel Griffith Building (N78),level 3
 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan QLD 4111

           Gold Coast Campus - Cities Research Institute Building G51
           Bridge Lane, off Edmund Rice Drive, Gold Coast QLD 4222

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