Cities Research Institute Newsletter
Issue 2 - September 2020
A Message from the Director

Dear Colleagues

My last message was written as we were getting used to the impacts of the pandemic on our day to day lives at home and work.  And for many of us, our home and work lives now occur in the same place.  Some are thriving under these new arrangements; some are struggling and some of us enjoy it on some days but not on others.  In Queensland we have not experienced the severe lockdown impacts of our colleagues in Melbourne, but there is of course intense political debate about how best to respond in ways that balance the requirement to protect public health with the needs of business and employees.  Unfortunately, it looks as though the bipartisanship of the early stages and the commitment to basing policy decisions on the best available scientific evidence are beginning to fragment.  But those of us in the business of scientific research must continue to seek the truth in our research and then speak truth to power.

Australian universities have been badly hit by the current crisis and some of our underlying structural vulnerabilities exposed.  While Griffith University, like others, is carefully reviewing what we do and how we do it, we retain our commitment to supporting high quality research with social impact and the CRI will continue to support a wide range of research on cities, urban processes and the built environment.  As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, we have been developing successful research grant applications and promoting our work successfully to a wide audience.  Our members continue to be recognised for their achievements and we are working increasingly in highly productive partnerships with others, both in Australia and internationally.  It’s especially pleasing also to see our PhD candidates completing their work with many moving on to become successful early career researchers and academics, at Griffith and elsewhere.

Finally, let me wish you all well in these difficult and turbulent times.  We are constantly looking to develop new projects that help us better understand some of this turbulence and its consequences and if you would think we might work together in this, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or with any of our members, including Rosanna Jeffery, our Business Development Manager.

Best wishes and stay safe

Paul Burton

Director, Cities Research Institute

Research highlights
Celebrating a Tall Poppy!

On 27 August Dr Johanna Nalau was awarded a Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, saying "Johanna is pioneering the study of policymakers and the way they adapt and decide on investments and policies in the age of climate change".

Johanna commented “Tonight was very special: my first work outing to Brisbane since covid-19 to receive one of the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards. These awards are given to emerging science leaders who also excel in science communication. I was particularly proud that climate adaptation was recognised on par with cancer and immunology research as a serious topic of scientific importance.”

Johanna is also an ARC Decra Fellow 2019-2021, see more on her work here.

Johanna tall poppy Johanna- tall poppy
Congratulations Johanna - Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award
ARC Linkage Project Success

A number of CRI members are members of a successful ARC Linkage bid led by Professor Charles Sampford (AEL)  The project was awarded $540,750 and focuses on ways to improve relationships between the various professions in the construction and development sector to ensure higher standards.  The project is supported by the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre, of which we are a core partner, and members of the full team are listed below.

Professor Charles Sampford, (AEL), A/Prof Sacha Reid (Business, CRI), Prof Rodney Stewart, A/Prof Cheryl Desha, Prof Paul Burton (Sciences, CRI), Prof Keith Hampson, Prof John Phillimore (Curtin University), A/Prof Hazel Easthope, Prof Michael Ostwald (UNSW), Prof Kerry London (Western Sydney University), Ms Roxane Shaw (Professional Standards Council), Mr Nabil Yazdani (Department Of Mines, Industry Regulation And Safety), Mr Andrew Lumsden (Corrs Chambers Westgarth) awarded $540,750 for the project Constructing Building Integrity: Raising standards through professionalism (Partner Organisations – Professional Standards Council, Department Of Mines, Industry Regulation And Safety, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Department Of Housing & Public Works).

CRC logo

At the end of July we submitted an initial proposal for a Thriving Coasts Cooperative Research Centre.  The proposal team was led by Paul Burton and Rodger Tomlinson of GCCM is one of the designated research program leaders.  Along with colleagues from the Universities of Adelaide, Western Australia and the Sunshine Coast, over sixty other partners have pledged over $45 million to the CRC, which would be matched by the Commonwealth government should it be successful.  The CRC will support research into new sustainable economic development in the tourism, marine aquaculture and fisheries sectors; develop new economic modelling and environmental assessment tools and help coastal communities plan to become more resilient.  We will learn in late October whether our proposal has progressed to stage two of the assessment process.  

You can learn more about the proposal, the team and our plans at Thriving Coasts CRC

Iconic Planning Communities and the Challenge of Change (The city in the Twenty-First Century). University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. Editors Mary Corbin Sies, Isabelle Gournay, Robert Freestone

Professor John Minnery shared the news that the book Iconic Planning Communities and the Challenge of Change, in which he wrote a chapter for, (John Minnery (2019) "New Lanark: Sustaining Robert Owen's Legacy in Scotland", Chapter 1), has been selected as the Best Planning History Edited Book for 2019 by the International Planning History Society.

Latest News from the Transport Team - Associate Professor Matt Burke

We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr Kelly Bertolaccini to the Institute. Joining Griffith in late July from the University of Queensland, Kelly is an early career researcher who is joining our high-performing transport research team. Kelly is a Lecturer in the Civil Engineering Discipline of the School of Engineering and Built Environment, filling the lecturing and research role that Dr Barbara Yen held until her return to Taiwan. 

Kelly's research focuses on data-driven transport planning and public transport systems, with an emphasis on equity and transport for vulnerable communities. Much of her research leverages her expertise in spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS). In her first year, Kelly will be focused on building her research with our industry partners and on recruiting new PhD and honours students.

Welcome aboard Kelly!

The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted many of our projects. But perhaps none of our researchers has been as affected as much as Yiping Yan, a PhD student in our transport research team. In January, Yiping went home to visit her family in Hubei Province, China. That province went into the strictest lockdown and she was unable to go anywhere. Then the Australian borders closed.

Thankfully, our great friend Professor Pan Haixiao of Tongi University offered Yiping a Visiting Research Fellowship position at his lab in Shanghai, until the border is open again. Yiping travelled there, underwent another two weeks in quarantine, and is now flourishing. Tongji are ranked fifth in the world for research in transportation science and technology, so it's a fantastic place to be. The Institute is extremely thankful to Prof Pan and his team for their wonderful generosity and support to our student.

Yiping Yan

CRI PhD candidate Yiping Yan with Prof Pan Haixiao at Tongji University in Shanghai

Transport team collaborations with Tongji University

The Cities Research Institute hosted Tongji University PhD student Xiaorong Lin in our Nathan campus offices for most of 2019. We are pleased to report that Xiaorong was awarded her Doctorate in late June 2020 for her research of property value uplift around metro stations in Shanghai. Congratulations Xiaorong!

This photo shows Prof Pan Haixiao and Xiaorong celebrating her PhD graduation at the entrance to Tongji's prestigious Siping Road campus in Shanghai.

XiaorongLin ProfPan2020

thumbnail_Banner Kim Reis

Enabling action for local food resilience and contingency

In partnership with the Cairns Regional Council (Disaster Management Unit), Dr Kimberley Reis and Associate Professor Cheryl Desha are improving the capacities of non-government organisations to maintain supply of fresh local food to the region's most vulnerable residents during times of hardship such as pandemics and severe weather events. 

In conjunction with Prudence Liddy (Honours Thesis student) we are currently undertaking an online survey of approximately 50 organisations who work with the aged, disabilities, homeless and indigenous groups. We will provide recommendations to Council to ensure that access to local and regional food supplies are able to meet anticipated food supply disruptions. For more on this pilot project visit our website

Mapping the Social and Affordable Housing Network

SBEnrc1.61 Network Map

Final industry and research reports, along with two short videos are now available at the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc) project website.

SBEnrc Website

Short Video

Full Video

In this project, the need for a long-term, bi-partisan strategic approach was identified by government, industry and research partners. Research outcomes aim to help integrate activity across the public, private, and not-for-profit (NFP) sectors, to assist those delivering social and affordable housing sector assets and services to ‘get ahead of the game’ and to keep up with the changing needs for housing.

The network maps help position housing as an integral part of extended social, environmental and technology-based system in order to foster community understanding of the need for, and benefits of, a strong and effective housing system. Maps which have been developed for Queensland and Western Australia, and associated findings and recommendations can be used to inform housing policy making and delivery across Australia.

Core partners in this industry-driven research were the Western Australian Department of Communities, Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works, BGC Australia and Curtin and Griffith Universities.

For further details, please email Dr Judy Kraatz

In the Media
Dr Tony Matthews had recent comment and quotes related to Covid-19 and urban planning in Thomson Reuters News, Yahoo News, MSN, The Madras Courier (India), Times of India, The Jakarta Post, The World News Monitor, The Peninsula (Qatar) and The Star (Malaysia).

Tony also spoke to Ten News First QLD along with Paul Burton on the future possibilities of working from home post covid-19. View here

The Conversation

In January Dr Heather Shearer co-authored an article in The Conversation - "So, you want to live tiny? Here's what to consider when choosing a house, van or caravan” Read The Conversation article here.

Heather has just been ranked the 5th highest read article, with 109,754 in The Conversation Annual Impact report for Griffith University for the past year. Also making the top 20 were
Matt Burke 9th with 100,203, with his PhD candidate Yiping Yan 15th with 157,195, and Tony Matthews 19th with 117,289 reads.

Supply chains interrupted and panic buying during Covid-19

Paul Burton spoke with Jonathan Green from ABC Radio National's Blueprint for Living, about global supply chain, panic buying and food security during covid-19. Listen here 

First Fuel Podcast

The CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council Luke Menzel chatted with Cheryl Desha on her key contributions to the national and global conversation around energy efficiency. Listen here
Disrupted Food Supplies

Kim Reis, Cheryl Desha and Paul Burton discuss strategies to minimise food shortages in a crisis as recently experienced during covid-19. Read here in The Conversation
New Publications

Developing a Preliminary Causal Loop Diagram for Understanding the Wicked Complexity of the COVID-19 PandemicOz Sahin 1,2,3,*,Hengky Salim 1,2,Emiliya Suprun 1,2,Russell Richards 2,4,Stefen MacAskill 1,2,Simone Heilgeist 1,2,Shannon Rutherford 5,Rodney A. Stewart 1,2 Cara D. Beal 1,2,5 (Altmetric has tracked 15,711,095 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.)

Boulton, C., A. Dedekorkut-Howes, M. Holden, J. Byrne. 2020. Under pressure: Factors shaping urban greenspace provision in a mid-sized city. Cities. 106. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2020.102816

​Dedekorkut-Howes, A., D. Ay, and B. Demires-Ozkul. 2020. Two decades of planning for earthquake resilience in Istanbul, in The Routledge Handbook of Planning Megacities in the Global South. Deden Rukmana (ed.). Routledge. pp. 215-230

Conferences and Seminars
1st Asia Pacific Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES) 2020

The 1st Asia Pacific SDEWES conference was coming along swimmingly to be a live event on 6 – 9 April 2020. Until covid-19 hit, the organisers worked quickly to run the conference through a virtual conference platform and all went well. CRI members Cara Beal, Rodney Stewart (local Chair), Oz Sahin (local Co-Chair), Cheryl Desha, Emiliya Suprun, Simone Heilgeist with many CRI PhD students formed the local organising committee.

In total, 97 presentations were available on-demand to our 134 registered participants from 36 countries and generated over 1300 comments in a lively discussion. 2nd SDEWES 2021 Conference is scheduled for 6-9 April 2021. Conference information here

600 x 250px_1- Plan Seminar

A live-streamed seminar co-hosted by CRI and the Urban and Environmental Planning group was presented by ARC Decra Fellow Dr Lisa Stafford.


How well do we really consider human diversity in planning cities and regions? As planners we speak about making just places, yet exclusion persists. This seminar will draw on Lisa’s research and lived, practice-based experiences to illustrate essential ways to disrupt ableism and help create sustainable inclusive communities for all.

The seminar seeks to open conversation and ideas exchange, as now more than ever is a critical opportunity for planners to come together to address and advocate for sustainable inclusive communities for all.

We had great attendance for our first virtual CRI Seminar Series and thank Lisa for her very insightful presentation and discussion. A video recording will be posted to the CRI News page very soon.

Critical Infrastructure Summit 2020

This year's summit takes place online with an event  scheduled for 2pm every Wednesday in September. All sessions are free and include: 

- Critical infrastructure state of play 
- Construct 2020
- Asset management for critical infrastructure
- Disaster management
- The future of infrastructure

More information and register here.

Critical infrastructure summit 2020

After the Lockdown: Opportunities and Challenges for Cities

CRI recently held its first online event. This was the fourth online Griffith Sciences IMPACT event and was a great success with total attendees at 271 - our largest engagement so far!

Paul Burton moderated the discussion with panel members Madison Ruyrgrok from Place Design Group, Matthew Schneider, Gold Coast URBIS and Ben Howes from Cospaces.

The recording of this event can be viewed on IMPACT

 Where are they now?

Dr Rukuh Setiadi completed his PhD under the supervision of Paul Burton in 2015. Collaborations continue with Rukuh who is now working as a Senior lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning Diponegoro University. Rukuh visited CRI last year from which a co-authored paper has just been published with Paul Burton, Joerg Baumeister and Johanna Nalau titled Extending Urban Development on Water: Jakarta Case Study 

Further collaborative research opportunities are being explored.

Griffith Sciences 2020 Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus

Former CRI PhD scholar Dr Troy Byrnes has been awarded the 2020 Griffith Sciences Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus. Troy, who is now the Principal Advisor- Planning and Innovation at the Gold Coast Waterways Authority, undertook his PhD in coastal management under the supervision of Dr Michael Howes and is a now a well regarded expert in his field. Congratulations Dr Byrnes! More on Troy's story here.


What does it mean to be culturally capable when working with First Australians?

On July 30 2020, the CSIRO launched 'OUR KNOWLEDGE OUR WAY in caring for Country: Indigenous-led approaches to strengthening and sharing our knowledge for land and sea management'. As researchers, there are many mutually beneficial outcomes from enhancing opportunities for Indigenous peoples to apply their knowledge in research projects with respect to managing and caring for and CountryGriffith University Graduate Attribute #5 mandates that when working with First Australians, all staff (academic and general) and students (enrolled and graduates) must be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and identities
  • an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples achievements and visions
  • an ability to work skillfully and purposefully with First Australians and communities in professional contexts

The document shares "Best Practice Guidelines from Australian experiences" and is a useful resource to support individual, institutional and community-wide enhancement in the practice of Indigenous Cultural Capability. Read document here 

(CSIRO 2020, Department of Health, 2015, GU RAP, Australian Institute of School Leadership, Universities Australia, Indigenous Education and UA Cultural competencies 2011). 

Greg Kitson
PhD candidate - Indigenous Community Planning

CRI / School of Environment and Science

Take part in a Survey

Mohammad Alipour, one of our PhD candidates in the school of Engineering and Built environment (supervised by Prof. Stewart)  is conducting a survey for his research on the adoption of battery and solar PV for South East Queensland homeowners. Mohammad is calling out for participants to take part in the survey. Please feel free to share to colleagues.

Survey description:

Griffith University in partnership with the University of Queensland is running an online survey about the adoption of battery energy storage system and solar power or photovoltaic (PV) system. This survey attempts to understand the decision of homeowners who reside in the South East Queensland area. The survey takes 6-8 minutes only, and if you are interested in renewable energy technologies, household behaviour, and energy autonomy, you may find the topic interesting.

The survey is anonymous and confidential. This research has received Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee approval (GU Ref. No: GU ref no: 2020/418).

The survey can be accessed here

Planning Students News

How can the Gold Coast adapt to climate change?

iodiversity the world over is under constant threat. In Australia alone, we’ve seen devastating bushfires, bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and mass fish kills in the Murray Darling Basin.  The world, and especially Australia, needs people with the commitment, knowledge and skills to take on the ecological and environmental challenges at a local, national and global level.  Our second-year students studying Urban Ecology and Biodiversity were recently given the opportunity to present their recommendations on adapting to climate change on the Gold Coast. Click here to read more about their experience studying the subject and their key learnings.

Coastal Risk Assessment in a Coral Reef Lagoon

Centre for Coastal Management PhD candidate Gaelle Faivre, had her article published in Sofar Ocean. Gaelle is researching waves and future coastal risk assessment, working in the South Pacific Islands, Gaelle uses Spotter to collect data. Read article here.

CRI 3MT Heats

Gaelle Faivre also took out first place in the CRI heats for this year's 3 Minute Thesis competition which is a virtual one, requiring students to present via a Youtube video. 

Gaelle presented on Understanding coastal processes in coral reef lagoon systems to improve risk assessment methods with current and future climate.

Benny Rousso's presentation was on Optimization of cyanobacteria bloom management through the use of optical sensors.

Yiping Yan who is currently based in China, presented on The hidden traffic impacts of private schooling. Yiping will take part in another 3MT later in the year therefore no link to her presentation.

Great work by all presenters!

About to submit his thesis for examination, Mark Bailey has co-authored an article with Dr Natalie Osborne that sheds light on the emotional negative impacts rural communities endure when mining operations occur close to town; included is a methodological contribution that scopes sensitive qualitative research design that is important when investigating communities already under duress. 

Extractive resources and emotional geographies: the battle for treasured places in the Gloucester Valley. 

The Engineering group is celebrating the newly conferred Dr Emad Kavehei. 
Emad’s PhD project was focused on the net carbon footprint of green stormwater infrastructure including the greenhouse gases fluxes, denitrification and carbon and nitrogen sequestration potentials in SEQ. He is currently working as a research fellow at the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University.

The following links present the papers that Emad has published from his PhD project so far.

Carbon sequestration potential for mitigating the carbon footprint of green stormwater infrastructure 

Towards the inclusion of greenhouse gas fluxes in the carbon footprint of vegetated WSUD 

Carbon stocks and sequestration of stormwater bioretention/biofiltration basins 

Assessing below-ground carbon and nitrogen accumulation of green infrastructure using machine learning methods, targeting sub-tropical bioretention basins

Huge congratulations and all the very best with your future endeavours Emad.

Congratulations also to newly conferred Dr Kara Rickson and Dr Sikha Karki!

In his spare time, transport PhD candidate Ben Kaufman, opened his first photo gallery to the public. 

Ben is also a prolific blogger and had his blog, "
I probably don't have it" thoughts from a young person who decided to get tested for covid-19. recently re-tweeted by Dr Karl!

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