Email from Griffith University
Cities Research Institute Newsletter
Issue 2 - August 2019

A Message from the Director

Dear Colleagues


It has been a busy few months for me, for the Institute as a whole and for many of our members. I’m pleased to see so many of us are enthusiastic and effective science communicators, willing to engage with a variety of media. It is usually heartening to hear a colleague on the radio describing their work, although sometimes ironic to listen to Matt Burke and members of the Transport Research Group describing the causes of congestion as I sit in my car in slow moving traffic on the M1.

We played a major role in delivering the Young Professionals Forum as part of the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Brisbane in July. With around 170 young professionals from Australia and beyond, including some fantastic Griffith students, we worked through four grand challenges (isn’t everything a grand challenge these days?) facing cities in the Asia-Pacific region. Griffith staff facilitated these discussions and I’m especially grateful to colleagues from the Institute who contributed to the success of the event.

As you can read below, we are involved in a number of Cooperative Research Centre bids and if these come to fruition, we will be very well placed to play an important part in some exciting new research programs focused around cities, coastal economies and water management. These correspond with a number of our research groups, in particular the SeaCities initiative, Coastal Resilience and Water & Waste.

I was pleased to be able to participate in a strategic planning workshop held last week as part of the Vice Chancellor’s Griffith beyond 50 exercise. Malcolm Middleton, the Queensland Government Architect, gave an extremely insightful and thought-provoking introduction that set our campuses in the wider context of South East Queensland and challenged us to think seriously about the contribution of each of our campuses to Griffith’s overall identity and ambitions. It was encouraging to see so many of our colleagues playing the role of long-term, strategic, land use planner and doing so to good effect.

Finally, I will be meeting with the Third Year Review Panel at the end of this month to discuss the report I submitted a few weeks back. I am confident that as a broad-based, multi-disciplinary research Institute that is happy to work in partnership with others in pursuit of scholarly excellence and a common good, we fit comfortably within the emerging Griffith beyond 50 strategy. Once the review process is complete, I hope to share a version of the report with you.

Paul Burton

Director, Cities Research Institute


More successes for Cities RI Academics!

Griffith Centre for Coastal Management celebrates 20 years!
On the 27th of June this year a celebration was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management.

The Centre was originally set up as a formal relationship between the City of Gold Coast and Griffith University with the aim to enhance the sustainability of the Gold Coast’s aquatic environment and coastal regions in general, through targeted research leading to improved coastal management outcomes.  The core funding provided by the City under rolling 5-year agreements has been the catalyst for the development of a recognisable brand, a broader research program and the Centre’s influence nationally and internationally through world-class research, community engagement and advocacy of best practice coastal management. 

Enhanced by the integration in 2017 of the Centre as an autonomous unit within the Cities Research Institute, membership has grown to include 23 Academic and Contract Researchers, 35 PHD students and 23 Adjunct appointments. The Centre’s research programs focus on Coastal Resilience; Marine Science and Engineering and Catchment Processes, with expertise in: Coastal engineering; Physical Oceanography; Environmental Engineering and Science; Geography; Fluvial and Coastal Geomorphology; Marine biology and Coastal Management.

The Centre has been awarded national accolades for the sustained collaboration with the City of Gold Coast; leadership in coastal management and marine/offshore engineering; world-class research into sediment sources impacting the Great Barrier reef, and coastal community engagement and education.

The Centre has been actively involved in national collaborations including the Coastal CRC, NCCARF, the recently established Blue Economy CRC, the Australian Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Settlements and Infrastructure and the Australian Coastal Society.

Over the years the Centre has also hosted numerous delegations from around the world coming to the Gold Coast to observe our coastal research and the City’s management practices, and to be trained in coastal management and climate change adaptation through professional development short courses.

Coastal Managemant 20 years-6127-compressed
Coastal Managemant 20 years-5425 compressed
Coastal Managemant 20 years-5387-compressed
Professor Rodger Tomlinson, Founding Director GCCM Cr Gary Baildon, Prof Rodger Tomlinson, Prof Paul Burton, Mr Alton Twine (City of Gold Coast) Cr Gary Baildon, Mr Alton Twine, 
Prof Rodger Tomlinson, Prof Andrea Bishop, Sen Murray Watt, Prof Andrew Smith

Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre
Griffith University is now a partner in the recently announced Blue Economy CRC. It has been funded to the tune of $70m over the next 10 years (on top of the $258m cash and in-kind from project partners). The project is led by UTas, with contributions from Griffith Uni staff from across the University with CRI being represented by Professor Rodger Tomlinson, Professor Dong-Sheng Jeng and Dr Amir Etemad-Shahidi.

Dr Johanna Nalau has won Griffith University Outstanding Young Alumnus Award 2019 for the Sciences Group. Congratulations Johanna!

Dr Savindi Caldera was awarded the Trimester 1 2019 Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award in the School of Engineering and Built Environment with another four CRI members nominated for the award. Congratulations also to: 
  • Emiliya Suprun
  • Khoa Nguyen Tuan
  • Mahsa Jahandideh Tehrani – PhD student
  • Yuan (Holly) Xu – PhD student
Professor Sherif Mohamed congratulates Dr Savindi Calderea

In the Media
Dr Tony Matthews spoke on the ABC's Ockham's Razor show on 'Why aren't we living in sustainable cities?
Blue sky thinking is a feature of much discussion around the future of our cities — but will it really help us create the sustainable cities of the next century?'. Listen here. Tony's other radio shows forming part of the 2018 PIA award winning Urban Squeeze series can also be revisited here.

A patchwork of City Deals or a national settlement strategy: what’s best for our growing cities?
Prof Paul Burton with colleague Luke Nicolls of UTS, have written a piece for The Conversation on the recent City Deals announced by the Commonwealth Government. What's best for or growing cities? Read The Conversation article here

Third Places
CRI PhD candidate Joanne Dolley discusses the importance of 'Third Places' to build happy and healthy communities. Listen to the ABC Radio National here.

Out and About
Dr Johanna Nalau, ARC DECRA Fellow and Adaptation Science Research Theme Leader at CRI, attended the Subsidiary Body of Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) 50th session in Bonn, Germany, 19.-21.6. as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Dr Nalau presented her research on Limits to Adaptation and Ecosystem-based Adaptation as part of the Research Dialogue day of Research and Systematic Observation agenda and facilitated discussions with the negotiators and scientists on transformational adaptation and research needs and gaps. She also led discussions in the Research and Independent Non-governmental Organisations (RINGO) constituency meeting on the necessity and opportunities for the scientific community to support the UNFCCC processes, and attended also the informal meeting between the SBSTA chair, Paul Watkinson, and research organisations following the Research Dialogue. More information here

In May, Dr Nalau also attended the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA) in Lisbon, Portugal to present her work on limits to adaptation as part of a special session on Limits to Adaptation and Loss and Damage. She also presented her co-authored research on planned community relocation in the Pacific region and how concepts such as vulnerability need to be understood in both the places of departure and end-point destinations in order to support communities in making a planned relocation due to climate change impacts and development challenges. Following ECCA, Dr Nalau also attended the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki, Finland, to better understand the cutting-edge initiatives in this space that support both mitigation and adaptation aspects of transitioning into low carbon economies. 

Back at home, Johanna presented 
at the recent Pint of Science Festival on Climate adaptation in theory and practice.Johanna's research focuses on climate change adaptation. More information can be found on the Adaptation Science page

Dr Johanna Nalau networking SBSTA Poster competition

Griffith University Systems Modelling Group Workshop
In June, the Griffith University Systems Modelling Group in partnership with Cities Research Institute conducted a workshop "Tackling Wicked Problems with Systems Thinking". In attendance were 32 academics, HDR students, and City of Gold Coast officers. Rodney Stewart welcomed participants and promoted the works undertaken to date within the research group. Oz Sahin provided participants with hands-on experience in systems thinking and system dynamics modelling approach. The workshop also featured five-minute pitches from PhD students and early career researchers. This workshop is the first step towards capacity building and research collaboration across academics and industries.

Re-Thinking Third Places - new book out 
Ray Oldenburg’s concept of "third place" is re-visited in this new Edward Elgar book, "Rethinking Third Places. Informal Public Spaces and Community Building", edited by PhD student Joanne Dolley and Assoc. Prof Caryl Bosman (Cities Research Institute). Third place is not your home (first place), not your work (second place), but those informal public places in which we interact with the people in our neighbourhood. This book explains the importance of third places in combating social isolation, improving well-being and building social capital. Through contemporary approaches and new examples of third places, the book explores how they can be incorporated into urban design to offer places of interaction – promoting togetherness in an urbanised world of mobility and rapid change. The book was recently displayed at the Australia and New Zealand Association of Planning Schools (ANZAPS) conference (4&5 July) and Joanne discussed it on Radio Australia on Monday 8 July.

There is a preface by Ray Oldenburg and 11 chapters including: Third Places in the Ether Around Us: Layers on the Real World (Dmitri Williams and Do Own Kim); Third place in transit: public transport as a third place of mobility (Danny O’Hare); and Understanding popular music heritage practice through the lens of ‘Third Place’ (Lauren Istvandity, Sarah Baker, Jez Collins, Simone Driessen, and Catherine Strong).

The book is featured in a Griffith University news story (incl. video)

Chapter 1 is available to download for free and the book can be ordered at Edward Elgar Publishing.

The hidden dangers of urban noise and how to fix them
The Fifth Estate recently published an article interviewing Emeritus Professor Lex Brown on the hidden dangers of urban noise; is it sound or is it noise? Read article 

Adapting to climate change, the priority for Australia
ARC Discovery Research Fellow (2019-2021), Dr Johanna Nalau,  wrote a piece for The Lowy Institute on adapting to climate change, living with extreme weather events, and the many complexities involved
. Read article here

Johanna also co-authored the article '
Disrupting path dependency: Making room for Indigenous knowledge in river management' in the Global Environmental Change Vol 56

Blueprint for an active Australia

The National Heart Foundation's key advocacy report the Blueprint for an Active Australia has been updated with a third edition. Assoc Professor Matt Burke was lead-author for the chapter on Active Travel. 

Previous versions of this document have been instrumental in a series of policy shifts, including the move towards a positive-provision policy for cycling in all Commonwealth funded urban transport projects. 

There’s a looming waste crisis from Australia’s solar energy boom
CRI's Prof Rodney Stewart, Dr Oz Sahin and their HDR student, Hengky Salim delve into the potential solar waste problem due to our growing use of solar panels. Read the Conversation article here.

Our Visitors
Assoc Prof Cheryl Desha with CRI and the School of Engineering and Built Environment co-hosted a visit by Arizona State University  A/Professor Mikhail Chester. The week included a special session with 20 key industry, government and academic colleagues which explored climate resilience in the built environment with a focus on the Queensland context as well as a workshop for HDR students and early career researchers.

Mikhail who is co-leader of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx) focussed discussions around infrastructure as part of complex socio-eco-technical systems. The visit saw the inception of a collaborative research project which is hoped will lead to a larger international project with A/Prof Chester. 

Dr Jozsef Hegedus, Managing Director and Founder of the Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, led a round table discussion on Post-socialist housing regimes in a comparative perspective. Dr Hegedus presented a valuable conceptual framework for the role of housing in today's society. Jozsef also provided an overview of the Hungarian/European experience including analysis of the transition from a socialist housing system to a market-based housing system. This was followed by an engaged discussion with industry and research participants. Jozsef's presentation is available on the CitiesRI Housing page.


And the 2019 Patrick Troy Equity and Sustainability in Australian Cities Prize goes to...
Each year our Institute sponsors the Patrick Troy Equity and Sustainability in Australian Cities Prize in honour of Pat and his immense contributions to urban research, both at Griffith and across Australia. The prize is awarded to the student with the best honours project in the field at Griffith each calendar year. This year's recipient was Sophie Gadaloff who on graduating from Griffith's planning program is now an emerging leader at the consultancy firm AECOM. Prof Andrew Smith (Pro Vice Chancellor, Griffith Sciences) and t
he Institute's Assoc Prof Matthew Burke recently presented Sophie with her award at the annual prizes and awards ceremony.

Sophie Gadaloff- Pat Troy
Professor Andrew Smith and Associate Professor Matthew Burke presenting Sophie Gadaloff with the 2019 Patrick Troy Equity and Sustainability in Australian Cities Award

Congratulations Jasmine Divall - Winner, Woman in Planning Award

Fourth year Griffith University planning student Jasmine Divall has won the inaugural Woman in Planning Award at the recent Minister’s Planning Awards. Recognised for her academic achievements and dedication to planning in Queensland, Ms Divall receives an internship with the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning. 
First year Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning/Bachelor of Science student Ruby Stockham was also named joint winner of the Planning Institute of Australia Student Bursary. 

Five other students won PIA Queensland Student Academic Prizes for their performance at Griffith. See all the winners here. Read the Ministers statement here.

Jasmine Divall
Jasmine Divall receives award from Minister Cameron Dick and 

Member for Keppel and former Queensland Young Planner of the Year Brittany Lauga.

Environmental planning students present to Industry and Government 
Fourth year Urban and Environmental Planning students presented their capstone Strategic Planning Studio projects to industry partners including SEQwater, City of Gold Coast, Logan City Council, Logan Water Infrastructure Alliance and Gold Coast Waterways Authority. Led by Dr. Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes, the students prepared Regional Climate Adaptation Plans for Sustainable Water Management in SEQ. Partners were extremely impressed by the quality work produced by the students as well as their professionalism and presentation skills. Final project reports were distributed to industry partners. If you are interested in looking at the projects contact Aysin.  

Prosper Korah had an article accepted for publication in Land Use Policy, coauthored with supervisors, Dr Tony Matthews and Dr Deanna Tomerini.   Prosper will also present at the State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC) 2019 in Perth later this year.

Characterising spatial and temporal patterns of urban evolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: The case of Accra, Ghana
Rapid urbanisation and globalisation are creating relentless spatial transformation across the globe. There is a growing interest in understanding and conceptualising the emergent and often contested spatial morphologies and typologies in cities as they mediate the competing demands of global and local forces. This paper examines spatial and temporal development patterns in a Sub-Saharan Africa context using Accra, the capital and rapidly growing city of Ghana, as case study and explores the emerging urban form. By classifying Landsat satellite images (1986–2017) and using landscape/spatial metrics to characterise Accra’s spatial development along four concentric rings, we find growing complexity and fragmented spatial growth patterns in Accra. Despite the spatial fragmentation, a Contiguity Index of 0.64, 0.49 and 0.56 for 1986, 2000, and 2017 respectively show that Accra’s urban form is not amorphous nor polycentric but monocentric. The study demonstrates that using landscape metrics to characterise spatial development patterns under buffer zones leads to better understanding of the temporal and changing form of the city under various conditions. We reflect on the implications of these findings for urban policy and planning in Accra and other similar Sub-Saharan African cities.

Planning to improve mental health
Professor Paul Burton's former Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning (Hons) student, Kobi Lane, presented his research findings on depressogenic built environments - the relationship between mental health and human-made surroundings. Kobi spoke to the topic at a recent PIA QLD seminar, 'Planning to improve Mental Health'. Kobi explained in an article in the Scenic Rim Regional Council newsletter "the seminar will explore how urban living affects mental health and happiness, and factors such as demographics, lifestyle and health, and environmental stressors affect anxiety and depression. Examples of environmental stressors include noise, heat and light that may push you over the edge."

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

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