Email from Griffith University
Cities Research Institute Newsletter
Issue 1 - March 2019

A Message from the Director

Dear Colleagues


I’m not sure there is ever an especially quiet time of the year in a modern university, but things seems exceptionally hectic at present.  As I write this, we’re already in Week Three of T1 and the students wandering around our campuses look slightly less befuddled than they did two weeks ago.  In the future their befuddlement might be further reduced as we’ve begun some preliminary discussions about the possibility of one of our campuses serving as the site of a pilot scheme to run an Autonomous Vehicle shuttle service around the campus.  It also looks likely that we might develop a research collaboration with an electric scooter company about to carry out a trial in a northern city.  The cultural significance of electric scooters was confirmed to me last week when the magnificent Eddie Izzard opened his set in Brisbane by referring – in his distinctive style – to the joy of zooming around South Bank on a Lime scooter. 

We are also hitting deadline time for a number of funding regimes, with DECRAs going in at present, including three from members of the Institute.  And I’m very pleased to welcome to the CRI, Dr Johanna Nalau who was awarded a DECRA in the last round, to look at ways in which resilience to climate change can be improved in Australia.  Johanna will be leading a new research theme focussed on adaptation science and I expect a number of colleagues will be keen to explore how to bring their disciplinary expertise to bear on better use of science in policy development.

I had the pleasure of joining our new Vice Chancellor, Professor Carolyn Evans, at the formal launch last week of the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors’ Forum.  Once again Griffith University is a major sponsor of this event which is expected to bring over 1000 delegates to Brisbane at the start of July, including over 100 young professionals participating in the Young Professionals Forum.  Professor Caitlin Byrne, Director of the Griffith Asia Institute and I will be organising this Forum which focuses on mobility, sustainability, liveability and innovation in cities.  Look out for further announcements about opportunities to get involved in this important event.  I know many of you are also working on bringing other major academic conferences in your fields to Queensland – something I greatly appreciate.  Please keep on taking these opportunities to promote our work and expertise to a wider audience.

As the Institute is now in its third year, we will be enjoying the opportunities provided by a Third Year Review.  This involves us submitting a written report of our activities and achievements over the last three years and setting out our ambitions for the coming years.  Alongside a Griffith review panel, a number of outside academics will also comment on our plans and performance.  The process should be complete by early September and I am confident that our achievements to date will be highly regarded and that we will receive valuable feedback on our future plans. 

Paul Burton

Director, Cities Research Institute


Awards Abound for Cities RI Academics!
Dr Tony Matthews was recently honoured by being appointed a National Ambassador for Planet Ark. This voluntary advocacy role places him alongside a stellar and varied group of other ambassadors, including Costa from Gardening Australia! Tony is really looking forward to contributing to Planet Ark's mission of uniting people, businesses and governments through positive environmental actions.

Emeritus Professor Lex Brown was honoured at the 2018 PIA Awards by being awarded as a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia. 
The citation read:

Lex has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the planning profession in general and to planning education and planning research in particular. Lex has played an active and positive role for more than 30 years in shaping the planning profession by his commitment to excellence and the promotion of quality planning outcomes both within Australia and internationally.

Lex is highly regarded by his peers and is regularly sought to participate in the development and review of key planning policy matters particularly in the environmental planning area.

One achievement from a life time of achievements would be his pivotal role along with Professor Darryl Low Choy in the establishment of the School of Environmental Planning at Griffith University in 1995. His initial foresight and his careful and thoughtful stewardship of this program as foundation Head of School underpinned the quality of the program and its current highly regarded reputation both within Australia and internationally.

Lex’s contribution to planning education has also seen him participate in numerous academic undertakings at a wide variety of government and non-government organisations throughout the world particularly in the Asian region.

It is difficult to think of a more worthy recipient of the honour of being elevated to FELLOW of the Planning Institute of Australia.

Lex also spoke to ABC Radio last October on 'Noise Pollution: It's bad for our health'

Dr Heather Shearer et al were also acknowledged at the PIA Awards with a commendation in the 'Best Planning Ideas- Small Project' category for the publication A Place for Tiny Houses, Exploring the Possibilities - Tiny House Planning Resource for Australia 2017 whilst Planning students Aidan Brotherton and Sophie Badaloff were part of a team receiving a commendation in the category of Outstanding Student Project- University for The Critical Infrastructure Plan: Climate Change Adaptation in South East Queensland.

In the Media
Professor Paul Burton spoke to the ABC on the accelerated expansion of public transport on the Gold Coast which may be a model for other regional areas in Australia. Read article here

A/Prof Matthew Burke and PhD student Benjamin Kaufman wrote about the trial of e-scooters in the Conversation titled: 
Limes not lemons: lessons from Australia’s first e-scooter sharing trial. This article was also re-printed in the Brisbane Times.

A/Prof Cheryl Desha with Dr Savindi Caldera and a team of undergraduate students continued their work with Rocky Point 'Turning food waste into Garden Treasure with an article being included on the CitySmart website.

The recently celebrated International Women's Day saw CRI Members Dr Johanna Nalau and Maggie Muurmans' (of GCCM), work acknowledged in a 'We Are GC' article dedicated to some of the leading women on the Gold Coast working in the environmental and sustainability areas. Read article here.

Out and About

Institute members Dr Barbara Yen and A/Prof Matthew Burke both journeyed to the Transportation Research Board conference in January 2019, which is the world's largest transport conference, held annually in Washington, D.C.. After being delayed by a blizzard, Barbara successfully presented the paper "Different Stories from Different Approaches in Evaluating Property Value Uplift". This is the latest in a series of articles out of the 'Funding on the Line' Australian Research Council Linkage Project. Matthew presented a paper from Nowar Raad's PhD research on Pedestrian Levels-of-Service measurement, to help city's measure the quality of their footpaths and pedestrian environments, reporting on workshops with experts in Brisbane City, and a survey of 300 pedestrians. The Cities Research Institute sponsored and helped host the Australian Universities' Reception at the conference, attended by approximately 140 delegates from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In addition, Matthew visited the University of Toronto and the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) on his trip. 180 people came to hear him speak on Smart Cities at a ticketed evening event in Toronto put on by the university. In Montreal he caught up with our Endeavour Fellow of 2017-2018, A/Prof Ugo Lachapelle. Matthew, Ugo and the Institute's Dr Abraham Leung are continuing to collaborate on last-mile logistics and are about to complete their second paper on the Australia Post parcel locker system. 

Matt Burke re size(2) Matt Burke re size(1)
Matthew Burke and Ugo Lachapelle catching up in Montreal, Canada

An autonomous vehicle for delegates to ride at the Transportation Research Board conference

In December 2018 A/Prof Leigh Shutter travelled to Shanghai as a guest of the Landscape Architecture Department of Tongji University to provide expertise and commence work, as part of a three year project, to map and explore innovative digital approaches for the conservation of traditional Chinese gardens. Working with Professor Fran Han and Assistant Professor Chen Yang surveys were undertaken of gardens in Yangzhou and Shanghai utilising Griffith’s Leica BLK360 laser scanner and aerial photogrammetry techniques. 

The Yu Garden in Shanghai was first developed in the mid 16th century during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan. Over the last nearly 500 years the garden has at times suffered from damage and neglect, and then been restored and revitalised. It is today one of the most visited cultural heritage sites and tourist attractions in Shanghai.

Yuhua Hall and rockery are shown below in this point cloud image taken from the laser scan. The survey provides the first dimensionally accurate archival record of this significant rockery and pavilion.
Leigh Shutter re size(1)
Leigh Shutter re size (3)
Leigh Shutter re size (2)

Dr Tony Matthews
will be speaking at the World Science Festival Brisbane on Friday, March 22  as part of the ABC Live Science Podcast
 series. Tony's talk is entitled, "Why aren’t we living in sustainable cities and will we ever?". It will later be broadcast nationally by ABC Radio National on Ockham's Razor. Tickets for the event are free but limited.

Climate Crisis Talks
Griffith Centre for Coastal Management Director, Professor Rodger Tomlinson, GCCRP Director, Professor Brendan Mackey & GIFT Director, Susanne Becken, recently met with  a delegation of German politicians led by Claudia Roth, the Vice-President of the German Bundestag (and co-chair of the Green party in Germany for many years).  The meeting took place in Brisbane in February to discuss climate crisis – recognising the difference between response and resilience, appreciating the role of economic solutions for ecological problems, broadening the discussion beyond technological solutions to transformational impact and recognising that the climate crisis will further amplify the global shift of people.

Rodger re sized

Cities RI was proud to be a sponsor at the 25th Australasian Conference on Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM25) held in Brisbane in December 2018. Professor Hong Guan and Dr Hassan Karampour presented a paper on Bending Capacity of Pipe-in-pipe Systems Subjected to External Pressure at the conference.

ACMSM25BRISBANE2018-hassan resize
ACMSM25-HOng resized
Hassan Karampour and Hong Guan Hong Guan


Cities RI member publishes in top journal of energy field
Cities RI member Dr Fan Zhang, Lecturer in Architectural Science and colleagues from University of Sydney and University of Central Florida have recently published a literature review paper entitled “Effects of moderate thermal environments on cognitive performance: A multidisciplinary review” in the high-impact journal Applied Energy. This paper has reviewed hundreds of research evidences from multiple disciplines including architectural science, psychology, physiology, ergonomics, neuroscience, sports science, medical science, learning and instructional design, and human-technology interaction, casting doubts on the commonly misunderstood belief that maximum office productivity can only be achieved at a single optimum indoor temperature.

Tiny Houses a Hit
In January, Dr Heather Shearer published an article "Life in a tiny house: what it's like and how it can be made better" in The Conversation
. The article, based on her ongoing research, was about the lived experience of people in tiny houses-both positive and negative. It was Griffith University’s most read article in January, and is currently Griffith’s 21st most read overall article (approx. 81,000 readers). Heather's next most recent article,"Interest in tiny houses is growing, so who wants them and why?" is 13th most read overall (122,500 reads).

Yan Kuang, Barbara T.H. Yen, Emiliya Suprun, Oz Sahin recently published an article in the highly ranked Journal of Environmental Management, titled "A soft traffic management approach for achieving environmentally sustainable and economically viable outcomes: An Australian case study" View article here

Abstract: Transport infrastructural strain is a pressuring issue for the urbanised world due to the increasing demand for public transport. Transport operators, planners and policymakers are constantly searching for low-cost solutions to such transport issues. Therefore, it is critical to developing an environmentally sustainable and economically viable efficient traffic network to relieve traffic pressure (i.e., traffic congestion, transport infrastructure investment needs). The objective of this research is to propose a “Soft Traffic Management (STM)” concept to proactively analyse the traffic impact of transport planning strategy before implementation. This study investigates the effectiveness of a STM for easing the traffic pressure by carrying out a pilot research project on the proposed South East Busway extension in Logan City, Australia, by employing a stepwise process consisting of a multi-stage analysis and stakeholder-based modelling approach. The results indicate that the extended busway can significantly relieve traffic congestion. In addition, the proposed strategy has significantly positive impacts on the environment since it aims to reduce air pollution and fuel consumption as well as to improve the safety and efficiency of the whole transport system. This study confirms the effects of STM on improving the use of existing infrastructure more efficiently and deferring future transport infrastructure investments.

Emiliya also celebrates the milestone of becoming Dr Emiliya Suprun! Emiliya is continuing at Griffith and is involved in a research project devoted to developing a digital asset information model framework for water sector as well as lecturing.


Environmental Health (Hons) student wins "Michael R Moore Memorial Honours Award" for 2019
Bachelor of Environmental Health (Hons) student, Dean Mensinga, who is the recipient of a WaterRA Honours scholarship sponsored By SeqWater was also awarded the prestigious, nationally-competitive "Michael R Moore Memorial Honours Award" for 2019 from Water Research Australia.  His honours project is focused on modelling potential human health risks associated with stormwater harvesting & reuse."  Cities RI Assoc. Prof. Anne Roiko and Dr. Andrew Watkinson from SeqWater supervise Dean.

Katharina Gutjahr-Holland, an environmental health student and also supervised by A/Professor Anne Roiko,  was able to take up an offer of a 5-week internship over trimester 3 at the Technologiezentrum Wasser (TZW), German Water Centre, in Karlsruhe, Germany with Professor Andreas Tiehm  and Dr. Claudia Stange .  This followed the establishment of a research memorandum between Griffith University and TZW facilitated by Cities RI.  Katharina was taught advanced microbiological and molecular biological techniques for the detection and risk assessment of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in various water samples. 

AI for Earth Azure Award Winners
Two Griffith student PhD researchers have been awarded a prestigious artificial intelligence “AI for Earth” Azure Award from Microsoft to access data to develop below and above ground carbon interchange model of green stormwater infrastructure in our cities.

Emad Kavehei is in his final year of studies within Cities Research Institute (CRI), supervised by Dr Graham Jenkins, Dr Fernanda Adame and Prof. Charles Lemckert. Abdul Karim is in his first year of studies within Griffith’s Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems, supervised by Prof. Abdul Sattar.

“Traditionally, we monitor a few influencing factors of soil carbon accumulation while we know that there are more factors involved,” Mr Kavehei said. “Microsoft is supporting this project which builds on my PhD studies, to create and deploy an open source model to predict the below-ground carbon content based on above ground image data”.

“We believe integrating different levels of relevant data with the state of the art AI methods would better enable us to predict the urban carbon budget,” co-recipient Mr Karim said.

Terrestrial carbon storage in soil accounts for more than 65 per cent of global carbon which makes it a recognized strategy for climate change mitigation. However, there is a little understanding of the carbon storage in urban areas. Green stormwater infrastructure such as bioretention basins are normal features of an urban landscape. These aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems have a great potential to capture and sequester carbon within below-ground media.

By the end of 2019, Emad and Abdul will access Microsoft’s data to create computer vision and Artificial Intelligence-based solutions for analysing and predicting the carbon sequestration potential of such bioretention basins.

They intend for their work, as part of Cities RI’s Digital Earth and Green Infrastructure Group, to have immediate application in predicting and quantifying the benefit of similar green infrastructure installations within sandy loam soils, for capturing atmospheric carbon.

For more details about this project, please contact Emad Kavahei

Emad and Karim
Emad Kavehei
Emad and Abdul amongst new vegetation Example of vegetated storm water drainage

Griffith University Cities Research Institute
p: +61 7 555 27269
Nathan Campus - Sir Samuel Griffith Building (N78),level 3, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan QLD 4111
Gold Coast Campus - Building G51, Bridge Lane, off Edmund Rice Drive, Gold Coast QLD 4222

Facebook Icon
Twitter Icon
YouTube Icon
Instagram Icon
LinkedIn Icon
News Icon
This email was sent by Cities Research Institute, Griffith University.
To unsubscribe from receiving Cities Research Institute Newsletters please reply with 'Unsubscribe' in the subject field.
Nathan | Gold Coast | Mt Gravatt | Logan | South Bank
Privacy policy | Copyright matters | Contact us
CRICOS Provider - 00233E