Cities Research Institute Newsletter
Issue 3 - December 2020
A Message from the Director
I write to you from the shed at the bottom of my garden at my home on Tamborine Mountain, where I have spent much of this year while working from home.  The sun is shining again after a weekend of torrential rain and high winds that have seen many of our beaches badly affected.  A year ago, we were suffering the consequences of drought, abnormally high temperatures and again strong winds that turned any spark into a bushfire - and the iconic Binna Burra lodge on the adjoining mountain was lost.  In between times we have experienced a pandemic and its social and economic impacts, the like of which has not really been seen for over a century.

While Australia has escaped the worst impacts through a combination of luck and good planning, people living in our major cities, especially Melbourne, have been badly affected.  Unsurprisingly this has prompted much speculation and commentary about the decline of cities, the death of CBDs and the resurgence of peripheral suburbs and regional towns.  In this climate, the value of thoughtful, evidence-based and rigorous research is ever more important.  And I am pleased to say that the CRI continues to produce a very wide range of excellent work about all aspects of cities, city life and urban development processes and some of our recent work is described in more detail in this newsletter.

Griffith University has now finalised its Roadmap to Sustainability and this has no negative consequences for the CRI, although we will be losing some members through early retirement.  I would like to publicly acknowledge the tremendous contributions of Professor Rodger Tomlinson and Professor Sherif Mohamed.  Rodger has led the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management for over twenty years, establishing its reputation as one of the leading research centres in this field in Australia, with a growing international profile.  Sherif has led research in civil engineering, especially in infrastructure planning and management for decades and was most recently the Head of the School of Engineering and Built Environment.  Both Rodger and Sherif will shortly become Emeritus Professors and continue their association with Griffith and the CRI.
We welcome a number of new Adjunct appointments, including Professor David Jones, formerly of Deakin University, who continues to collaborate with Emeritus Professor Darryl Low Choy; Dr Elnaz Torabi who returns to the City of Gold Coast to lead their work on integrated water planning and Dr Peter Daniels, long time Griffith environmental economist who continues to collaborate with various members and co-supervise PhD candidates.

I trust the last year has not been too unsettling for you and I look forward to working with you in the coming year.  We are planning some exciting new, large scale and multi-faceted research initiatives and I will share details of these in the new year.

With very best wishes

Paul Burton
Director, Cities Research Institute

Vale Associate Professor Eddo Coiacetto

Eddo (2)
Eddo Coiacetto joined Griffith University in 1997 and was quickly recognised as one of our most thoughtful and passionate planning educators.  Deeply committed to ensuring our planning students had a sound understanding of planning practice when they graduated, he also filled their heads with idealistic notions of the public good and what planning could do to advance it.  His book on understanding land development remains an invaluable source of sensible knowledge for planners and he also led the way in transforming work experience for students from a rather mundane appendage into a critical component of their professional and intellectual development: it is a testament to his work that this approach is now an essential and valued component of virtually all accredited planning programs in Australia. 

Eddo was a pleasure to work with, his dry and quirky humour and willingness to help any colleague who needed it was much appreciated at Griffith and it was our loss when he retired early in 2017.  Eddo kept his connection with Griffith as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the CRI and in his last email to me said emphatically that he was ‘down but not out’.  Eddo’s recent death is a cause of great sadness to us all, but we will ensure his spirit lives on in the education of planners at Griffith.

Research highlights
Research Project wins two National and two State Awards of Excellence

Re-casting Terra Nullius Blindness: Empowering Indigenous Protocols and Knowledge in Australian University Built Environment Education by Professor David Jones MPIA, Emeritus Professor Darryl Low Choy RPIA (Fellow), Associate Professor Grant Revell, Associate Professor Scott Heyes, Associate Professor Richard Tucker & Dr Susan Bird.
Project Funders: Office for Learning and Teaching (now Department of Education and Training)

Planning Institute of Australia: National Awards for Planning Excellence 2020
2020 Winner -- Cutting Edge Research and Teaching Category
(For outstanding achievement in planning scholarship, research or teaching)

The project comprehensively reviewed Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Australian built environment professionally accredited courses.

These included urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture. The review identified major gaps in university and professional institute policy comprehension, policy execution and rhetoric, and major contrasting values and expectations by students, academics, practitioners and professional institute representatives. These uncertainties, mixed messages, failures to execute and a general lack of knowledge and expertise are a significant concern. To address these challenges, the research makes far reaching recommendations and includes a resource guide for educators to aid and enhance the scaffolding of Indigenous Knowledge Systems to facilitate policy change within universities and professional institutes.

This substantial research into professional education makes an outstanding contribution to the understanding of this important issue, which is highly relevant to planning in Australia. The work demonstrates how evidence-based research can provide a strong basis for fundamental change to policy and practice, extending across university education, accreditation criteria and practice. The project represents innovation in its appraisal of the nature and quality of professionals’ understanding of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and goes on to offer clear recommendations that can scaffold change within courses and professional institution education. It also recognises existing excellence in indigenous engagement and respect, including continuing indigenous oversight of the project, while engaging with a variety of agencies and accrediting bodies. The resulting Report now represents a valuable resource base, while the Education Guide informs, aids and facilitates positive change in university education.

This research was also recognised with the following awards:

Planning Institute of Australia: State Awards for Planning Excellence 2019 Victoria
2019 Winner -- Cutting Edge Research and Teaching Category

(This Award recognises an outstanding achievement in planning scholarship, research or teaching. It is awarded for a substantial piece of research or a planning education program which makes an outstanding contribution to the understanding of issues relating to planning in Australia.)

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects: National Landscape Architecture Awards 2019
2019 Award of Excellence -- Research, Policy and Communications Category
(Projects in this category include published works in research and or practice that extend the knowledge base and advocacy of landscape architecture)

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects: State (Victoria) Landscape Architecture Awards 2019 
2019 Award of Excellence -- Research, Policy and Communications Category

Darryl Low-Choy

Huge congratulations E. Professor Low-Choy et al!
Assoc. Professor Andrew Brooks and his team have been awarded substantial funding for two projects from the GBRF Innovation Funds.

1. Led by Assoc Prof. Andrew Brooks with Dr James Daley, Mr John Spencer, and partners Fugro.  This project titled " Extracting river bank and gully data from the Qld Power Grid" will target a major missing data component needed for reducing the fine sediment erosion degrading Queensland rivers and the Reef. A partnership between Griffith University and Fugro is providing unprecedented access to 620 Tb of privately-held data collected for powerline asset management spanning the GBR catchments, equivalent to 71 years of continuous Netflix streaming.

Novel techniques in data handling will re-purpose this big dataset for landscape analyses to measure and monitor riverbank and gully erosion. Unlocking this information will provide a technological breakthrough to significantly improve our ability to identify, quantify and prioritise erosion sites for Reef-wide water quality management. Project value is $350K

2. As a collaboration with Greening Australia and DES in a project titled "Understanding nutrient export from remediated gully systems".  The bulk of this project will be undertaken by the Griffith team which will be led by Dr Nicholas Doriean, who will be working closely with Dr Will Bennett, Dr Tim Pietsch and Dr Alex Garcon-Garcia from Qld Govt. Dept Environment and Science (who is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at PrESM).  This project builds on NESP research that the PrESM Research group has been undertaking at Strathalbyn Station in the lower Burdekin for the last 4 years in collaboration with Greening Australia. Griffith Component value ~ $200K

Brooks Bowen river
Brooks fugro
Overview of the Bowen River, a major GBR erosion hotspot, showing a large alluvial gully complex adjacent to the river.  The quantification of channel and gully erosion with the Fugro lidar data will be the key outcome of this project (photo Andrew Brooks)
An example of some of the Fugro-ROAMES lidar terrain data that will be produced in this project.

Dr Tony Matthews was recently awarded a SAP (strategic adaptation priority) grant by the Queensland Government. It is in partnership with Sunshine Coast University. Dr Chris Boulton, a CRI adjunct member, will be working as a Research Fellow while they carry out the research. The project involves providing leadership and capacity building in the aged care sector on climate adaptation. They will develop sector-specific heat adaptation plans at Uniting Care facilities in Queensland. Planning for green infrastructure (GI) will be a key focus and data collection will involve Smart technology. Research will involve testing the wider feasibility and applicability of the process through sector-wide workshops. Reducing heat in aged care facilities will have health, economic and social benefits. 

Congratulating Dr Dominic Ong who recently attained the status of Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) UK, after passing the examination. Dominic is only the third academic to have achieved this grade of fellowship in the School of Engineering and Built Environment.
Seacities book coverSeaCities: Urban Tactics for Sea-Level Rise
Dr Joerg Baumeister, Dr Edoardo Bertone, Professor Paul Burton. Springer


Current urban adaptation methods to Sea-level rise (SLR) derive mostly from technical- and economic-driven risk-management. It does not consider opportunities created by the complexity of cities which include social, productive, cultural, and ecological components. This chapter explores this research gap by reflecting known adaptation methods onto individual urban components. It focuses on the creation of opportunities resulting in a systematics that provides 20 urban adaptation tactics. These different tactics can be either applied individually or combined to strategies to achieve made-to-measure solutions. Compared to current adaptation methods, the tactics are expected to enable solutions which are more adaptable to specific challenges and locations. Thereby the tactics provide the additional potential to offset expenditures of SLR and to be more city, citizen, and environmentally friendly.
Transport Team News

Matthew Burke, Abraham Leung, Benjamin Kaufman and Murray Henman from the transport research team have just presented the first Covid-safe Transport Academic Partnership showcase of their work to officers across the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR). With only a few officers allowed to view the presentations from Griffith, QUT and UQ in person, the event was live-streamed to around 150 staff across the agency. Videos highlighting the research of three of our PhD students (Yiping Yan, Sheida Abdoli and Benjamin Kaufman) were also sent out to staff. From the resulting contacts, a number of new projects are being proposed for the Griffith team to consider within the 2021-2022 work program, under our agreement with TMR and the Motor Accident and Insurance Commission.

Matt- TMR Dec 20
L to R: Matt Burke, Abraham Leung, Benjamin Kaufman

Parks and Leisure Australia 2020 Award of Excellence for Research

On 30 October at their National Awards of Excellence 2020, Parks and Leisure Australia awarded their Research of the Year Award to CRI’s Dr Chris Boulton of The CityGreen Lab for the journal article, ‘Factors shaping urban greenspace provision: A systematic review of the literature’, written in collaboration with CRI's Dr Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes and Prof. Jason Byrne (University of Tasmania). As an empirically-led research article exploring the scholarly literature using the Systematic Quantitative Literature Review (SQLR) method examining what factors shape the provision of urban greenspace – specifically parks, it offers a simple conceptual model that communicates the identified factors and their complex relationships, to broad and diverse audiences.

As a comprehensive approach, it facilitated assessment of multiple variables (e.g. urban settlement type and scale, population growth, urban form) across locations, time, and subjects. As a structured approach, the SQLR method supported exploring the points of convergence, divergence and the gaps in scholarly research. Informing this research, journal articles were therefore sourced systematically from a database of international academic literature for the purpose of preparing a synthesis of patterns, similarities, differences and knowledge gaps, concerning the factors that shape urban greenspace provision. Since it’s publication (October 2018) in Landscape and Urban Planning - one of the world’s top-ranking planning journals – it has achieved 40 citations (Google Scholar, 10 November 2020). The  article as a research product, is both significant and important in that it reveals the scholarly and public demands for more urban greenspace provision and demonstrates the international influence and application of approaches.

The leading author, Dr Chris Boulton initially established The CityGreen Lab whilst undertaking her PhD in the first instance to explore, showcase, influence and inspire better provision of urban greenspace via a regular blog. Since completing her PhD in 2019, and now an Adjunct Research Fellow with CRI, Chris has also returned to professional practice as a consulting greenspace practicing academic via The CityGreen Lab.  Providing a range of services supporting better urban greenspace provision including independent design review, greenspace management and safety auditing. The CityGreen Lab collaborates with landscape architects, planners and like-minded built environment professionals, leading municipal urban greenspace provision projects.

Factors shaping urban greenspace provision: A systematic review of the literature

TCGL - PLA AOE 2020 WINNER_Boulton

Dr Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes
has been appointed by the Minister of Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey to the Board of Directors of Gold Coast Waterways Authority.

Dr Savindi Caldera was one of the panellists at the recently held GHD live webinar miniseries which discussed key aspects on how to create a circular economy around organics in Australia. Savindi was a panellist in the Organics webinar on How to introduce cost effective organic services in QLD.

As part of its long-standing research partnership with the Economy, Planning and Environment Directorate of the City of Gold Coast, Dr Heather Shearer successfully delivered this year's survey of pedestrian and cycling activity within the Gold Coast Light Rail corridor, with the help of students from our Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning program.  This provides valuable data for council as it finalises detailed plans for extending the light rail to the airport.

Final year students from this program have also just commenced another collaborative research project with council, to investigate the 20 shopping centres identified in the City Plan. This will involve students working with Dr Heather Shearer and Prof Paul Burton and council planners to better understand and assess the quality of the public realm in these centres so that planning policies can be updated.

Dr Cara Beal leads a research team who were recently awarded a competitive tender valued at USD$40,000 from the World Health Organisation for the project: Climate Resilient Sanitation in the south-east Asian region Beal, CD (CI); Powell, B; Onyango, E; Sahin, O; Rutherford, S; Gonzalez-Botero, D; Hadwen, W.  

Professor Paul Burton was recently re-elected to the Queensland Division Committee of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), where he is now the Vice President, alongside President Shannon Batch and continues to serve as a member of PIA's National Education Committee.

Paul also joined a group of QLD science experts contributing to a new video created by the Department of Environment and Science, published on the QLD government website. Queensland Science making a difference in the Tropics

In the Media

Beware new home buyers! Dr Tony Matthews explains how the portrayal of glamourous new housing estates is not all it's cracked up to be. Read more 
Griffith Celebrates World Food Day
Dr Kimberley Reis spoke to Griffith Sciences Impact about her project on Local Food Resilience and Contingency. Read the article here

Regional Australia's time has come
Dr Tony Matthews article in The Conversation highlights the need for regional cities benefitting from expanding populations to start planning strategically for long-term growth. Read article here
One of Australia's most famous beaches is disappearing and storms aren't to blame writes a group of GCCM researchers looking into the disappearing sand at Byron Bay's Main Beach. Read The Conversation article here
Figure created by Ana Paula da Silva

Dr Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes recently participated in an arts project on the Gold Coast called Hear, Here which is a pop-up picnic radio station that reveals new perspectives of a particular place to the listener, thematically inspired by the water, land and stories of the site on which it is created. The project focused on Evandale Park where HOTA is located and the views of the city that can be seen from there, but also explores the Gold Coast city and region in general. The audience were given short wave radios on arrival and were able to listen to pre-recorded interviews about the place at the place. 
Aysin hear here

Professor Scott Baum
has spoken to various media outlets of late:

What the QLD Treasurer doesn't want to tell you about our jobless figures, InQueensland
One-size-fits-all promises won't save electorates, Brisbane Times
Prosperity and Distress: The Socio-Economic Vitality of Queensland Electorates,
Hi-vis haute couture impossible to miss, but not always the ideal fit, InQueensland​
Queensland votes: Week 2, Griffith University 2020 QLD Election Analysis

Dr Johanna Nalau and Assoc. Professor Michael Howes formed a panel at the October Skepticon Convention on A supercharged climate: Grand challenges of adaptation in Australia
Photos from the field: these magnificent whales are adapting to warming water, but how much can they take? Read more on Dr Olaf Meyneke's research in The Conversation

Dr Olaf Meyneke 

Olaf has recently deployed a ‘hi-tech whale phone’ in Gold Coast waters to better understand the tail of the whale migration season. Olaf stated "The data will provide new insights into the social activities of whales in the Gold Coast Bay and help us better understand how they use this area." Read more here
Welcoming new Adjuncts
Adjuncts play an important role in the research, teaching and learning, and service of the University.Some of the activities undertaken by our Adjuncts include occasional teaching in guest lectures and seminars, engagement in research partnerships between the University and other organisations, mentoring students, and advising on the development of research programs or courses and programs. In the last 6 months we have welcomed the following adjuncts to the CRI:

- Dr David Jones holds strong collaboration ties with Emeritus Professor Darryl Low Choy in the space of climate change adaptation and indigenous planning research.
- Dr Michael Forster, Director, Edaphic Scientific Pty Ltd is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow working closely with Dr Ruby Michaels in the area of appropriate design of soil, substrate and soilless media for the long-term reinstatement of living plants and trees.
- Ms Leah Lang works in planning and has had strong ties with the CRI planners.
- Dr Elnaz Torabi who we sadly farewell as a staff member. Elnaz leaves us to take on the role of Integrated Water Planning Lead at the City of Gold Coast. Thankfully Elnaz will continue to work with us as an Adjunct Research Fellow.

New Publications
Emerging themes of public-private partnership application in developing smart city projects: a conceptual framework. Tingting Liu, Sherif Mostafa, Sherif Mohamed, Tuan Son Nguyen Built Environment Project and Asset Management ISSN: 2044-124X Publication date: 13 November 2020

Digital engineering for resilient road infrastructure outcomes: Evaluating critical asset information requirements.
Savindi Caldera, Sherif Mohamed, Sherif Mostafa, Cheryl Desha. Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems ARTICLE IN PRESS (volume and issue assigned later)

Dedekorkut-Howes, A., E. Torabi, and M. Howes
. 2020. Planning for a Different Kind of Sea Change: Lessons from Australia for Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding. Climate Policy.

Robust Strategy for Assessing the Costs of Urban Drainage System Designs under Climate Change Scenarios. MA Medeiros de Saboia, FA de Souza Filho, F Helfer, LZR Rolim Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 146 (11), 05020022 2020

Life cycle cost of dilution desalination in off-grid locations: A study of water reuse integrated with seawater desalination technology
. P Pazouki, RA Stewart, E Bertone, F Helfer, N Ghaffour Desalination 491, 114584 2020

A comparison of particle swarm optimization and genetic algorithm for daily rainfall-runoff modelling: a case study for Southeast Queensland, Australia
. M Jahandideh-Tehrani, G Jenkins, F Helfer Optimization and Engineering, 1-22

Vieira, L.,
S. Serrao-Neumann, M. Howes. 2020. Daring to build fair and sustainable urban food systems: A case study of alternative food networks in Australia. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

Dedekorkut-Howes, A., E. Torabi, M. Howes
. 2020. When the tide gets high: A review of adaptive responses to sea level rise and coastal flooding. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 63(12), 2102-2143,On-line

Vieira da Silva, G., Hamilton, D., Murray, T., Strauss, D., Shaeri, S., Faivre, G., Silva, A.P., Tomlinson, R., 2020. Impacts of a Multi-Purpose Artificial Reef on Hydrodynamics, Waves and Long-Term Beach Morphology. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 95. Coconut Creek (Florida)

Silva, A.P.; Woortmann, L.G.; Vieira da Silva, G., Murray, T.; Strauss, D. and Tomlinson, R., 2020. A 90-year Morphodynamic Analysis in Southern Queensland (Australia). Journal of Coastal Research, SI 95. Coconut Creek (Florida)

Strauss, D., Vieira da Silva, G., da Silva, A. P., Murray, T., Faivre, G. and Wharton, C., 2020. Process based modelling of a nearshore nourishment. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 95. Coconut Creek (Florida)

Faivre, G., Vieira da Silva, G., Aimbie, J., Ware, D., Tomlinson, R., Mackey, B., and Hong, Z., 2020. Coastal processes within a coral reef lagoon system: Erakor lagoon, Efate Island, Vanuatu. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 95. Coconut Creek (Florida)

Book Chapter:
Klein, A., Vieira da Silva, G., Taborda, R., da Silva, A., Short, A., 2020. Headland Bypassing and Overpassing: Form, Processes and Applications. In: Jackson, D. and Short, A. Sandy Beach Morphodynamics. Elsevier, 2020


EcoSummit 2021
- Building a Sustainable and Desirable Future: Adapting to a changing land and seascape

Dr Jan-Olaf Meyneke is a Co-Chair for the EcoSummit 2021 being held on 14 - 18 June. This is a major international congress for all scientists and practitioners working on topics related to sustainability. The conference series was founded in 1996 in Copenhagen, as a forum for scientists, practitioners, and policy-makers working across disciplines to solve the integrated environmental, social, and economic problems facing the world today.
EcoSummit 2021 will have a focus on coastal and marine ecosystems including adjacent terrestrial ecosystems and all habitats that are integrated within those ecosystems, including river networks, wetlands and catchments. EcoSummit 2021 information can be found here

GC Skyline -0018 - Copy


Would you or someone you know like to study with us? Go to our PhD research projects page, something may spark your interest!

PhD candidate, Prosper Korah is lead author of the Science Direct article Assembling Accra through new city imaginary: Land ownership, agency, and relational complexity
Prosper Issahaku Kora, Tony Matthews, Natalie Osborne


Towards a new vernacular

SeaCities PhD student Despina Linaraki co-authored this article which explores seven indigenous aquatic technologies that adapt to sea-level rise and floods: the aquaculture technology of the Javanese in China known as Sawah Tambak, the multi-functional Mulberry Dyke and Fish Ponds in Huzhou, China, the Asi Asi artificial Islands of the Malaitan at Solomon Islands, the Al Tahla Floating Islands of the Ma’dan, Iraq, the Totora Reed Floating Islands of the Uros, Peru, the floating Phumdis and Athaphum of the Manipuri, India that are used for aquaculture and the Acadja aquaculture of the Tofinu, Benin. The article discusses their philosophies and learns from the vernacular architecture to expand the understanding of nature-based solutions towards the creation of sustainable and resilient infrastructures. TOPOS: The International Review of Landscape Architecture
NAIDOC Week 2020- Always was, always will be

CRI celebrated NAIDOC Week with a virtual yarning circle presented by PhD candidate Greg Kitson about 'Indigenous Cultural Competency through Research'. This was followed by a short quiz, co-designed by Greg and Cara Beal. The aim of this event was to raise awareness, share information, open conversations and develop our individual and collective knowledge towards achieving Indigenous cultural competency and was very well received.
thumbnail_Greg_Face (2)
Greg Kitson Dr Cara Beal

With the challenges around covid19, the isolation, being apart from family, friends and colleagues, and many other factors, Dr Cara Beal organised A Mental Health and Well-being workshop. The workshop was presented by Griffith University's Julie Coles with Cara and Matt Burke. 

COVID impacts demand a change of plan: funding a shift from commuting to living locally
Transport PhD candidate Ben Kaufman writes about this interesting topic and the covid impacts in The Conversation

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