Future Earth Australia Launches 10 Year Strategy for Sustainable Cities and Regions

The sustainable transformation of Australia’s cities and regions is being hampered by institutional silos, perennial underfunding and lack of a national vision according to a new report by Future Earth Australia, a program of the Australian Academy of Science.

The Sustainable Cities and Regions 10 Year Strategy to Enable Urban Systems Transformation was launched at the State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC) in December 2019.  Prof Kate Auty led the discussion with Prof Jago Dodson, Prof Peter Newman AO and Ms Klara Allsopp. (pictured below) AURIN exhibited and presented at the conference and enjoyed discussions around our contribution to the report.

Strategy Developed by Key Players

In developing the Strategy, AURIN took part in an extensive consultation process with leading urban research, practice and policy experts from around Australia.

The report makes recommendations for addressing the barriers preventing Australia’s urban and regional areas from achieving sustainable development and outlines four major areas which need major improvement if we are to transform our cities, towns and communities.

1.        Vision. We need a coherent and collectively-decided vision for how our cities will generate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, and visions (with accompanying roadmaps) for each major city to contribute to this national effort.

2.        Enable innovation. There is a range of experimentation happening in cities at neighbourhood, local and regional levels – the lessons being learnt are not being shared widely enough with those who may be facing the same challenges. We suggest a network of local innovation hubs which can experiment, connect with each other to share successes and failures, and contribute to research and decision making.

3.        Connect knowledge. There is a wealth of knowledge being created by researchers, practitioners and communities, but the data and information is not accessible or discoverable. We suggest the creation of a dedicated data knowledge platform, and a program to improve the ability of people working in different sectors to understand and use each other’s expertise.

4.        Build capacity. Up and coming researchers and practitioners should be encouraged and equipped to work together throughout their career.

AURIN Supporting Transformation

The AURIN Worbench is funded by NCRIS, a national network of world-class research infrastructure projects that support high-quality research that will drive greater innovation in the Australian research sector and the economy more broadly.

As Australia’s first federally funded national urban data and analysis e-Research infrastructure, AURIN is ideally positioned to support Future Earth Australia in addressing these barriers and supporting Australian researchers in finding solutions.

The coverage of data at the national and local level can allow analysis of local plans within a national context and our network of researchers, data custodians and policy experts can collaborate and share successes and failures.  The cross-discplinary nature and accessibility of our data and spatial analysis tools can help researchers, practitioners and communities across sectors to share and reproduce research easily while the useability of our Workbench makes arriving at research outcomes and ultimately real world impact significantly more acheivable.

More specifically, the report found that:

“There is limited sharing, accessibility, and translation of knowledge and solutions, exacerbated by excessive fragmentation of urban data holdings, which are often hard to access. This undermines innovation and collaboration.”

Dr Tayanah O’Donnell, Director of Future Earth Australia.

To support research, collaboration and the data-driven evidence base needed for this transformation.  AURIN will continue to build on the e-Infrastructure and network we have developed over the last few years.  We will continue to unlock and provide access to thousands of cross-disciplinary and national datasets that are cleaned, spatialised, harmonised and research-ready.

We provide access to data that is in demand across urban and regional research disciplines to support world class Australian researchers with the evidence base they need for their innovative research, design and decision-making.

Based at the Australian Academy of Science, Future Earth Australia is a national peak initiative that enables Australian researchers, governments, industry and NGOs to collaborate with each other and with international networks and programs across Australia and Oceania.

Learn More: https://www.futureearth.org.au