Re-inventing our cities to be greener, smarter and more cultured

Sustainability and urban transformation to improve people’s lives, is the focus of this week’s Future Cities National Forum, held at the University of Melbourne.

Hosted by the University’s CRC for Low Carbon Living and the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL), the forum will explore four ’re-inventing the city’ movements: greening, smarting, localising and re-animating culture. 

VEIL Director Professor Chris Ryan says this forum will examine if, and how, these movements can work together, and what the benefits might be.

"These movements stand in contrast to mainstream approaches to low-carbon futures that begin with GHG targets and sector reductions," he says. "They have introduced new terms like Biophilic cities, 20 minute cities, smart cities, creative cities."

These ’re-inventing’ approaches propose a path to transformation that focuses on tangible and visible aspects of urban and city life, says Professor Ryan.

"Interventions like greening the city do not need to reference concepts like ’carbon emissions’," he says.

"The idea of ’re-inventing the city’ clearly motivates people to take action for change, often starting with their local neighbourhood. It’s all about improving people’s quality of life and city experiences. Low-carbon outcomes are more like a ’co-benefit’."

VEIL Visiting Fellow Associate Professor Kes McCormick, from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University in Sweden, says "this forum is a fantastic opportunity to critically discuss the relationship between these re-invention movements in the context of catalysing urban transformations to deal with climate change".

The Future Cities National Forum is being held on Thursday 26 October in the Singapore Theatre at the Melbourne School of Design.

International speakers from Sweden and The Netherlands include Professor Arjan Van Timmeren, Scientific Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.

Scientia Professor Deo Prasad AO, CEO of the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) says this forum is a timely addition to the ongoing series of national forums held to date by the CRCLCL and its partners.

"These forums showcase our latest research and aim to answer the big questions in the low carbon built environment, like public engagement and sustainability," Professor Prasad says.