ANU and UC join forces to create sustainable cities

Monday 18 April 2011

Through research, education, seminars and information-sharing Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) will build a vision for more sustainable cities and regions. CURF was launched on Friday at the University of Canberra.

CURF co-founder and foundation chair of urban and regional planning at the University of Canberra Professor Barbara Norman said the initiative would help cities respond to climate change.

“The overall objective of the research is to find new pathways for more sustainable cities and regions,” Professor Norman said.

“Urbanisation, population pressures, the potential impacts of climate change and an awareness of the environmental and social impacts of urban growth are driving an increasing interest in research to support evidence-based decision-making on cities.”

As a planned national capital largely developed since the 1950s, she said Canberra provided an excellent example of many of the issues facing post Second World War urban settlements.

“As a city-region on our doorstep, Canberra presents an immediate opportunity to undertake original interdisciplinary research on urban and regional futures,” she said.

Professor Will Steffen, executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute and co-founder of CURF, said the initiative would help bring together much of the knowledge necessary to plan and build sustainable cities.

“The climate change challenge will be won or lost in the world’s cities,” Professor Steffen said.

“Dealing with climate change, peak oil and other sustainability challenges requires connected-up knowledge – across disciplines and between researchers and policy-makers. CURF aims to build such knowledge for our city and our region.

“How we design, build and live in cities of the 21st century is a daunting research challenge. What better place to start meeting this challenge than in our own city and region? And what better way to build the required knowledge than through collaboration among our region’s research institutions,” Professor Steffen added.

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