Archives 2020

419

MIND THE GAP: CITIES AND UNIVERSITIES

Sandy Burgoyne, Director of the Future Cities Collaborative, was invited to share with academics and practioners the innovative work of the Future Cites Program at the S3 Singapore Sustainability Symposium held in Nanyang Technological University in April, and the ISCN 2015 Conference held at Hong Kong University in June. She shares with us her thoughts about the conferences and why Universities and Cities must work collaboratively to acheive sustainble development.


One of the major challenges of the 21st Century is managing the smart growth of our cities, so too, is empowering our city leaders with the best insights and science to help them to lead the development of our communities, so that they are productive, sustainable and liveable. This theme was underlined at both S3 Singapore Sustainability Symposium and the International Sustainable Campus Network 2015 Conference earlier this year. With a commitment to sustainability and urban solutions that are transdisciplinary, transboundary and integrated, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University recently hosted the second S3 Singapore Sustainability Symposium. Government leaders, academics, and specialists from around the world attended the symposium.

ISCN Conference

Conference Delegates at the International Sustainable Campus Network 2015 Conference, University of Hong Kong

The key themes outlined below informed the discussion at the World Cities Summit Mayor’s Forum in June this year.

  1. Cities will play an increasingly important role in addressing adaptation challenges, because they will feel many of the impacts most severely and because they’re often in the best position to implement high-impact solutions.
  2. It’s important to avoid the cynicism often associated with discussions about environmental impact challenges, such as climate change. Cities are often refreshingly insulated from this negativity, and should strive to keep this positive frame to focus on opportunities and more inclusive development.
  3. Cities need champions and leaders to drive sustainability agendas and solutions forward. These champions should move beyond the foundation of immediate cost and logistics planning to describe a vision of what future and liveable cities could become.
  4. Research, science, and R&D will continue to provide concrete and relevant information to support decision-making and action in cities.

The discussion and key themes underlined the need for innovative and collaborative approaches to ensure that city leaders, who are making investment decisions about how our cities are developed, receive the most relevant and current thinking to inform their envisioning process and help solve many of the environmental and urban challenges that communities face. It was also recognised that there can be a delay in the transference of knowledge and research findings between the city leaders and research institutions, leading to sub- optimal solutions for sustainable urban development.

This theme was amplified at the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference, which recently held it’s 9th annual conference at The University of Hong Kong. The theme of the conference was “Expanding the Dialogue: Sustainability in a Connected World”.

HK

A clear day at The Peak in Hong Kong. 

The session that the Future Cities Collaborative was invited to contribute to was focused on the way in which universities and cities can form effective, collaborative alliances to contribute towards meeting the challenge of urban living in the 21st Century.

Mayor Park Won Soon from Seoul, a renowned advocate of sustainable development, kicked off the session confirming that to make greater ground in developing sustainable cities we need “participatory platforms for academics, and students to provide advice and ideas.. to our city leaders.” He explicitly made the point that cities and universities must work together to achieve their collective goals both in terms of infrastructure and the development of its communities. Seoul has worked with many universities in South Korea to further these aims.

John Robinson, University of British Columbia, went further to suggest that Universities are best placed to serve as a “Living Laboratory” for demonstrating precinct scale sustainability solutions, which then can be replicated across similar environments in other cities.

As described by Andy Nolan, Director of Sustainability, University of Nottingham, the world’s number one ranking Green University in the UI Green Index, commented, “ …Urbanisation is the perfect platform to encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration within universities. Those UK universities who have identified this as an opportunity to promote this through an emphasis on urbanisation are creating think tanks, centres of excellence and institutes to address them.”

The Future Cities Collaborative, focused on inspiring city leaders by bringing together innovative approaches to policy, practice and research, is forging new ways for universities to work with city leaders to create sustainable communities. Universities and think tanks such as these are well placed to provide a neutral environment for informed debate and learning amongst diverse city leaders, leading to greater confidence and capacity for participating leaders to make brave decisions on new approaches and technologies to create sustainable cites. Increased cross-sectoral collaboration is required to affect meaningful change in creating thriving towns and cities.

So, a key take out is that we need to continue to close the knowledge gap between the decision makers of our cities and the world’s urban scientists and researchers, if we are going to bring the best solutions to solve our urban challenges. Real–time collaboration across academia, government, community and industry will continue to inspire and inform what is possible locally, and at scale across the globe.

S3

Panelists from the S3 Singapore Sustainability Symposium: Stanley Yip, Professor, College of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, China; Mike Nemeth, Environmental Specialist, Alberta Water Smart; Sein-Way Tan, CEO, Green World City Organisation; Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director, Centre for Liveable Cities; John Jackson Ewing, Director, Asia Policy Institute, New York; Sandy Burgoyne Director, Future Cities Collaborative, Australia.

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INNOVATION ECOSYSTEMS CITY EXCHANGE

The Future Cities Collaborative has organised an exciting Australian-United States City Exchange to take place in May 2016, which will immerse Australian city-shapers in international best-practice examples of innovation ecosystems in the United States. Drawing on the Collaborative’s extensive network of partners and collaborators, the Innovation Ecosystems City Exchange will stimulate delegates to think about how to support the growth of innovation districts in Australia.

Innovation districts are geographic areas where institutions, companies and individuals cluster together with the aim of connecting and sharing ideas fluidly and spontaneously. The City Exchange will harness the knowledge and experience behind different successful models in the United States. Participants will visit cities around the country including the thriving technology and biomedical hubs in San Francisco and Emeryville, the expanding biotech community in Seattle as well as Amazon’s new campus, Boston’s Seaport Innovation District including its revitalised docklands and the incubator spaces in the city, and New York City where the focus will be the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The latter is involved in projects from managing the city’s markets, to promoting life sciences and sustainable urban innovation, as well as supporting emerging tech and media, and incubator spaces. The Roosevelt Island Campus Project, a new university campus focused on tech and STEM-education with close ties to industry, will also be a feature of this visit.


 

“Our cities are the crucibles of innovation, of enterprise, it’s where so much of our GDP is created and it’s vital that they have the right infrastructure…”

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia
11 October 2015 Southport, Queensland

The Future Cities Collaborative realises that innovative cities can drive economic growth, deliver new jobs, and create thriving communities for residents to live, work, play, invest and visit. Precincts and districts catering for innovation are being created around the world as new examples of communities that have excellent amenity, great access to transport, affordable housing, civic facilities, and provide the types of jobs that will sustain a 21st century economy. In 2016, the Future Cities Collaborative is committed to exposing Australian city-shapers to international best-practice examples of innovation districts in the United States.

The Exchange coincides with the Australian Federal Government launching the National Innovation and Science Agenda to embrace new ideas in innovation, harness new sources of growth, and challenge city shapers to look for new ways to transform our cities and create a modern, dynamic, 21st century economy. Australian cities need precincts and districts where innovative ideas can flourish, where universities and businesses can interact, and where access to the latest technologies is guaranteed.

With Federal, State and Local Governments all seeking to encourage and expand the innovation economy in Australia, there has never been a better time to look to the United States for lessons on how to plan, finance, implement and support innovation districts in our cities. The Exchange will examine the various elements that contribute to the success of an innovation district – from the physical infrastructure to the social, economic and cultural shifts that need to occur to generate a thriving innovation ecosystem that generates jobs in the new economy. With limited public resources available to achieve this change, city-shapers will need to learn how to create and sustain successful districts that can contribute to the new economy, provide housing and civic amenities, and renew inner-city precincts into world-class urban areas that are vibrant, connected, competitive, and resilient places.

Exchange Overview

The Collaborative, through our extensive network of partners and collaborators, will expose exchange participants to international best practice urban transformations that have created thriving innovation ecosystems. There is no straight line to this future as our exchange will demonstrate as we visit San Francisco’s biomedical and technology hubs; Seattle’s Amazon Campus at South Lake Union; Boston’s global creative incubators; New York’s reinvented global engineering hub; and Washington DC to explore national policy as the bedrock of policy leadership. The United States is ahead of Australia in establishing these innovation districts, so the exchange will seek to learn all we can from our trans-pacific partners and contribute to the dialogue on the new innovation economy and future-ready cities here in Australia.

The Innovation Ecosystems Exchange will provide a foundation for a wider dialogue at an international symposium in Sydney on The New Urban Economy: Innovation and Placemaking to be convened in the second half of 2016 in conjunction with our partners Project for Public Spaces. All participants will be given the opportunity to share their learnings with peers from around the globe and contribute to moving Australia towards a new urban innovation economy.

Cities and Initiatives in the United States

San Francisco and Emeryville, California

The Bay Area, with its proximity to world-leading universities and Silicon Valley, has seen the emergence of inner-urban, transit-oriented, innovation ecosystems predominantly catering to technology and biotech industries. Two examples, in Emeryville and Mission Bay, will be the focus of our exchange as we uncover the funding and financing mechanisms that lead to the success of both districts, how affordable housing, retail and commercial space, and access to transit is incorporated, and the leavers and tools that attract job-creating start-ups and established firms.

Seattle, Washington

Once full of warehouses and light industrial buildings, South Lake Union is one of Seattle’s fastest developing neighbourhoods, and is home to Seattle’s biotech community as well as Amazon’s new campus. Joining these developments is a slew of up-and-coming restaurants, coffee shops and retailers who have recently moved into the fast-growing neighbourhood. Having been thought through carefully, this neighbourhood has yielded exceptional liveable, walkable spaces with effective transportation, sustainability, and recreation.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is home to a large and growing innovation ecosystem. The Boston Seaport Innovation District is an initiative that has transformed redundant docklands into an urban environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship – with the support from the City of Boston and the State of Massachusetts. Additionally, Boston has several incubators and innovation districts that foster economic development, provide jobs and housing, and leverage the existing anchor institutions and universities in the region.

New York City, New York

The focus in New York will be the New York Economic Development Corporation. NYCEDC is involved in a range of projects from managing the city’s markets, to promoting life sciences, urban innovation and sustainability, media and emerging tech, and offering programs for entrepreneurs and incubator space. NYCEDC can also speak to the Roosevelt Island Campus Project, a purpose built university campus to focus on tech and emerging STEM education, with adjoining commercial space.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University City District of West Philadelphia is a partnership of world-renowned anchor institutions, small businesses and residents that creates opportunity, and improves economic vitality and quality of life. The District works within a place- based, data-driven framework to invest in world-class public spaces, address crime and public safety, bring life
to commercial corridors, connect low-income residents to careers, and promote job growth and innovation. University City District is a site of research for The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking, a collaboration between the Brookings Institution and Project for Public Spaces. As part of the Initiative, Brookings and Project for Public Spaces will work deeply with a small number of burgeoning innovation districts, starting with Oklahoma City and Philadelphia, to distil practice-based lessons on innovation and placemaking, help local leaders better understand their assets, and develop strategies for vibrant and innovative mixed-use districts.

Program Details

The exchange will take place Wednesday 4 May – Friday 13 2016 (inclusive) and is designed for federal, state and local government decision makers, business and community leaders, and representatives from academia and industry. It is hoped that a comprehensive cohort of passionate and like-minded city shapers will participate in the exchange and be able to make meaningful contributions to the development of innovation districts in Australia upon their return.

Enrollment and Cost

The cost of the exchange is $USD11,000 for 10 nights accommodation, all meals, transport and expert honorariums and fees. The price does not include international travel. Enrolment in the exchange will close at 5pm on Friday 18 March.

Please Contact Us for the Enrollment Form

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SMART CITIES, QUALITY PUBLIC SPACE, AND MAKING HOUSING AFFORDABLE IN NSW

People, data, technology and making our cities smart

The Future Cities Collaborative was pleased to welcome John Tolva and Frans-Anton Vermast (pictured) to Sydney in November to discuss smart cities, data, technology, and how city leaders can use these new approaches and technologies to make our cities easier to use and better places to live.

Whilst in Sydney, John and Frans-Anton met with the NSW Government Department of Innovation, Newcastle City Council, and Waverley Council, and participated in a public lecture on smart cities, and delivered the keynote addresses at the Parramatta City Council Smart City Summit.

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says, “liveable, vibrant cities are absolutely critical to our prosperity.” But how do 21st century cities become liveable, vibrant, and productive by using data and technology? Our guests are at the forefront of devising policies for cities that foster innovation, create jobs, and make the city easier to use — vital lessons for our member cities to learn.

Having John and Frans-Anton in Sydney served to expand the Future Cities Collaborative into the smart city space and forge connections and contacts we hope we can build upon. Sustainability, productivity, and technology are issues that will be crucial to cities for a long time to come, so we look forward to helping the Future Cities Collaborative members combine people, data, and technology to make their cities smart. In 2016, we are also looking at how NSW cities can utilise innovation districts to foster economic growth and development. You can keep up-to-date with this project on our website.

You can read more about John and Frans-Anton’s visit, and watch video interviews, here.


Putting quality places first in Sydney

Cities need to be great places for people to live, work, and play, but how do local governments achieve this vision for the future and create thriving places? Ethan Kent and Philip Winn, our friends from New York’s Project for Public Spaces, came to Sydney to visit our members and discuss how to create and sustain beautiful, thriving places in which their citizens can live, work and play.

The week that Ethan and Philip (pictured here with Waverley Council staff discussing the famous Bondi–Coogee Coastal Path) spent in Sydney was consumed with visits to our member cities to run placemaking training workshops and public talks aimed at improving the quality of our public spaces. The guys spent time with the mayors, planners, architects, economic development officers, place managers, business-owners, and the community in each city they visited to ensure the learnings were cross-silo and shared by all in the organisation and community. Ethan and Philip visited Gosford, Waverley, Woollahra, Wollongong, Liverpool, Canada Bay, and Pittwater during their week in Sydney — cities which contain a population of just under 825,000 and constitute 11 per cent of the population of New South Wales.

You can read more; watch interviews with Ethan Kent, senior vice-president at Project for Public Spaces, and David Adam, founding director of Global Cities and presenter at our public lecture; and listen to a podcast of the public lecture on our website. 


Councils unite to pursue affordable housing 

One of the key priorities of the Future Cities Collaborative in 2015 has been helping our member cities to explore, through case-based applied research, approaches to affordable housing. The resulting Housing Affordability Communiqué illustrates what can be achieved locally in our member cities’ local government areas, and what then can collectively inform the broader public policy response.

Sandy Burgoyne, Director, Future Cities Collaborative, explains that ” what sits behind the term “affordable housing” is creating and maintaining equitable communities for people to live and work, where economic and social diversity is embraced and fostered. The success of adopting inclusionary housing rests as much with good policy as with the willingness of industry partners and community stakeholders to create diverse communities. We hope that the Communique extends and challenges the discussion on how to respond to this challenge.”

Profiled in the Communique are three local approaches that go some way to inspiring and informing alternative policy options that need to be explored, and, importantly, the Communiqué also lays out recommendations on how to bring these approaches to scale.

The Future Cities Collaborative would like to acknowledge and thank Dr David Rosen for his time and effort in overseeing the Communiqué’s production, and also acknowledge City of Canada Bay Council, Pittwater Council, and Waverley Council for committing time, effort, and resources to the Communiqué.

Download the Housing Affordability Communique at our website. 


Happy Holidays from the Future Cities Collaborative

On behalf of the Future Cities Collaborative team, and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your continued support throughout the year, and your contributions that have made 2015 an outstanding success for the Future Cities Collaborative and our member cities.

We look forward to working with all our partners, and new ones, in 2016 as we aim to bring you some exciting guests and events focused on city resilience, innovation, and placemaking. You can keep up to date on our website.

Sandy, Harriet, and myself would like to wish you and your colleagues and family and safe and happy festive season.

Sincerely,

Professor Ed Blakely
Chair, Future Cities Collaborative 

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INNOVATION EXCHANGE, LOCAL APPROACHES TO HOUSING, PLACEMAKING, AND THE GREATER SYDNEY COMMISSION

Innovation Ecosystems City Exchange

The Future Cities Collaborative has organised an exciting Australian-United States City Exchange to take place in May 2016, which will immerse Australian city-shapers in international best-practice examples of innovation ecosystems in the United States. Drawing on the Collaborative’s extensive network of partners and collaborators, the Innovation Ecosystems City Exchange will stimulate delegates to think about how to support the growth of innovation districts in Australia.

Innovation districts are geographic areas where institutions, companies and individuals cluster together with the aim of connecting and sharing ideas fluidly and spontaneously. The City Exchange will harness the knowledge and experience behind different successful models in the United States. Participants will visit cities around the country including the thriving technology and biomedical hubs in San Francisco and Emeryville, the expanding biotech community in Seattle as well as Amazon’s new campus, Boston’s Seaport Innovation District including its revitalised docklands and the incubator spaces in the city, and New York City where the focus will be the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The latter is involved in projects from managing the city’s markets, to promoting life sciences and sustainable urban innovation, as well as supporting emerging tech and media, and incubator spaces. The Roosevelt Island Campus Project, a new university campus focused on tech and STEM-education with close ties to industry, will also be a feature of this visit.

Applications for the exchange close on Friday March 18. Please go to our website for applications forms or Contact Us.


Collaborative releases Communiqué on Local Approaches to Housing Affordability

The Future Cities Collaborative aims to support our member cities to build great places for people to live and work. One of our vehicles is case based applied research that illustrates what can be achieved locally. This then used collectively to inform the broader public policy response.

Sandy Burgoyne, Director of the Future Cities Collaborative explains the scope and aim of the Communiqué, writing that it “profiles three local approaches that inspired councillors and staff have championed. We hope it inspires and informs alternative policy options that we collectively need to explore. Importantly, what it also lays out are recommendations on how to bring their approaches to scale.”

What sits behind the term “affordable housing” is creating and maintaining equitable communities for people to live and work, where economic and social diversity is embraced and fostered. The success of adopting inclusionary housing rests as much with good policy as with the willingness of industry partners and community stakeholders to create diverse communities. We hope that the Communiqué extends and challenges the discussion on how to respond to this challenge.”

Thank you to the City of Canada Bay, Pittwater and Waverley Councils for taking a leadership position in developing approaches to begin addressing the housing affordability crisis in our communities. The Collaborative also extends our thanks to Catherine Gilbert as the lead researcher and Dr David Rosen for the insights and expertise which he brought to the project.


Digital Placemaking a focus for Media Architecture Biennale in June

We are delighted to announce that the Future Cities Collaborative is a sponsor of the premier international Media Architecture Biennale (MAB), in Chatswood, Sydney, 1 – 4 June 2016. The Biennale is the premier international arena where the world’s top experts, architects, designers, and artists in both academia and the industry come together to debate and shape the media architecture of the future. Friend of the Collaborative, Ethan Kent, Senior Vice President of New York’s Project for Public Spaces, will join us as keynote speaker at the forum.

Media architecture is a dynamic field that involves everything from integrating screens into urban environments to projection mapping, to creative media interventions in local communities.

The Collaborative will be inviting all members to participate in a City Leaders Summit on Digital Placemaking. The summit will connect local and international experts with Australian city leaders to discuss the application of information and communication technologies for addressing challenges within urban precincts, such as public transport, waste management, social engagement programs and civic participation. This invite-only event will extend the dialogue around the importance of placemaking in Australian cities, a core initiative of the Future Cities Collaborative. More information to come.

To register the event and further information, please visit www.mab16.org.


Ed on the Greater Sydney Commission

Future Cities Collaborative Chair, Professor Ed Blakely, has recently been appointed to the Greater Sydney Commission, an ambitious new body responsible for metropolitan planning in a partnership between state and local government.

Professor Blakely will take on the role as District Commissioner for the West Central District that includes Greater Parramatta, Bankstown, and Blacktown. Professor Blakely explains, “This is an important step towards a more efficient and inclusive approach to delivering key planning decisions that affect all of Sydney. By having a dedicated commissioner for each district, we will hopefully avoid the fractures and ad-hoc methods that threaten the governance of growing, polycentric cities like Sydney.”

Professor Blakely will devote considerable time to his new responsibilities as well as continue chairing the Collaborative. Our work is consistent with the work of the Commission, with it being singled out by Minister Stokes as a pivotal effort in shaping Sydney when he introduced the Greater Sydney Commission legislation into Parliament. We hope to continue to play a role in metropolitan Sydney, New South Wales and Australia. Professor Blakely will adjust his role to accommodate both the Commission and his work with the members of the Future Cities Collaborative.

The Future Cities Collaborative would also like to congratulate Lucy Turnbull AO for her appointment as Chair of the Greater Sydney Commission, and Associate Professor Rod Simpson for his appointment as Environment Commissioner. Lucy and Rod, (both picture above with Professor Blakely at a Future Cities Collaborative event in 2014), have been great friends and supporters of the Future Cities Collaborative and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them in their new roles.