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

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.