The way we govern cities, and in turn the way cities contribute to addressing global challenges, is key to ensuring the long-term sustainability of humanity. Yet cities are now confronted with a rapidly changing landscape of international politics, interconnected infrastructures, and shifting economies. Cities can no longer be thought in isolation from each other, and the business of deciding who gets what, when and how in urban development has become a global affair. Focusing on these networked challenges for city leadership, the Connected Cities Lab is an experimental hub tackling the complexity underpinning urban governance with a focus on information and connectivity. Located within the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (ABP), and the Melbourne School of Design (MSD), the Lab aims at research that is inherently impact-driven, interdisciplinary and collaborative to address pressing city leadership challenges in and between cities. The Lab is characterised by a focus on urban governance and policy. Lab research and education programmes engage with the ways decisions about the present and future development of cities are shaped by information flows and more-than-local networks. It is supported by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners, and well-established links into industry and government. The Lab's research program is geared towards developing a scholarly and international appreciation of urban politics in both academia and practice. The Lab does so by encouraging evidence-based policy making and focusing on comparative and applied urban research, working with key voices in the built environment to ensure scholarly advancement translates into urban innovation, and vice-versa.In 2018-19 the Lab is kicking off its activities with:

  • The final report of the Nature Sustainability International Expert Panel on "science and the future of cities" gathering 30 global experts on urban research-policy links
  • The $12.5m KNOW (Knowledge in Action for Urban Equity) programme in collaboration with the Development Planning Unit (DPU) at University College London, working on the role of international institutions in shaping urban planning knowledge in Havana, Lima and Freetown.
  • A global review of ‘city diplomacy’ in collaboration with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Metropolis network and C40 Climate Leadership Group
  • The international workshop and scoping study on the “comparative imagination” of cities in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
  • The Melbourne School of Design ‘Night studio’ in partnership with Arup and University College London focused on the way we govern cities at night
  • The launch of the Lab’s 'city evidence' policy briefing series detailing usable and internationally-focused evidence on urban governance, starting with global reviews of city networks, city leadership and city rankings
  • The launch of the Lab’s ‘matter of fact’ podcast series on key global urban challenges