Caitlin Morrissey

Graduate Researcher


As a Geography and Urban Planning student in London and Toronto, and most recently as a Research Associate at The Business of Cities, Caitlin has developed a keen interest in urban infrastructure. In particular, the changing appetite of government to incentivise private infrastructure investment over longer-term horizons, the relationship between global city identities and prioritised projects and the role of negotiation between different tiers of government in improving infrastructure outcomes.

Caitlin hopes to use this PhD as an opportunity to explore these areas of interest in much greater detail and use this research to identify practical lessons for cities on a similar journey to Manchester and Melbourne.

Making up the global city: The financing and governing of urban infrastructural futures

This Joint PhD under the supervision of Prof Michele Acuto at the University of Melbourne and Prof Kevin Ward at the University of Manchester will compare how city leaders Manchester and Melbourne prioritise, finance and govern metropolitan transport infrastructure systems to balance the competing expectations and demands being placed on them.

Manchester and Melbourne share much in common. They are among the fastest-growing cities in their national systems, they are second cities, post-industrial cities that are transitioning to the knowledge economy and are both on a journey to become even more competitive on the global stage. The consensus among institutions like the OECD and World Bank is that consistently well-governed governed and financed transport systems enable cities to accommodate population growth while delivering long-term agendas on clean energy, digitisation, economic inclusion and more. A challenge facing Manchester and Melbourne is that they do not necessarily have the land available to create new systems from scratch but must decide how to optimise the capacity of the systems they already have.

Cities are also now urgently trying to anticipate which transport systems are likely to succeed in most or all post-Covid-19 scenarios. For this PhD, the post-pandemic recovery raises many additional questions, such as: Will we see more private sector participating in infrastructure co-investment? What role will higher levels of government play? What transport imperatives and investments will Manchester and Melbourne accelerate in the coming years? What will they leave behind?

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