Cities are on the frontline of today’s most pressing global challenges. The way we manage and study cities, and how city leadership is thought of in an interconnected but disrupted world, are critical to our collective futures. This is where the University of Melbourne’s new Melbourne Centre for Cities comes in with an explicit focus on urban governance as its main area of research, action and training, and a distinct purpose to foster and foreground cities research in and from Melbourne with a clear cosmopolitan outlook.
Connected Cities: a centre mission
The Centre focuses on the role of cities in major societal challenges, how city leadership can address them, and the information needed to do so in a connected but also disrupted and unequal time.
The Centre takes an explicit international point of view on pressing questions for urban governance. It does so by aiming to work with peers and places around the globe, explicitly connecting cities, urban researchers and key stakeholders in city leadership.
About Connected Cities Lab (the Centre's predecessor)
We work with key stakeholders in urban governance to provide evidence, build capacity and offer advice on the global dynamics shaping the leadership of cities. We offer reliable and innovative sources of applied urban research, producing both policy material, practice-oriented education and scholarly reviews. Connected Cities Lab specialises on the ways networks, international processes and information influence urban governance, and strives to link academic research to practical needs.
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 policymaking 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.
- Centre Management
- Centre Administrators
- Centre Associates
- Michele Acuto, Centre Director
- Shelby Bassett, Research Assistant in Urban Policy
- Jessie Briggs, Research Fellow in Urban Sustainability
- Stephanie Butcher, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Ariana Dickey, Research Fellow in Urban Sustainability
- Pablo Fuentenebro Alonso, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Paris Hadfield, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Urban Innovation
- Ihnji Jon, Lecturer in International Urban Politics
- Amelia Leavesley, Research Fellow in Urban Sustainability
- Jinlong (Jimmy) Liu, Research Assistant in Green Urbanisation
- Rewa Marathe, Research Fellow in International Urban Development
- Cathy Oke, Associate Director (Enterprise and Impact)
- Daniel Pejic, Research Fellow in International Urban Migration
- Alexei Trundle, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Sustainable Urban Development
- Joyati Das, Visiting Fellow in International Urban Development
- Kazi Nazrul Fattah, Visiting Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Kris Hartley, A/Professor of Public Policy, Education University of Hong Kong
- Anna Kosovac, Visiting Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Clinton Moore, Urbanisation Specialist at UN-Habitat
- Andreina Seijas, Urban Night Researcher, Harvard Graduate School of Design
- Loren Adams -"Socio-Spatial Exploits: A Critical Anthology of Heists, Hacks, Hijacks, and Copycats"
- Anna Edwards -"The Night Time Economy in Australian Cities" Lab Scholarship
- Sombol Mokhles - "Climate Change Experimentation in International City Networks” University Graduate Research Scholarship
- Caitlin Morrissey - “Making Up the Global City” Dual Melbourne-Manchester PhD Award
- Daniel Pejic - "City as Group Agent in Global Migration Governance" Lab Scholarship
- Jana Perkovic -"Form Follows Finance: Redesigning Housing Markets" Lab Scholarship
Achieving Justice For Street Harassment
Developing victim-centred understandings of justice in response to street harassment
Should city research be led by cities?
Cities and the UN
What place do cities have in the United Nations?
Cities at Night
Urban life doesn't stop when the sun goes down
Do cities need foreign policies?
The networked frontier of city leadership
City Resilience Strategies
City actions contributing to resilient urban futures
How do cities think of each other?
Environment Politics Beyond Environment
How can environment politics go beyond the essentialist morality of ‘protecting nature’?
Evidence to Action
How can we enable healthy and equitable cities in which young people can flourish?
From Garden City to Eco-Citadel: Global Greenbelts
History of municipal greenbelts in the UK, USA, and Australia
Great Powers and Urbanization Project
How is geopolitics being shaped in the ‘urban age’?
Healthy City Leadership
Supporting the World Health Organization in driving healthy and sustainable urban governance
What knowledge do cities need to meet their climate action ambitions?
Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality
Can we co-produce more equal cities?
Is urban governance delivering on its promises?
Philanthropy and the City
What is the role of philanthropic institutions in the future of cities?
Science and the Future of Cities
A Nature Sustainability Expert Panel
SDGs Cities Challenge
A collaborative project contributing to the implementation of key urban Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and indicators.
SDGs for Melbourne
Localising the SDGs: A Strategic Prioritisation Framework for City of Melbourne
Student-City Policy Innovation
How can cities best work with young people to shape global energy transitions and climate action?
Tackling a Global Pandemic in Asian Megacities
What policy lessons can be drawn from the formal and informal responses to global health shocks in the urban context to build more inclusive and resilient cities?
What powers do cities have to govern the inclusion of migrants and refugees?
Urban Nature-Based Solutions
Cities play a critical role in combatting the dual biodiversity extinction and climate crises
Leveraging urban data to shape cities
Pejic, D. (2021) 'The power of cities in migration governance: Pilot project report', University of Melbourne, online resource, 25 August 2021.
Fattah, K., Marathe, R., Butcher, S., Das, J. (2021), Evidence to Action Dialogue Series: Young Peoples’ Wellbeing in Southern Cities. University of Melbourne. Online resource.
Acuto, M. Larcom, S. Rauch, F. Willems, T. (2021). Covid-19 forced us all to experiment. What have we learned?. IEEE Spectrum.
Fuentenebro, P. and Acuto, M. (2021) ‘The gifted city: Setting a research agenda for philanthropy and urban governance’, Urban Studies. 16 July 2021.
Butcher, S. Cociña, C. Levy, C. & Yap, C. (2021). Localising the SDGs: A Call for Urban Equality as a Guiding Principle. Urbanet.
Jon, I.(2021). Cities in the Anthropocene: New Ecology and Urban Politics. Pluto Press.
Mokhles, S. and Davidson, K., 2021. A framework for understanding the key drivers of cities' climate actions in city networks. Urban Climate, vol.38.
At Melbourne Centre for Cities we go beyond traditional text-based research outputs. Through the Connected Cities podcast we bring you urban experts from around the globe offering prompts, provocations, and casual conversations around city life and governance.
Our show notes deliver links to companion publications and references made in each episode, plus transcripts for accessibility.
Get in touch: urban research is an inherently collaborative endeavour!
the Centre works as a cross-campus interdisciplinary community of urban scholars at the University of Melbourne: interested?Find out more
The Melbourne Centre for Cities runs two Visiting Fellow cohort calls per year in Summer and Winter to facilitate collaboration and cohort building. Interested in joining?Learn more
Want to work with us? Job vacancies at the Centre are listed hereView
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We deliver education that builds upon Centre research to inform the next generation of city leaders and encourage research-led education.
A two-week summer intensive designed to tackle the ‘international’ aspects of city governance and planning, with a focus on city leadership, the institutions and trends that underpin it.Learn more
Studio N: Managing Cities at Night
This intensive studio tackles the ‘night time’ challenge for built environment practitioners and offers a venue to further refine interdisciplinary and policy-relevant skills of urban planning, urban design and architecture professionals.View
Studio R: Urban Resilience
The ultimate learning purpose of this studio is to enhance the general understanding of ‘resilience’ and to seek proper applications of this concept in ecological/sustainable urbanism projects, with special focus on water-resiliency and climate-led disaster mitigation.View