City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation

The City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the City of Melbourne, with the aim to jointly foster research and training in the field of city resilience and innovation.

Professor Bell’s work connects the urban resilience and innovation activities of both the City and the University, providing scholarship and research that strengthens policy responses and community engagement.

Professor Sarah Bell

Professor Sarah Bell joined the University in 2021 as the City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation. Prior to this, Sarah worked for 16 years at University College London as Professor of Environmental Engineering with The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources in University College London (UCL). Professor Bell is a leader in the field of urban water sustainability and is distinguished by her attention to the transdisciplinary nature of the challenge of sustainability. Her scholarly work draws on the social sciences to better understand how people, technologies and nature interact to create urban systems.

She is a Fellow of Engineers Australia. Her PhD in Sustainability and Technology Policy is from Murdoch University and she studied Engineering and Science as an undergraduate at the University of Western Australia.

Interrogating the relationships between urban decision-making and resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and growing social inequality reveal vulnerabilities for the resilience of cities, including Melbourne. Urban renewal, economic stimulus and recovery programmes present opportunities to ‘build back better’ with significant capital investment in infrastructure, housing and public amenities. However, such initiatives risk reproducing existing patterns of urban development that have created current vulnerabilities.

The Urban Resilience and Innovation Program interrogates the relationships between urban decision-making and resilience, using action research in partnership with the City of Melbourne and key stakeholders.  Our purpose is to:

  • Co-produce research and innovation outcomes to enhance the resilience of the City of Melbourne
  • Contribute world-class, scholarly research on sustainable, resilient and healthy cities
  • Demonstrate a constructive, dynamic relationship between the university and the city, as an international model of best practice

University of Melbourne Researchers and Staff

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