Urban Resilience and Innovation

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 and growth.

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

Related publications

Bell, S. (2018) Urban water sustainability: constructing infrastructure for cities and nature, Routledge.

Lowe, M., Arundel, J., Hooper, P., Rozek, J., Higgs, C., Roberts, R. & Giles-Corti, B. (2020) Liveability aspirations and realities: Implementation of urban policies designed to create healthy cities in Australia, Social Science & Medicine.

Fastenrath, S., Bush, J., Coenen, L. (2020) Scaling-up nature-based solutions. Lessons from the Living Melbourne strategyGeoforum.

Fastenrath, S. & Coenen, L. (2020) Future-proof cities through governance experiments? Insights from the Resilient Melbourne Strategy (RMS)Regional Studies.

Bush, J. Coffey, B. Fastenrath, S. (2020) Governing urban greening at a metropolitan scale: an analysis of the Living Melbourne strategyAustralian Planner.

Fastenrath, S. Coenen, L. Davidson, K. (2019) Urban Resilience in Action: the Resilient Melbourne Strategy as Transformative Urban Innovation Policy? Sustainability. 11 (3), 693.


Community Co-Design for resilient infrastructure. Presented by Professor Sarah Bell at the Tyndall Manchester seminar, October 2019.

Disruptive innovation through urban experimentation? Case studies from ‘Resilient Melbourne’. Presented by Dr Sebastian Fastenrath and Prof Lars Coenen, at the Geographies of Disruption Symposium, Macquarie University, April 2018.

Current Researchers

Professor Sarah Bell
City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation

Dr Melanie Lowe
Research Fellow in Urban Resilience and Innovation