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.
- Professor Michele Acuto, Lab Director and Professor of Global Urban Politics
- Kate Murray, Lab Coordinator
- Jennifer Dam, Lab Co-Coordinator
- Jessie Briggs, Research Fellow in Urban Sustainability
- Stephanie Butcher, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Ariana Dickey, Research Fellow in Urban Sustainability
- Kazi Nazrul Fattah, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in International Urban Politics
- 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
- Inderlina Mateo-Babiano, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning
- Rewa Marathe, Research Fellow in International Urban Development
- Daniel Pejic, Research Fellow in International Urban Migration
- Alexei Trundle, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Sustainable Urban Development
- Joyati Das, Enterprise Principal Fellow in International Urban Development
- Cathy Oke, Melbourne Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities
Lab Visiting Fellows
- Kris Hartley, A/Prof. in Public Policy at Education University of Hong Kong
- Anna Kosovac, Visiting Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Andreina Seijas, Urban Night Researcher, Harvard Graduate School of Design
- Shelby Bassett, Research Assistant in Urban Policy
- Jinlong (Jimmy) Liu, Research Assistant in Green Urbanisation
- 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
- The Business of Cities, The Comparative Imagination
- Chicago Council on Global Affairs, City Diplomacy, Great Powers and Urbanization Project
- The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Comparative Imagination
- Fondation Botnar, Evidence to Action
- Global Covenant of Mayors, Innovate4Cities
- International Sustainability Unit, Science and the Future of Cities
- Nature Sustainability, Science and the Future of Cities
- University College London, Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality
- UCL Grand Challenge for Sustainable Cities, Science and the Future of Cities
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 2 Action
How can we enable healthy and equitable cities in which young people can flourish?
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?
Urban Nature-Based Solutions
Cities play a critical role in combatting the dual biodiversity extinction and climate crises
Leveraging urban data to shape cities
Acuto, M., Pejic, D. and Briggs, J. (2021), Taking City Rankings Seriously: Engaging with Benchmarking Practices in Global Urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 45: 363-377.
Oke, C., Bekessy, S.A., Frantzeskaki, N., Bush, J., Fitzsimons, J. A., Garrard, G. E., Grenfell, M., Harrison, L., Hartigan, M., Callow, D., Cotter, B. & Gawler, S. (2021) Cities should respond to the biodiversity extinction crisis. npj Urban Sustainability 1(11).
Acuto, M., Pejic, D. and Briggs, J. (2021), Whose City Benchmarks? The Role of the Critical Urbanist in Comparative Urban Measuring. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 45: 389-392.
Dam, J. Butcher, S. Fattah, K. Hausmann, S. Das, J. (2021), Evidence to Action (E2A) Framework: A Participatory Approach to Action Learning - Summary Guide. University of Melbourne. Online resource.
Dam, J. Butcher, S. Das, J. Fattah, K. Hausmann, S. (2021), Evidence to Action (E2A) Framework: A Participatory Approach to Action Learning. University of Melbourne. Online resource.
Murray, K. (Producer) (2020-2021), Cities After Dark [Audio series], Connected Cities Lab, University of Melbourne.
At Connected Cities Lab 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.
News & Events
Get in touch: urban research is an inherently collaborative endeavour!
Propose a project or raise a pressing issue for the Lab’s team to tackle via quantitative and qualitative urban analysis: testing methods with real-world applications. Propose a Melbourne School of Design studio partnership on a key issue of international urban planning/governance for your city, industry or programContact
Join the conversation and keep up with all the Lab happenings through our Twitter account @networkedcitiesView
Engage with the Lab’s professional education in city leadership, urban governance and negotiation. Support a Melbourne School of Design doctoral or master scholar to work on a pressing challenge that currently shapes your practice.Learn more
We deliver education that builds upon Lab 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