Cities are on the frontlines of the current coronavirus pandemic crisis.
COVID-19 has imposed exceptional measures of unprecedented impact in recent history and is shaking the foundations of our daily lives, from social interactions to economic relations and everyday wellbeing, in major centres the world over. It is the very ‘connected cities’ nature of our urbanised planet that facilitated the global spread of COVID-19 and foregrounds some of our biggest challenges, but city leaders are also stepping up to the test posed by the coronavirus whilst digital, social and political connections are being recast in settlements in the Global North and South.
Building on existing efforts in the areas of urban policy and health, as well as wellbeing and cities, the Connected Cities Lab is engaging in a number of ways in the current response to COVID-19, advocating for an evidence-based, equitable and inclusive, and innovation-oriented approach to the crisis. On this page, you will find a repository of these engagements.
We also encourage consulting the work of the University’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, at the forefront of COVID-19 response.
Coronavirus has put into the spotlight some of the core principles of 20th-century urbanism. Already cities are changing, but how long will these changes last post-pandemic?News
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the face of many of our cities and questioned how we should manage urban life in the wake of a pandemic. Michele Acuto points to the need to learn urban governance lessons and to the potential value of urban experimentation in crisisNews
The coronavirus pandemic has already changed many aspects of life. How we travel, how we work and how we live. It may even change how some of our cities will look and operate in the future. Michele Acuto talks to Al Jazeera.News
What’s the role of ‘academic experts’ in the debate about COVID-19 and cites, and how can we separate our expert role from our personal experience of being locked down in our cities and homes?Podcast
Throughout history, how we design and inhabit physical space has been a primary defense against epidemics. Our research on the impact of the crisis on the digital infrastructure of cities in Curbed.News
Michele Acuto’s opinion piece for the New Cities foundation on the questions of urban innovation emerging from the pandemicNews
Director Michele Acuto was interviewed by Monocle's The Urbanist podcast about cities in quarantine and looking at lessons for COVID-19 from other epidemicsNews
We talked to CityLab on the urban planning implications of the coronavirus crisis, building on the our work with WHO’s regional office for the Western PacificNews
Do more aggressive and unknown outbreaks lie in our future? Prof Michele Acuto talks to BBC Radio.News
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.
News & Events
Ten cities across Oceania and the Asia-Pacific region have come together to undertake the SDGs Cities Challenge run by Connected Cities Lab and the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne with partners the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSDA) and Banksia Foundation.News
How our cities function at night, and the associated economy, is becoming an increasingly important focus for urban planners and city leaders both overseas and in Australia. We talked to ABC RN Life Matters.News
Lead researcher Dr Stephanie Butcher updates us on the KNOW project and the Asia Pacific Urban ForumNews
Our researchers visited Freetown to work with the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre in activating local platforms for urban equality at community and city wide scales.News
City benchmarking is not just for the headlines, it shapes cities' global imaginary. Scientific American [paywall].News
Our Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities, Cathy Oke, on why Melbourne needs a green-roof revolution.opinion
Lab Director, Michele Acuto discusses the 'infinite scroll' and the increasing need for data centres.News
Lab Director, Prof Michele Acuto on why mayors need Chief Exploration Officers (CXOs) to lead the search for solutions to issues of health and sustainability. Scientific American [paywall].opinion
Research and data are increasingly at the heart of how we conceive of urban governance. Yet overall, the global state of data-informed urban governance remains underdeveloped. It is time for a step change, writes Prof Michele Acuto.opinion
Do more aggressive and unknown outbreaks lie in our future? Prof Michele Acuto talks to BBC Radio.News
Could a 24-hour economy improve your quality of life? ABC RN talks to Prof Michele Acuto about perceptions of the night and how round-the-clock neighbourhoods could look and function.News
Should city research be led by cities?
Cities and the UN
What place do cities have in the United Nations?
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 child-friendly cities?
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?
Science and the Future of Cities
A Nature Sustainability Expert Panel
SDGs Cities Challenge
A collaborative project seeking to contribute to the implementation of key urban Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and indicators.
Leveraging urban data to shape cities
Jon, I. (2020). Deciphering posthumanism: Why and how it matters to urban planning in the Anthropocene. Planning Theory.
Butcher, S. (2020). Research solidarity? Navigating feminist ethics in participatory action-research in Kathmandu, Nepal. Gender, Place & Culture, 1.
Kosovac, A. & Davidson, B. (2020). Is too much personal dread stifling alternative pathways to improving urban water security? Journal of Environmental Management, 265.
Trundle, A. (2020). Resilient cities in a Sea of Islands: Informality and climate change in the South Pacific. Cities, 97.
Kosovac, A., Acuto, M. & Jones, T. (2020). Acknowledging Urbanization: A Survey of the Role of Cities in UN Frameworks. Global Policy.
Mateo-Babiano, I., & Lee, G. (2020). People in Place: Placemaking Fundamentals. In Placemaking Fundamentals for the Built Environment (pp. 15-38). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.
- Professor Michele Acuto, Lab Director and Professor of Global Urban Politics
- Kate Murray, Lab Coordinator
- Geoffrey Browne, Research Fellow In International Urban Development
- Stephanie Butcher, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Jennifer Dam, Project Officer on Botnar Evidence to Action
- Pablo Fuentenebro Alonso, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Paris Hadfield, Research Fellow in Urban Innovation
- Thomas Jacobs, Project Officer in SDGs Cities Challenge and Innovate4Cities
- Ihnji Jon, Lecturer in International Urban Politics
- Hyung Min Kim, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning
- Anna Kosovac, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Urban Politics
- Inderlina Mateo-Babiano, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning
- Cathy Oke, Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities
- Alexei Trundle, Research Fellow in Sustainable Urban Development
- Ariana Dickey, Research Assistant in The Greater Melbourne Urban Exchange
- Daniel Pejic, Architecture, Building and Planning – "Comparative Imaginations" Lab Scholarship
- Jana Perkovic, Architecture, Building and Planning – "Politics of Global Urbanism" Lab Scholarship
Visiting Scholars and Practitioners
- Joyati Das, Senior Visiting Fellow and Co-Lead on Botnar Evidence to Action
- 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
We deliver education that builds upon Lab research to inform the next generation of city leaders and encourage research-led education.
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
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