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 seeking to contribute 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
Leveraging urban data to shape cities
Urban Nature-Based Solutions
Cities play a critical role in combatting the dual biodiversity extinction and climate crises
Trundle, A. (2020). Resilient cities in a Sea of Islands: Informality and climate change in the South Pacific. Cities, 97, 102496.
Acuto, M. (2020). Engaging with global urban governance in the midst of a crisis. Dialogues in Human Geography 10(2): 221-224.
Jon, I. (2020). A manifesto for planning after the coronavirus: Towards planning of care. Planning Theory, 19:3.
Rogers, D., Herbert, M., Murray, K. et al. (2020). The city under COVID: Podcasting as a digital methodology. Journal of Economic and Social Geography, 111: 434-450.
Acuto, M. (2020). COVID-19: Lessons for an Urban (izing) World. One Earth, 2(4), 317-319.
Jon, I. (2020). Scales of Political Action in the Anthropocene: Gaia, Networks, and Cities as Frontiers of Doing Earthly Politics. Global Society, 1-23.
Hensley, M., Mateo-Babiano, D., Minnery, J., & Pojani, D. (2020). How diverging interests in public health and urban planning can lead to less healthy cities. Journal of Planning History, 19(2), 71-89.
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.
Will we see different 'after dark' scenes once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and how can we need to plan for them?News
The way cities are built and operate have changed how we sleep and not only humans are affected, we've changed the sleep patterns of urban flora and fauna too.In episode five of our six-part series, our co-hosts Shelby Bassett and Michele Acuto talk with Roger Ekirch and Theresa Jones about sleeping in cities at night.S2 E5
Who is allowed to be part of the urban night and who is excluded?In episode four of our six-part series, our co-hosts Shelby Bassett and Michele Acuto talk with Will Straw, Su-Jan Yeo, Emilia Smeds, Ben Campkin and Lo Marshall about access and equity in cities at night.S2 E4
What is the city like when you work at night? Who watches the kids without child care, who makes your coffee when all the cafes are closed, how do you commute? Tonight we explore night shift work and how cities can be better at serving a 24-hour economy.This is the third episode of our six-part series, where our co-hosts Shelby Bassett and Michele Acuto talk with Julius-Cezar MacQuarie, Su-Jan Yeo, Emilia Smeds and Jenny McArthur.S2 E3
New 24hr lifestyles have expanded the role of the night in society, requiring new forms of governance and representation for those who live, work, and socialise at night. Enter - the night mayor!In the second episode of our six-part series, co-hosts Shelby Bassett and Andreina Seijas talk with Robert Shaw, Mirik Milan, Diana Raiselis and Will Straw about how the cities after dark are being managed.S2 E2
As humans with our limited daytime vision, the night has long been understood as a time of danger and mystery. But today in cities with artificial lighting lining the streets the nature of night has changed. For some, it's a time for celebration and entertainment. For others, it's their regular work hours.S2 E1
What challenges did urban observatories face with COVID-19 and how did they contribute to city responses to the pandemic? Researchers Ariana Dickey and Carla Washbourne met with academics from a variety of urban research institutions around the planet to answer this question.S1 E3
Can an ‘urban planet’ with over 4 billion people living in cities really be sustainable? A caffeinated conversation around cities and the global Urban Agenda with professors Sue Parnell, Thomas Elmqvist, and Michele Acuto. Recorded 24 October 2019 at Connected Cities Lab, University of Melbourne.S1 E2
A caffeinated conversation around cities and disease and the role of urban environments on global pandemics.Recorded on the ominous Friday 13 December 2019, the discussion would prove to be prophetic as unbeknownst to our speakers COVID-19 had already begun to spread.Our guests are Roger Keil, Jodie McVernon, and Michele Acuto.S1 E1
News & Events
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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