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Urban researchers to come to NZ for State of Australasian Cities Conference

Over 400 delegates are set to arrive in the country’s capital on December 6 for the State of Australasian Cities Conference to discuss the future of cities.

Held at Victoria University, the State of Australasian Cities Conference is a chance for urban researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to gather and talk about the future of our cities.

“Every year the decisions that are taken around city-building and urban planning result in stark social, spatial, environmental and economic choices and consequences. We need to be well informed to debate those choices and consequences in far more depth if we are going to collectively navigate a better future,” says Dr Mirjam Schindler of Victoria University, one of the conference’s Co-Chair.

“Hosting this event marks a real milestone for urban scholarship in Aotearoa and it brings a sharp focus to the biggest challenges of our times, from greening of our cities and exploring new approaches to city governance through to tackling major infrastructure needs, investigating different models for housing and confronting persistent legacies of inequity.”

The conference is focused on fostering urban scholarship whilst also highlighting and heightening indigenous perspectives and knowledge as well as encouraging more engagement with academic institutions and their external communities.

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Dr Becky Kiddle, one of the conference Co-Chairs from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa says that this conference will focus on indigenous knowledge with a special panel session titled; “Reckoning with urbanism – why Aotearoa needs a Māori cultural landscape lexicon”.

“There are also a large number of papers that look at experiences of urban development and mobility from the specific perspectives of children, young adults, women, new migrants and older people,” says Kiddle.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the conference will also put special focus on climate change and the impacts of flooding and extreme heatwaves, with the conference Co-Chairs research including 18 pages on this issue.

In specific, the research focuses on main urban centres such as Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

“The depth and breadth of knowledge being shared by our six keynote speakers, panel sessions and presentations of up to 250 research papers across the three days of the conference is significant,” says Professor Iain White, one of the conference Co-Chairs.

“The diversity of topics covered provides insights into the various challenges cities face from recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic through to the changing dynamics of apartment life and fresh thinking about rental housing. All of this represents a unique forum for the type of knowledge and expertise that is so vital to finding better solutions for our built, lived and natural environments.”

The State of Australasian Cities Conference is set to take place across December 6 to 8. 

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