The Urban Futures Research Program draws on interdisciplinary insights to identify the conditions that make urban areas and regions flourish. In highly urbanised countries like Australia, diverse practices and infrastructures make this possible – from construction to health care and education, housing and everyday practices of living. The Urban Futures Research Program is geared toward the production of hopeful, caring and just futures in response to these challenges. Members of the Urban Futures Research Program are committed to engaged research, working across the profit and not-for-profit, government and non-government, and international governance sectors to bring impactful change to urban areas and regions where we live and work.
Key research concerns include: housing affordability and security; climate change adaptation; social, technical and urban governance responses to ongoing public health concerns; planetary health and planning challenges; manufacturing for the 21st century; sustained and innovative responses to waste; food security; the relationship between design, habit and daily life; and public trust in urban settings. Our researchers are also leaders within the Community Economies Institute (CEI), an internationally engaged research community working across more than twenty countries around the world. Program researchers enlist qualitative and quantitative research methods, including surveys and interviews along with collaborative design, innovative participatory practices, ethnographies, storytelling, animation and film.
Research within the Urban Futures includes the Cooling the Commons research project, which has investigated what it means to live well in cities in a time of climate change. Other work underway investigates and seeks to reframe the social value of housing, interrogating alternative housing forms and exploring how housing systems might be oriented to better support flourishing; innovative civic responses and the role of social enterprises in responding to the challenge of solid-waste; the design of novel ways and community-appropriate impact measures; and, delivering sustainable communities and healthy place-making.