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TUDLab News and Events

News and Events

TUDLab's tropical town masterplans awarded the Minister's Award for Urban Design 2021

The MASTER PLAN Award was given to the Project entitled “Tropical Design Studio: Strategic Concept Masterplans in Northern Queensland Country Town”, for a location encompassing the Tablelands Regional Council, the Cassowary Coast Regional Council as well as the Hinchinbrook Shire Council. The winning team constitutes the Tropical Urbanism and Design Lab (TUDLab) at James Cook University (JCU) in cooperation with TPG Architects, CA Architects as well as LA3 Landscape Architecture. The jury wrote …..“this visionary master planning process provides a comprehensive strategic framework for each of the country towns involved, encouraging ’bigger picture’ thinking to resolve and improve issues unique to each town. The jury notes the quality of every town matters - with a limited opportunity to build economic resilience in communities if they are to be places where people want to live, work or visit. The methodology employed has assisted to build community capacity and resilience as part of the urban design process.”

Brilliant collaboration with Lisa Law, Roger Mainwood, Gisela Jung, Andrew Prowse, CA Architects, TPG Architects, LA3, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, and Tablelands Regional Council!


Book launch - Predatory Urbanism

On July, 2 2021 a book launch event was chaired by TUDLab's Simona Azzali. The book title is Predatory Urbanism - The Metabolism of Megaprojects in Asia - by Agatino Rizzo and Anindita Mandal and published by Edward Elgar as part of their Cities Series.

The book launch discussed pressing challenges facing the contemporary cities in the Global South and also aimed to address the complex interrelationships between city making and all the resources needed for its design, implementation and production.

The session, chaired by Simona Azzali, was an open debate in which the speakers reflected on the various issues treated in the book, with discussions led by the two authors of the volume, Agatino Rizzo and Anindita Mandal, and leading experts on urbanization and city making in the Global South: Alessandro Melis, Natalie Koch and Vadim Rossman. 

The session was part of the collateral events of the 2021 architecture Venice Biennale and was streamed on the Facebook Page Resilient Communities_Venezia.


St Monica's High School geography project

TUDLab has been working with Geography students from St Monica’s High School to map and mitigate the urban heat island in tropical Cairns. During the first week of July 2021, A/Prof Lisa Law gave a guest lecture and walking tour where students measured the city’s microclimates with handheld weather meters. For the next few weeks students will write a report suggesting mitigation strategies. To see more visit https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6823085408323194880


Coastal Manager tour of Cairns Beaches

TUDLab’s Sophie Barrett (Sustainability Advisor, Cairns Regional Council), led Coastal Managers on a tour of Cairns Beaches as part of the national Coast to Coast Conference during the last week of July. The 15thCoast to Coast biennial conference organised by the Australian Coastal Society (ACS Ltd) in Cairns, 26-29 July.

This field trip focused on contemporary examples of coastal management that have been implemented in Cairns including rock walls, sand nourishment, groynes, and erosion on the Cairns Northern Beaches (Machans Beach, Holloways, and Yorkeys Knob). TUDLab ( Tropical Urban Design Lab) at James Cook University had a chance to talk about and discuss the challenges and opportunities these present, and also the role that nature-based solutions or hybrid solutions can offer. Moreover, how these options interact with foreshores and enhance amenity, including the potential for integrating nature-based options into traditionally hard engineered options were discussed.

Iain Brown & Sophie Barrett from Cairns Regional Council, David Rissik from BMT, Shannon Haines from Ethos Urban (EU), and Dr Lisa Law the founder of TUDLab hosted the tour and looked at the outcomes of the Cairns Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy and Councils long-term planning from now until 2100 to address sea-level rise, erosion, and storm tide inundation and the changes expected over time and how these will be considered at these localities.


Numbers and Narratives

State of the Arts in Cairns (SoARTS) 2019 Report

TUDLab’s Lisa Law and Russell Milledge launched the inaugural 2019 State of the Arts in Cairns (SoARTS) Report at a stakeholder forum at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre in Cairns on 16 March 2021. The Report is the first baseline report which provides independent monitoring of the Cairns Regional Council’s Cultural Strategy over a five year period. The event was opened by Traditional Owner Henrietta Marrie and included a speech by Stephen Foster, Manager of Cultural Services, Cairns Regional Council.  Professor Sandra Gattenhof, QUT, delivered a keynote that explored how to measure the impacts of culture and arts. The launch was followed by a workshop exploring themes related to the next report, to be delivered later this year.

Read more about SoARTS

SoArts poster

Person giving lecuture


Call for Papers

Healthy Cities: Effective Urban Planning Approaches to a Changing World 
(Urban Planning special issue, Volume 7, Issue 4)

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 December 2021
Submission of Full Papers: 15-30 April 2022
Publication of the Issue: October/December 2022

Editors: Elmira Jamei (Victoria University, Australia), Simona Azzali (James Cook University Singapore), Hendrik Tieben (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and K Thirumaran (James Cook University Singapore)

The WHO Healthy Cities initiative was conceived with the goal of placing health as the top priority on the cities’ agenda, through promoting healthy urban planning, sustainable development and innovative multisector change. In fact, Healthy Cities is a strategic vehicle for health development and well-being in urban settings which puts people and communities at the heart of the urban planning process. Given the rapid change in today’s world (population growth, natural hazards, climate change, and outbreak of new diseases), Healthy Cities has gained new attention and significant prominence in the context of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (particularly SDGs 3-11).

This thematic issue welcomes original research articles and case studies that promote Healthy Cities initiative through urban planning and aims to form a debate on how health is impacted by different sectors, projects, and policies.

Themes of the issue include but are not limited to:

  • Healthy urban planning for an ageing population;
  • Climate change impacts on health;
  • Urban planning responses to COVID-19;
  • Protecting communities from natural hazards;
  • Disaster Management and resilience through healthy urban planning;
  • Walkability and public health;
  • Capacity building and policy transfer for healthy cities;
  • Planning for well-being and mental health;
  • Blue-Green-Grey Infrastructure and Healthy Cities;
  • Healthy Cities and Sustainable Economy and Tourism;
  • People-Centred Cities.

For more information and submission details, please visit the Urban Planning special issue


Holy Cross Students visit to James Cook University

On 23 March 2021, TUDLab hosted Year 5 and 6 girls from Holy Cross Primary School at the Cairns/Nguma-bada campus.  The girls are designing a park in the surrounding Smithfield Village neighbourhood, and they came to learn more about studying planning and urban design at JCU.  They toured the Ideas Lab and Library, and did some model building in the TUDLab. To see a video of their visit see here: https://fb.watch/5a79HVmVw8/

Holy Cross School visit


Book launch: Tropical Constrained Environments and Sustainable Adaptations

TUDLab’s Simona Azzali have teamed up with JCUS’ K Thirumaran and co-edited a volume for Springer that investigates resource-constrained environments in the tropics and subtropics.

The Tropics are home to nearly half the world’s population, have rapid population growth forecast, and significant economic and social inequality challenges. Significant urbanisation is underway in Southeast Asia. Issues like poverty, inequality, unsustainable energy consumption and declining infrastructure will shape government and business decisions for years to come. It is critical to find creative and sustainable but also very concrete solutions to address most pressing urban issues and build tropical resilience and developing research and design capability in areas related to urbanisation and sustainable adaptations in the tropics, by engaging with industry and bridging academic knowledge and real-world issues to create better tropical environments.

While there is plenty more to explore in the study of tropical constrained environments, Tropical Constrained Environments and Sustainable Adaptations is a strong start.

Read the press release.


Planning for COVID-driven regional growth

4 February 2021

image of castle hill and city

TUDLab’s Lisa Law says planning for pandemic-fuelled population growth in regional cities and towns needs to take into account the needs of newcomers and the wishes of people who already live in those locations.

Read the full article.