Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia Flagships Community empowerment, transformative cities, and building a climate-resilient economy

Community empowerment, transformative cities, and building a climate-resilient economy

Children walking across the bridge

Australian cities are lagging behind in their Global Sustainability Index scores with no Australian city making the top 30. This index ranks 100 leading global cities on the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet and profit) as well 32 other different indicators that are closely aligned with the United Nation's sustainable development goals (SDG). This indicates that long-term planning is crucial for major Australian cities in order to achieve a degree of sustainable balance, economic legacy and strategic decisions to manage long-term impacts of economic growth.

On the other hand, the orthodox methods of addressing climate change adaptation plans and sustainable economic growth in cities are no longer adequate. These methods, so far, have not only ignored the ongoing structural changes associated with economic development but also failed to account for evolving industries’ composition and the emergence of new comparative advantages and skills. Particularly, vulnerable communities and exposed areas (particularly in urban areas) that tend to experience higher susceptibility to climate change have been largely ignored in incremental adaptation plans. Vulnerable communities and areas not only require different adaptive responses to climate risk but also possess unlocked adaptive capacity that can motivate different patterns of sustainable development to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda. It is essential, therefore, to make cities and urban areas an integral part of the solution in achieving sustainable development goals and fighting climate change.

Accordingly, this flagship is directly aligned to with SDG8, SDG11, SDG13 and SDG17.


The flagship has two major objectives:

  1. Explore the hidden relationships that exist between socio-environmentally responsible communities and their ability to unlocking inclusive and sustainable growth capacities.
  2. Provide empowered solutions for capacity building within communities so as to facilitate climate-change actions, and achieve our vision for the development of transformative cities.