Community empowerment, transformative cities, and building a resilient and transformative economy
The orthodox methods of addressing external risks, such as climate change adaptation plans, public health emergency contingency planning, and sustainable economic growth 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 spaces, particularly in urban areas, that tend to experience higher susceptibility to external risks (such as climate change, natural disasters, and public health emergencies) 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 view transformative growth and fundamental reorientation of economic resources as integral parts of the solution.
Social disorganisation and vulnerability are other undesired outcomes of the unpredictable and widespread external economic shocks. This is due to a sudden and tough competition between members of society to acquire precious resources, most of which may be depleted during unprecedented events such as natural disasters or pandemics resulting in an even more chaotic and disorganised condition.
Furthermore, 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.
Accordingly, this flagship takes a multi-disciplinary approach to look at changing economies, challenges and opportunities, with a particular focus on community-driven development, unlocking the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities, sustainable cities, regional competitiveness, and emerging practices for inclusive, transformative and resilient growth.
The flagship has two major objectives:
- Explore the hidden relationships that exist between socio-environmentally responsible communities and their ability to unlocking inclusive and sustainable growth capacities.
- Provide empowered solutions for capacity building within communities and cities so as to facilitate climate-change actions, and achieve our vision for the development of transformative cities.