Community empowerment, transformative growth, and building a resilient economy
The "Community empowerment, transformative growth, and building a resilient economy" flagship of the Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia (CITBA) focuses on addressing the inadequacies of traditional methods for managing external risks such as climate change, public health emergencies, and economic growth.
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.
This flagship recognizes that these methods have failed to account for the ongoing structural changes associated with economic development and the emergence of new comparative advantages and skills, particularly in vulnerable communities and exposed spaces. The flagship takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the challenges and opportunities presented by changing economies, with a specific 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 aims to address the issues of social disorganization and vulnerability that can result from external economic shocks, as well as the lack of sustainability in Australian cities as measured by the Global Sustainability Index. The flagship aims to provide long-term planning strategies and sustainable solutions to achieve a balance between economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection.
The flagship has three major objectives:
- Investigate the Nexus between Socio-Environmentally Responsible Communities and Inclusive, Sustainable Growth: Explore and understand the underlying connections between communities that prioritize social and environmental responsibility and their potential to unlock inclusive and sustainable growth capacities. This research will delve into the transformative aspects of these communities and their impact on fostering resilient economies.
- Empower Communities and Cities for Climate-Change Action: Develop and provide innovative solutions for capacity building within communities and cities to facilitate effective climate-change actions. By empowering communities with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources, we aim to support their transition towards sustainable practices and resilience-building, contributing to the vision of transformative cities.
- Foster Transformative Urban and Regional Areas: Work towards our vision for the development of transformative cities and regions by identifying strategies and approaches that can drive transformative growth and create resilient economies. This objective entails exploring novel frameworks, policies, and practices that enable cities to thrive in the face of social, economic, and environmental challenges, and to realize sustainable development goals