How much Australia's next economic boom will affect the sustainability of Perth and other Australian cities will be discussed at a major national conference to be held at The University of Western Australia next month.
The fourth State of Australian Cities Conference, City Growth, Sustainability, Vitality and Vulnerability involves a range of academic and policy speakers from WA and Australia who focus on issues including: land supply, house prices, labour shortages, climate change adaptation, energy consumption, urban governance, creative cities, low-carbon cities and population health.
Conference co-chairs, UWA's Dr Paul Maginn and Curtin University of Technology's Professor Roy Jones, said recent and projected shifts in the economy had raised serious questions about the sustainability - economic, environmental, social and physical - of Perth, as well as the feasibility of providing West Australians with the opportunity to pursue the so-called great Australian dream of home ownership.
"At the same time, a wide range of organisations and individuals have been at the forefront of much local and vociferous debate about what, if anything, needs to be done to make Perth a more vibrant and dynamic city," Dr Maginn said.
"We have sought to include a range of high-profile and often opposing keynote speakers at the conference in an effort to provoke much-needed debate on the role and significance of cities for Australians and for our policymakers," Professor Jones said.
"Urban development is a topic which many might have seen as the province of architects, planners and urban designers," Dr Maginn said. "However, it is now recognised as an issue which must involve us all - a collective endeavour as we build the city and the society that define us.
"One of the most quoted aphorisms on the significance of the built environment came from Winston Churchill, who said: ‘first we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us.' It might be argued that, in the 21st century, our cities have an even more profound effect on our lives."
The biennial conference, which has been held in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, is jointly hosted by WA's four public universities: UWA, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University.
The conference, from November 24 - 27, is supported by the Australian Sustainable Cities and Regions Network. For more information visit www.promaco.com.au/2009/soac
Dr Paul Maginn (+61 8) 6488 2711 or (+61 4) 21 545 190
(UWA School of Earth and Environment)
Professor Roy Jones (Curtin Dean, Research and Graduate Studies) (+61 8) 9266 3334
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716