Online decision support toolkit for climate resilient seaports

Posted on: December 19th, 2012 by melissa

Port Botany, NSW

The toolkit aims to provide information that is relevant to ports including:

  • Current and future projections of climate information
  • Geographic characteristics
  • Forward projections of socio-economic data

It aims to incorporate datasets from:

  • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
  • The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Economics (BITRE),

Key features include:

  • Simplified selection and explanation of CSIRO climate data
  • Tailored workflow to support the identification of adaptation options
  • Socio-economic ‘futures’, putting population pressures and commodity demand shifts in context
  • User-determined data access, from private collaborative workspaces to public ‘read-only’ report formats.

Opportunity spaces: community engagement in the planning, use and governance of shared school facilities

Posted on: December 4th, 2012 by melissa

This research will capitalize on investment across Australia in renewing schools and building community education precincts. The work will illuminate the role played by civic infrastructure in community building, the benefits of coordinating social and educational services, and the potential of schools as learning resources for the whole community. The research will also break new ground by investigating the digital resources of schools as a potential shared community resource.

School-based field research is a key part of the project. The research team will conduct intensive field research at three contrasting school sites in metropolitan and rural Victoria.

The research will fill major gaps in our knowledge about educational partnerships, schools as social infrastructure, and community building. In particular, the project will develop new methods and tools to optimise community engagement in shared facilities. The project will make a valuable contribution to national and international research into the potential and problems of shared schools.

Living change: adaptive housing responses to climate change in the town camps of Alice Springs

Posted on: December 4th, 2012 by melissa

The project has three primary research objectives: 1. To identify current adaptive practices of residents in newly provided or refurbished houses in three Alice Springs town camps in relation to comfort control and healthy-living practices, and highlight resident vulnerabilities to extreme weather events (particularly increased incidents of hot weather), and rising energy and water costs. 2. To identify tenancy management practices that increase or reduce vulnerabilities to climate change scenarios for town camp residents and promote the integration of sustainable living practices into existing tenancy management and future public housing provision. 3. To build the existing research capacity of the Tangentyere Research Hub to include energy and water use studies, and sustainable design through technical and social practice research.

The primary research questions focus on the following areas:

  1. Identification of the mix of passive and active responses to climate change among town camp residents and tenancy management organizations
  2. Identifying the key drivers of these responses, including the role of household members, household hardware, and management methods.
  3. Investigation of the effectiveness of current education/information programs designed to strengthen community and household resilience to climate change.

Interviews will be conducted with residents of Alice  Springs’ Town Camps, the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company, and Territory Housing..

Ancient cultures: new futures

Posted on: November 19th, 2012 by melissa

Sri Lankan society has for many years been beset by conflict, the most destructive experience of which occurred during the war from 1983 to 2009 in which many tens of thousands of people died. Despite the formal end of hostilities the legacy of division, hostility and suspicion continues, in many areas compounded by poverty and economic and political disadvantage. This project, which builds upon work begun in 2009, is done in collaboration with Global Reconciliation, an international foundation based in Australia. In 2010 and 2011 the project involved AFL indigenous and other players in reconciliation tours of critical areas in the country. In August 2012 the project ran the first globally connected, national civil-society reconciliation conference in Sri Lanka since the war.

The overall aim of the project is to explore the possibilities, and to help establish the social infrastructure, for community-based collaborations across national, religious, ethnic and political differences in Sri Lanka.

The first, exploratory, stages of the project will entail two specific objectives:

  1. The building of a coalition of groups and individuals to support collaborative partnerships across difference in Australia, Sri Lanka and internationally
  2. The convening of a national workshop in Sri Lanka to explore models, tools, openings and possibilities for advancing the building of partnerships across difference (24–26 August 2012 with over fifty participants from across the country and across political and religious lines.

Synthesis study of community expectations of emergency management

Posted on: October 26th, 2012 by melissa

This projects aims to establish an understanding of community expectations of emergency management in Victoria and indicate what is being done to meet them. This project is being undertaken for the Victorian Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC) to inform the development of standards for emergency management.

Analysing the urban renewal of Fener-Balat districts from a human security perspective

Posted on: October 26th, 2012 by melissa

This research, funded by the Human Security and Disasters Program, looks at the human and community dimensions of a currently developed urban renewal program for Fener-Balat districts, located on the historical peninsula of Istanbul, Turkey. The research findings were presented to a diverse international academic and research community at a conference in Athens in early April 2012. The conference presentation will shortly be submitted to the conference organizers to be published as a refereed book chapter.

Sharing responsibility

Posted on: October 26th, 2012 by melissa

This project is based on the premise that using multiple ways of framing underlying issues in Australian disaster management is important for developing a more nuanced understanding of the meaning of shared responsibility. It therefore aims to stimulate ‘frame-reflexive’ thinking, learning and practice.

The first, completed stage of the project involved a broad, interdisciplinary review of the ways that underlying challenges for sharing responsibility in the context of risk are framed conceptually in research studies.

This was followed by a second stage that reviewed types of interventions, activities and processes that have shaped the way responsibility for community safety has been shared in practice in a range of sectors and settings.

The current stage focuses on analyzing case studies of responsibility-sharing issues in the context of Australian disaster management, including issues surrounding the Black Saturday bushfires.

The results of each of these stages will be used to inform and analyze a series of stakeholder workshops. These workshops will reflect on different ways of framing the goals and process of sharing responsibility, and the implications of this for policy and practice in Australia.

Climate change adaptation toolkit: a comprehensive guide to planning for climate change adaptation in three steps

Posted on: October 24th, 2012 by melissa

The Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit has been developed by the Net Balance Foundation in partnership with the City of Greater Geelong and RMIT University’s Climate Change Adaptation Program.

The Toolkit aims to support organizations to:

  • integrate adaptation and support effective and efficient risk management
  • be more responsive to climate change shocks and trends
  • maintain standards of service delivery in the face of more extreme conditions
  • make effective and consistent decisions regarding climate change
  • form linkages across different work-areas, internally and externally
  • incorporate uncertainty into decisionmaking
  • make adaptation decisions that work across a range of future scenarios
  • build flexibility into adaptation actions.

The Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit has been trialled and tested with different business units of the City of Greater Geelong. It has been developed for local government, but it is relevant for any government body or other organization currently considering the impacts of climate change to their business/services/community.

The Toolkit has been developed to provide guidance on how to integrate climate change risk management into organizational processes and decisions (i.e. mainstream climate change adaptation) and support robust decision making in the face of various types of uncertainty. The Toolkit consists of three process tools that can be used in sequence or in a stand-alone fashion, and a comprehensive user guide.

The Toolkit will be launched on 25 October 2012 and will be available free of charge for non-commercial use (see link below).

Implementing tools to increase adaptive capacity in the community and natural resource management sectors

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012 by melissa

The project will work closely with Victorian Government departments throughout the project and establish good direct rapport with core project stakeholders in community service organizations, catchment management authorities and primary care partnerships. Once project stakeholders have been identified, a needs analysis will identify current adaptation capacities and constraints within these organizations.

Up to four adaptation tools will be selected for testing. The in-depth tools trial will deliver new knowledge on the limitations and opportunities associated with each of the tools in the context of facilitating adaptation within the three types of organizations participating in the project.

The tools trial process will also provide the basis for developing an engagement framework that can facilitate the uptake and integration of climate change adaptation among the three types of government service providers and funded agencies.

A biography of money flows in the Indian diaspora in Australia and community

Posted on: September 25th, 2012 by melissa

This research will add to our knowledge of migrant money. To date, much of the research has family and community remittances. Remittances have been important for understanding how money is a medium of relationship in transnational families; a possible facilitator for development and one of the largest international flows of money. Remittances include three components – migrant workers’ remittances, the compensation of non-resident staff such as embassy employees, and migrants’ capital transfers (Ratha, 2003).

Studying the life histories of 14 transnational families in India and Australia involves interviews with family members in India and Australia. These interviews are augmented by participation observation, periodic contact with the Australian participants, and the offer of hospitality when family from India visit Australia. It means that for most families there are two to three individual and group interviews, and periodic interaction. This qualitative data is analyzed with the help of NVivo 9, a computer program. Use of NVivo helps make transparent how the data fits the emerging theory.