Research programs

The Global Cities Research Institute ceased operation at the end of 2015, ending an era of successful collaboration under a more traditional discipline based research framework which has been replaced by Enabling Capability Platforms in eight focus areas.

The RMIT Global Cities Research Institute brings researchers across the University into an ongoing collaboration framed by concerns about social and environmental sustainability with a particular focus on the themes of globalization and global environmental sustainability. The strategically chosen cities provide the locus of our research, but we want to understand those cities in context. In other words, the Global Cities Institute is based on the premise that cities can only be adequately understood in local, regional, national and global contexts.

The Institute’s research programs investigate questions of sustainability, resilience, security and adaptation in relation to globalization and climate change.

The key themes and questions underlying each programs’ research are outlined below:

Climate Change Adaptation
'City Waterfall' Melbourne by Melburnian, Flickr

Program Leader: Darryn McEvoy
Program Manager: Jane Mullett

How can cities and communities best plan for climate change? This program seeks to understand future climate risks and to explore how cities, communities, and individuals can best adapt to climate change in the context of complex socio-ecological stress.

Community, Migration and Development
Federal Elections campaigning outside Desa Mentari flats, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, April 2008

Program Leader: Shahadat Khan, Supriya Singh

How do communities shape, and how are they shaped by processes of globalization and the use of information and communication technologies? This program translates research into more effective theory and policies around community sustainability, and develops policy tools for measuring indices of community sustainability across cities.

Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation
These 15 and 16 year old boys are men.  All but one of them has been through an initiation ceremony.  This status makes it more difficult for them to attend school.  Here they are pictured in front of a mural which says 'Youth Outreach Team.  Incite Youth Arts and CAAC AHYS Gap Youth Centre'.  The Youth Outreach bus operates three nites a week and drives home 3,000 boys and youths per year.  Alice Springs, Australia, July 2011.

Program Leader: Barry Judd
Program Manager: Tim Butcher

How can we collaboratively understand and enact forms of meaningful engagement across cultural difference? Based upon a foundational ethic of reciprocity, this program investigates global and local indigeneity in the context of a worldwide movement for social change.

Globalization and Culture
President Obama depicted as The Joker, sold illegally outside the Metropolitan Museum. New York, USA, February 2011.

Program Leader: Chris Hudson, Manfred Steger

How can we understand the intensification and expansion of cultural flows through globalizing cities and their regions? This program investigates cultural aspects of globalization in its local and global forms in cities across the world.

Human Security and Disasters
HS_Mullaitivu Church_Sri Lanka

Program Leader: John Handmer, Jeff Lewis
Program Manager: Robin Cameron

How can cities harness their immense resources to cope with crises? This program focuses on pathways for recovering from conflict, building resilience and reducing disaster vulnerability.

Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures
Fitzroy Melbourne

Program Leader: John Fien, Ralph Horne

How can communities, cities and regions support the transition towards sustainable futures? With the goal of ensuring the productivity, livability and sustainability of cities and regions, the program seeks to develop the evidence base for policies, strategies and tools for delivering planning productive cities and regions that are diverse, vibrant and affordable and in which the social capital and resilience fundamental to productivity are promoted.

Urban Decision-Making and Complex Systems
UDM_Singapore 2011

Program Leader: Lin Padgham

How can technology assist in decision-making regarding such things as urban planning and risk analysis? This is a cross-disciplinary program to use and develop advanced technologies in areas such as agent-based simulation to support urban decision-making.