Session: Urban Infrastructure Challenges

Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures Stream


Day 2, Parallel Session 2C: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16), Main Auditorium, Level 5, Room 1

Chair: Professor Peter Fairbrother (RMIT University)


Leigh Glover Transport’s Communal Turn? Integrating Community Transport and Public Transport for Sustainable Transport

  • Presenter and main author: Dr Leigh Glover (University of Melbourne)
  • Abstract: Environmentally sustainable urban transport in Australia requires providing mass mobility in ways with low greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting current passenger mobility needs in the short-term at lower environmental costs necessitates a significant shifting of the mobility task from private motorcars to mass transport (i.e., trains, light rail, and buses) (and to active transport, where feasible). So how to increase public transport services? In the contemporary era—where the Australia’s federal, state, and territorial governments follow a broadly neo-liberal philosophy—investment in public transport and in sustainable transport more generally, has been modest. In the face of this problem, a different kind of solution is offered. Taking urban passenger mobility as constituting a common pool resource problem, then in theory, services can be provided by either: 1) governments; 2) corporations; and 3) communities. One solution is a turn to the communal. Australia has ‘community transport’ which is not really ‘communal’, therefore an expanded concept of community transport is offered as a means to promote sustainable transport. This presentation aims to consider community transport’s potential, with particular attention given to its integration into the existing public transport system as a means to expand the reach and depth of services available.
  • About the presenter: Dr Leigh Glover is the director of GAMUT at the University of Melbourne. He succeeded Professor Nicholas Low in January 2011 to become the Director of GAMUT. Prior to joining GAMUT, Leigh Glover was a Policy Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware undertaking research and graduate teaching. His research interests include urban sustainability, climate change, global environmental politics, environmental policy and planning, environmental and political theory, and issues of science, technology and society. Previously he worked in policy formulation and research for Australian state and federal governments in the areas of climate change, water resources, and public land planning.
Karl Fitzgerald Property Speculation, Sprawl and Profitable Public Transport

  • Presenter and main author: Karl Fitzgerald (Real Estate 4 Ransom)
  • Abstract: Today’s economic system encourages property speculation as if we live on a flat earth. The resultant urban sprawl undermines public transport networks and stretches local governing budgets. A city’s green wedges are sacrificed, in the process providing windfall gains to the wealthiest. Fitzgerald will identify the innovative ‘speculative vacancies’ measure that uses water consumption as a proxy for vacant dwellings. The methodology has been mimicked by the State Grid Power company of China. Other cities are looking to build on this transparency. Land Value Capture is a closed loop system of infrastructure financing. Japan and Hong Kong have adopted LVC to deliver a profitable PT system. Society urgently needs to reduce work hours, connect with local communities and think long term. The immense debt overhead so many strain under must be reduced. LVC is a first step in levelling the playing field between the have’s and have not’s. Urban consolidation and decentralisation are useful by-products. With peak demographics, a faltering tax base and mounting climate pressures,  policy makers need to understand the power of economic rent as outlined in Australia’s Future Tax system, the UK’s Mirlees Report and NZ’s Tax Working Group.
  • About the presenter: Karl Fitzgerald’s major work over the last few years was the documentary Real Estate 4 Ransom. He also runs the weekly Renegade Economists radio show. Karl is the research director behind the influential Speculative Vacancy reports, finding 90,000 empty homes in Melbourne (2011-12). He has a B.Ec (Monash, Clayton) and is Prosper Australia’s Project Coordinator.
Alison Stoakley Leapfrogging for Small-scale Water Infrastructure

  • Presenter and main author: Alison Stoakley (University of Melbourne)
  • Abstract: Small-scale, decentralized water infrastructure is becoming a popular tool for addressing water supply, resource reliability and community empowerment in urban environments. However, often the political and cultural energy that enables the installation of such projects slows and results in lack of maintenance or missed opportunities to build on success. This research investigates initial design conditions that enable small system water infrastructure in existing urban environments to complete its intended life cycle and, importantly, what is different about projects that are able to leapfrog into precinct or regional level systems. The case of Pretoria, South Africa is highlighted due to demonstrated water policy leadership in the globally-recognized 1998 National Water Act and the opportunity to continue this leadership from policy into examples of practical implementation.
  • About the presenter: Alison is an international graduate student in the University of Melbourne Master of Environment program with an undergraduate degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Davis. Alison’s interest in working holistically on sustainable solutions within urban environments stems from a technical engineering background balanced with work experience emphasizing public speaking, community engagement and interpersonal communication as well as the interdisciplinary nature of the Graduate Environmental Program.