A National Urban Policy for Australia - what can we learn from global experience

Lecture Theatre 1 (B117), Basement Level, Glyn Davis Building (MSD), Masson Road, The University of Melbourne Parkville Campus, Melbourne VIC 3010

In the second Dean's Lecture for this year, Professor Greg Clark, UK based leading urban leadership and sustainable urban transition expert posed timely questions about how national policy in Australia might best respond to the post pandemic challenge of a rapidly increasing urban population.

About the event

We are entering the 5th decade of the Century of the City.

From 1980 to 2080 the world population is doubling the percentage of urban dwellers from 40% to 80%, quadrupling the number of people living in cities from 2.3 billion to 9.3 billion, and multiplying by 6 the number of cities with 1 million or more residents, from 275 to 1,600.

Humankind is becoming an urban species. More than 197 countries now have major cities, but less than 25% of Nation States have explicit national policies. Other national policies might be implicitly pro-urban (Public Transport, Affordable Housing, Knowledge Economy) or implicitly anti-urban (pro Cars and roads, pro-sprawl, or anti-density). Urban voters grow more quickly in number than rural voters, but political systems are slow to reflect changed demographics.

We’ve seen three great cycles of national urban policies in recent times: the urban expansions and new towns of the 50s, 60s, and 70s; the age of urban regeneration in the 80s, 90s, 00s; and the phase since 2010 with the focus on urban governance and leadership to address climate change, inequality, and acceleration of urban change.

After the pandemic, a new kind of national urban policy may evolve.

What could that look like? After the pandemic cities need to be reinvented. Can National and Federal Government help? What does Australia need now and how can it be created?

About the speaker

Greg Clark is an advocate for city leaders and urban investors, and a corporate/strategy advisor and NED on urban innovation.

He is a recognised authority on cities, urban leadership, and investment in sustainable urban transition. He has worked with more than 300 cities, 40 national governments, 20 multilateral institutions, and multiple global corporates & investors across the world. In the UK, he is Chair of the Connected Places Catapult (CPC), the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport and place-leadership, and Chair of the Cities Commission for Climate Investment(3Ci) which convenes city leaders and urban investors to capitalise a just urban transition.

He is a Board Member of Transport for London (TfL). He chairs TfL’s Land and Property Committee which oversees TfL property and housing ventures (TTLP). He is Senior Advisor to NLA (New London Architecture) and is Hon Prof of Urban innovation at Strathclyde University.

Globally, his monthly column: The Planet of Cities, is hosted by RICS. He is the Global Cities expert on the BBC World Service Series, My Perfect City. His podcast series is The DNA of Cities.  He is a member of the Bloomberg NEF Cities Council and a member of the WEF Global Future Council on Cities & Urbanisation.

He is the author of 10 books and 100 reports on cities, urban economies, investment, and place-leadership, including:

  • World Cities and Nations States, November 2016, Wiley
  • Global Cities: A Short History, September 2016, Brookings Institution Press
  • The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021 December 2014, Wiley

    Greg Clark Headshot