Urban Futures

Research that informs how cities can be more equitable, sustainable and accountable by providing integrated planning and design solutions for rapid population growth and urbanisation.

Given rapid urbanisation and population growth, we will assist the public and private sectors to transform how cities are planned, built, and governed to achieve healthy sustainable urban development.

We will focus on understanding the policy world we are trying to influence, through co-designing research with policy-makers and practitioners, and disseminating our findings through public, private and non-government partners.

Working with external stakeholders is key to creating impact in this area. We believe that working with outside partners will build in relevance, whether working on research with local governments or with international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation.

The research skills and competencies within this ECP can be applied to any sector or organisation, regardless of size or stage of development. The primary areas where our expertise will be directed are indicated below.

lauren rickards

Our Vision

Lauren Rickards, Interim Director, RMIT Urban Futures ECP

RMIT and our external partners will work together to address the complex city planning, design and policy challenges facing metropolitan and regional cities across the globe.

Our multidisciplinary research capability will enable the public and private sectors to transform the way cities are planned, built and governed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Key application areas

Urban planning and design
Housing
Transport
Economic development and employment
Resources (water and energy)
Urban greening
Infrastructure
Urban governance
Climate change mitigation and adaption
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ECP Post-COVID-19 Restart Initiatives

Along with harnessing existing research networks and projects to respond to COVID-19, RMIT’s Enabling Capability Platforms (ECPs) launched five cross-platform initiatives in June 2020 to address various key areas for post COVID-19 recovery. 

Priority Industry Sectors

  • Local, State and Federal Government
  • Non-Government Organisations
  • Energy
  • Urban and transport design
  • Water authorities
  • Housing and property development
  • Health
  • Urban economics

Research and innovation priorities

Concept Papers

The Enabling Capability Platforms initiated Concept Papers aimed at supporting the development of ideas for major interdisciplinary projects to address significant challenges requiring a truly interdisciplinary team to make substantial progress.
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Dr Serene Ho’s Concept Paper titled ‘Thinking About Treaty Spatially’ is now available to view. The paper explores spatial implications of treaty for land and geospatial professionals for building a shared future.

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Professor Lauren Rickards and Associate Professor Wendy Steele’s Concept Paper titled: ‘Towards a Sustainable Development Goals Transformation Platform at RMIT’ is now available to view. The paper explores what would it take for RMIT University to be a world-leading university in Sustainable Development Goals innovation?

Urban futures networks

Transport@RMIT

Multidisciplinary, data-driven, policy and industry engaged transport research.

UrbanGreening@RMIT

In Australia and around the world most of us live in urban areas. More than ever we need to plan and manage green cities that foster our health and wellbeing and contribute to social, cultural and environmental resilience.

Crowdsourcing@RMIT

CRN@RMIT is the premier network for crowdsourcing-related research and innovation at RMIT.

Policy@RMIT

Policy@RMIT (P@R) aims to understand and enable researchers and policy practitioners to work collectively to support evidence-informed decision-making relating to major policy and societal issues.

SDG@RMIT Transformation Platform

What would it take for RMIT to be a world leading university in SDG innovation? A report into ways of deepening and leveraging RMIT’s engagement with UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda, notably a possible SDG Innovation Platform.

Space and Spatial Capability Cluster

RMIT’s unique and world-leading expertise in spatial science, analysis, computing and visualisation is being harnessed to establish a ‘Space and Spatial Capability Cluster @ RMIT’.

Circular Economy Hub@RMIT

The Circular Economy Hub (CEH) at RMIT is a cross-disciplinary, industry-engaged network of researchers and experts across the University working on cutting edge and innovative CE research across Australia and internationally.

Regional Futures@RMIT

This collaborative research Network brings together researchers from across RMIT University to contribute, combine and discuss their knowledge and ideas around the crucial issue of regional futures.

Contact us

Connect with RMIT Research

If you're not sure how you can best work with us, our team can explain what's possible and put you in touch with the right person. 

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.