Urbanisation is among the most significant contemporary social and environmental transformations occurring on earth. The Urban Research Program at Western Sydney University provides a focus for interdisciplinary research and scholarship on cities and regions. The program aims to advance theoretical and applied knowledge on urban management, liveability and resilience. This is a critical agenda for a world that is both rapidly urbanising and fast depleting the resources required to sustain urban and regional lives.
The Urban Research Program has concentrated its agenda on a small number of interlaced research themes. These are not mutually exclusive but can be considered separate lenses for examining urban management, liveability and resilience. The themes which underpin our vision are:
1. Critical studies of housing and liveability
This theme includes work on housing affordability and provision; tenure, ownership and finance models; the meaning of home and homelessness; and understanding and enhancing urban liveability for individuals and communities. These are key issues in Greater Western Sydney and across Australia, and this theme is strongly supported by our involvement in the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).
2. Economies and regional infrastructure
This theme encompasses research on neo-liberalism and economic change; spatially uneven development; local enterprise; infrastructure planning and regulation; transport and mobility; and sustainable and alternative growth trajectories. This is multilayered work that examines what kinds of growth might promote resilience – economically, socially and ecologically. The development and management of infrastructure is also linked to questions of liveability.
3. Geographies of difference and rights to the city
This theme critiques spatial manifestations of social and cultural relations of urban life, including migration, diversity and racism; gender and sexuality; and human/nature relations. This is multi-dimensional work that interrogates questions of individual and community resilience, social cohesion and citizenship. Practically, this work aims to understand how investment in and regulation of the social and material environment.