Post-industrial vacancy: Mixed-use residential development and the future of industrial lands

Post-industrial vacancy: Mixed-use residential development and the future of industrial lands

Free, lunch provided – please RSVP

This event is presented as part of The Festival of Urbanism 6: Cities, housing, and health. The festival – co-sponsored by Monash Urban Planning and Design, along with the Henry Halloran Trust, the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and the Charles Perkins Centre – aims to raise the debate about urban health, and other key topics, in its Melbourne and Sydney programs, 2-12 September 2019.

Urban policy actively promotes the rezoning of industrial lands for mixed-use residential development, assuming its redundancy in a post-industrial economy.

This results not only in residential gentrification, but also in the loss of small manufacturers, creative producers, and the quality jobs and vital services that they provide.

At the same time, many new mixed-use residential projects are unable to lease their ground floor retail space and retail vacancy has skyrocketed in some suburbs.

Meanwhile, some former industrial zones have been designated National Employment and Innovation Clusters focused on knowledge-based businesses.

Can we creatively recover space for productive uses in the city? Is there room to rethink the redevelopment of industrial lands to create real land use diversity and a mix of employment opportunities?


  • Chris Gibson, University of Wollongong
  • Carl Grodach, Monash University
  • Lee-Anne Khor, Monash University
  • Justin O'Connor, University of South Australia
  • Mirjana Lozanovska, Deakin University


Chris Gibson is Professor of Human Geography and Executive Director of the Global Challenges Program at the University of Wollongong. His research interests focus on geographical dimensions of cultural industries, festivals, and more recently, urban manufacturing. In 2013, he was the lead consultant and expert contributor to the United Nations Creative Economy Report: Widening Development Pathways. Hi books include Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers: Craft, Creativity and Cultural Heritage in Hawai’i, California and Australia (2014), Creativity in Peripheral Places: Redefining the Creative Industries (2016), and a forthcoming book “following” guitars from factory to sawmills and forests for University of Chicago Press.

Carl Grodach is Foundation Professor and Director of Urban Planning & Design and Director of the Monash Urban Lab at Monash University. He is author of the book Urban Revitalization: Remaking Cities in a Changing World (Routledge, 2015) and editor of The Politics of Urban Cultural Policy: Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2013). Currently, he leads the Australian Research Council project Urban cultural policy and the changing dynamics of cultural production, which aims to identify new directions for urban cultural policy through international comparative research around the emerging nexus between the cultural industries and manufacturing.

Lee-Anne Khor is a senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture, MADA, Monash University and a member of the Monash Urban Lab. She employs speculative design as a tool for navigating the complex and often conflicting imperatives of urban regeneration and seeks to facilitate advancements in the built environment through strategic policy formation. Most recently, she has been leading an inter-disciplinary study into the spatial morphology and potential for precinct-scaled renewal of suburban industrial centres with colleagues in the Departments of Economics, Architecture and Urban History.

Justin O’Connor is Professor in the School of Creative Industries, University of South Australia. He is also visiting Professor in the School of Media and Design, Shanghai Jiaotong University. From 2012-2018 he was Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy at Monash University. In 2013 he completed his research on Creative Clusters, Soft Infrastructure and New Media: Developing Capacity in China and Australia, partnered with Shanghai Jiaotong University. Justin is the author of the 2016 Platform Paper After the Creative Industries: Why we need a Cultural Economy, and a forthcoming book Red Creative: Culture and Modernity in Contemporary China.

Mirjana Lozanovska is Associate Professor at Deakin University. Her work investigates the creative ways that architecture mediates human dignity and identity through multidisciplinary theories of space, and it examines migration/mobility and the reinvention of the city. Her books include Migrant Housing: Architecture, Dwelling, Migration (2019) and Ethno-Architecture and the Politics of Migration (2016). Mirjana is co-editor of the major architectural history journal Fabrications: JSAHANZ. Mirjana leads the #Vacant Geelong project with a collaborative architecture-art team (Cameron Bishop, Anne Scott Wilson, Akari Nakai-Kidd). VacantGeelong connects architecture with art and industry to go beyond the usual pragmatic utilisation of ex-industrial sites through engagement of the cultural and social memories of the vibrant communities these vacant sites embody. Its creative and research works (since 2015) have been awarded funding from Arts Victoria, CoGG and National Wool Museum.