Net Zero Urban Futures: hype, hope or reality?

Net Zero Urban Futures: hype, hope or reality?

  • 12 September 2022, 12.30–2pm
  • Monash Art, Design and Architecture
    Building C, Room C110
    900 Dandenong Road
    Caulfield campus 3145

    Or online

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Net zero is put forward as a way out of the climate crisis and the logical pathway to the sustainable transformation of urban environments. This panel discussion brings together researchers and partners from the Net Zero Precincts Linkage project to reflect on how different net zero framings are shaping future cities and how people, politics and place can be better accounted for.


Dr. Trish McGee, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Monash. Dr. Trish McGee has led the Monash Council Sustainability team since 2016 and is delivering on the key priorities of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2010-26 for the City of Monash. The most recent success was working with council to achieve a Zero Net carbon corporate target by 2025, and in the endorsement of a Zero Net carbon Action plan to guide delivery for this and supporting the community in a low carbon future.

Prof. Sarah Pink, Director, Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Monash University. Professor Sarah Pink is Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University, which undertakes critical interdisciplinary and international research into the social, cultural and experiential dimensions of the design, use and futures of new and emerging technologies. Her research focuses on emerging intelligent technologies, automation, data, digital futures, safety and design for wellbeing.

Dr. Darren Sharp, Monash Sustainable Development Institute.  Dr. Darren Sharp is a senior Research Fellow at Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Darren is a sustainability transitions researcher interested in urban experimentation, living labs, grassroots innovations and the sharing economy. He is Interdisciplinary Research Lead of the Monash-ENGIE Alliance and ARC Linkage project Net Zero Precincts which brings together transition management and design anthropology to pioneer a new approach to transitioning cities to net zero.

Margot Delafoulhouze, Cities System Lead, Climateworks Centre. Margot leads Climateworks Centre’s Cities team, catalysing system-level transitions to net zero emissions in the urban environment and overseeing our transport, buildings and infrastructure programs. She has been driving change in the environment and climate space for nearly a decade, with experience spanning across research, consulting, policy and advocacy. Prior to joining Climateworks, Margot worked as Head of Sustainable Cities for WWF France, leading advocacy campaigns and programs on sustainable cities, buildings and transport.


Prof. Rob Raven, Monash Sustainable Development Institute.  Professor Rob Raven is an interdisciplinary scholar, professor of sustainability transitions and deputy director (research) at Monash Sustainable Development Institute.  His research agenda is focused on analysis of transformative change in urban context such as smart, sustainable and net-zero cities. A key question is how socio-technical experimentation, institutional change and incumbency in urban regimes co-produce sustainable city futures.

The annual Festival of Urbanism is a series of conversations where researchers, practitioners, community advocates and industry leaders come together to debate the threats and opportunities facing our cities and regions.

Melbourne: 12 - 17 September 2022
Sydney: 19 - 23 September 2022

Cities and regions are at a precipice – from the climate crisis to rising social inequality and the ongoing global pandemic – the future has never seemed more uncertain. Unsustainable patterns of land and resource-use persist despite extraordinary technological advances over the past century. The pervasive rise of digital platforms has disrupted every facet of society from how we work, travel, shop and socialise to our experiences of home. Urban planning, as a future-oriented discipline, has often embraced new technological solutions at the expense of meaningful community engagement or systemic change. Yet the promise of the so called ‘smart city’, while often unrealised, brings with it a space to explore alternatives, and opportunities for more socially just and environmentally resilient places.

In this context, the 9th Festival of Urbanism asks how our future cities and regions will change, and what interventions are needed to address the mistakes of the past. From reinstating the voices of First Nations’ communities, to transitioning to zero carbon models of development and ensuring affordable homes for the many rather than rising housing wealth for the few, this year’s Festival of Urbanism engages with a wide range of topics through a combination of live and online events, podcasts and films. With diverse speakers and thought leaders from academia, industry, policy and advocacy communities, discussions at the 2022 Festival of Future Urbanism promise to inform, challenge and inspire.

Join us to debate and define opportunities to bring about better urban and regional futures.

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