Difficult Urban Questions; the inaugural Cities@Melbourne Symposium

Difficult Urban Questions; the inaugural Cities@Melbourne Symposium

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$0 – $50

Date and time


Melbourne Connect

700 Swanston Street

Carlton, VIC 3053


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Refunds up to 7 days before event

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

A day of conversations and debates about the role of cities in today's most pressing societal challenges.

About this event

You're Invited

This public event, from the University of Melbourne's Melbourne Centre for Cities, is for anyone interested in how urban spaces are shaped when they're challenged at a global scale.

This day long symposium, featuring thought provoking speakers, cutting edge research and practice, and collaborative research roundtables, offers the opportunity for delegates to think about opportunities and challenges in managing, planning, living, working and governing cities.

This event is about city leadership in an interconnected but disrupted world, and how questions , however difficult, are key prompts to explore our collective futures.

You're invited to attend any individual component, or the whole day at the cutting edge Melbourne Connect, in the heart of the Carlton Precinct.

We seek to make a difference by the end of the symposium. You will leave with new knowledge and collaborators, while contributing your own expertise towards real local and global challenges.

Synopsis and themes of event

Cities are at the crossroads of some of today’s most pressing challenges. From frontlines bearing the brunt of the pandemic and of climate-induced hazards, to turnstiles of international migration and economic flows, what happens in and through cities is essential to shaping the future. Research and action in and on cities, in turn, is rising fundamental questions about the ways in which we live, thrive and adapt as a predominantly urban species – with many difficult and uncomfortable questions now at hand for experts and practitioners. How do we maintain sustainable and yet 24-hour thriving cities, and do so in the wake of climate disasters? How can we build ‘global’ cities that are at the same time equitable and inclusive? These and many other Difficult Urban Questions are at the heart of this year’s Cities@Melbourne Symposium’s theme. We aim to not shy away from complex conversations and to encourage debate on the basis of world class evidence built in partnership between academia and the world around universities, from local government to civil society and the private sector. Difficult Urban Questions will challenge you to engage, discuss, and act, through a day of moderated sessions and showcases convening in Melbourne key voices on the future of cities in an innovative, co-produced format. The symposium is brought to you by the Melbourne Centre for Cities, an international research hub at the University of Melbourne working closely with key stakeholders and city leaders nationally and internationally. It offers a venue in which to debate, network and gather evidence about key urban challenges for cities big and small, with a suite of activities geared explicitly toward action and implementation on the basis of graspable evidence. Join us on Friday 7 October, for the whole day, or for the questions and themes that interest you the most in the program below!

Summary Program:


9:15am to 9:45am Welcome to Country, Welcome to Event

9:45am to 10:30am Plenary Panel #1 - Who Should Respond to Difficult Urban Questions

1:45pm to 2:30pm Plenary Panel #2 - Horizons Program, and How Does Inclusivity Help or Hinder Difficult Urban Dilemmas?

5:15pm to 6:15pm: Plenary Panel # 3 - How does City Research Solve Difficult Global Challenges?

Research and Impact Roundtables:

11am to 12:15pm Session 1 : Cities, Biodiversity and Climate Crises; Indigenous Cities; Connected Cities

2:45pm to 4:00pm Session 2: Inclusive and Just Cities; Retrofitting Cities; Cities at Night

Full Event Program will be listed here closer to the event.. and also at https://sites.research.unimelb.edu.au/cities#latest-news

Interactive, collaborative outputs:

Delegates will be contributing to three key activities ; input into a key priority question from the Carlton Precinct community; adding a piece towards a large city mural to be displayed at the Melbourne Centre for Cities; and building the research capacity of our Centre.

Note: while Morning Tea and Afternoon Tea are provided, there are a number of options for lunch - including paid lunches, bring your own, non attendance - see below.

We do ask you bring your water bottle to re-fill at the event, to limit waste generated.

Carlton Conversations

Delegates are encouraged to continue the symposium conversations over a lunch in our local precinct of Carlton. Participants can sign up and pay for lunch on Lygon street, bring their own food , or a Bento box in Lincoln Square (or not join us for lunch at all!).

Ticket options*:

Registration to attend the Forum is free, and a Zoom webinar link will be provided for those who can’t attend in person, and want to listen into the proceedings.

Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea and Post event Networking is including in registration. Lunch includes paid options*.

* we have arrange a range of lunch options, the fee charged is actual cost to be paid to caterer or restaurant, and inclusive of Eventbrite fees

1) Sit down two course lunch, plus drink and coffee $50 Lygon St Venues include: King and Godfree

2) Walk, talk and eat - Hareruya Pantry bento box plus drink : $50. Venue: Lincoln Square

3) Walk, talk and eat - Bring your own lunch (BYO) Venues include: Lincoln Square

4) no lunch option, I wont attend lunch

5) Post event networking function at Johnny’s Greenroom, rooftop bar – Lygon and Faraday Streets Carlton. - free - From 6:30pm

Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea and post event networking are included in the free registration, so you will need to provide any dietary requirements in the ticket booking process.

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