ities shape us and we shape our cities. We are living in uncertain times. Can cities hold significant answers to addressing some of the challenges facing us today?

We all have heard about nature-based solutions, low-carbon futures, liveable, socially just, smart and climate resilient cities. What do they mean?

Join RMIT lecturers and researchers to discuss how we can shape the future of our cities to find out how their teaching and research has real life impact – creating urban spaces that protects the environment adapts to climate change and are equitable.

Panel members:

Dr Susie Maloney (Climate change adaptation policy)

Dr Susie Moloney is an Associate Professor in Sustainability and Urban Planning in the School of Global Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. She is also a member of the Centre for Urban Research (CUR), RMIT. Her research focuses on land-use planning, urban sustainability and climate change and the implications for policy and governance arrangements particularly at the local and regional scale. She has worked for both the public and private sectors in the urban planning and sustainability policy domains. Over recent years she has worked on a range of applied climate change research projects with local and state government and community sector organisations. She is one of the co-founders of The Climate Change Exchange which is a not-for-profit organisation that is committed to the goals of equity and ecological sustainability in working towards a climate resilience future. Hosted by CUR, RMIT during its pilot first year, the Climate Change Exchange aims to build the capabilities of organisations to make evidence-informed decisions and take actions that target the root drivers of risks and vulnerabilities.

Candace Jordan

Candace is a Climate change adaptation and sustainability officer at City of Melbourne. She has been working as a climate change adaptation practitioner for over eight years across state and local levels of government. Candace has been involved in the development and implementation of City of Melbourne’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Refresh 2017 with a particular focus on mitigating urban heat and monitoring and evaluating the cities adaptation strategy. She has a collaborative approach to adaptation planning and policy, building relationships across organisations and disciplines to achieve positive adaptation outcomes. During her time at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Candace led the delivery of the Inter-jurisdictional Adaptation Working Group and contributed to the development of Victoria’s second statewide Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Candace is passionate about building Melbourne’s and its community’s resilience to the impacts of climate change to ensure Melbourne remains a great city to live in and enjoy.

Georgia Garrad

Georgia Gerrard is a Research Fellow with the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group at RMIT. She is a quantitative ecologist and has worked on projects related to imperfect detectability and informative Bayesian priors in ecology. She is currently working on a project investigating better planning for biodiversity in the urban fringe; one of four native grassland projects funded by The Myer Foundation. This project aims to address incompatibilities between native grassland conservation and urban development in Melbourne, by improving prospects for grassland conservation within housing developments, and investigating alternative urban development scenarios that mitigate impacts on existing grasslands. Her research interests also include the use of science to inform environmental policy, adaptive management and structured decision making.

Prof Usha Iyer-Raniger (Circular economy/ building apartment and housing design standards for a changing climate)

Usha is a Professor at the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University. She is also the Co-Lead of the United Nations One Planet Network’s (OPN) Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme (SBC), (10YFP) on Sustainable Consumption and Production aligned with SDG12. Usha brings wide industry experience to her teaching and research. She has been involved in key projects on sustainability and circularity in the built environment since her commencement at RMIT University at the Centre for Design. Her research projects include national and international projects.

Associate Professor Andrew Butt

Andrew is a lecturer with over 20 years practical experience in planning. Andrew’s research includes investigations of the processes and practice of planning in non-metropolitan settings. He is particularly interested in the way in which land use planners operate as professionals in a context where drivers of change often sit outside of the limits of planning action. He is presently developing a collaborative project developing scenario modelling for future population and land use change, impacts and policy options in central Victoria, Australia. These include a focus on the politics of planning for intensive agricultural systems. He is also involved in research on planning for agricultural systems, particularly intensive agriculture.

Dr Briony Towers

Briony has been conducting disaster risk reduction research with children and young people for over ten years. Her PhD in socio-cultural psychology at the University of Tasmania involved an in-depth investigation of children’s knowledge of vulnerability and resilience to wildfire risk in south eastern Australia. She is currently the lead investigator on the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC project ‘Building Best Practice in Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction’. She is also a member of the National Disaster Resilience Strategy group and a research advisor on the European Commission’s CUIDAR project. Briony’s primary research interests concern the root causes of disasters and how these can be addressed through place-based critical pedagogies and children’s genuine participation in disaster management policy, research and practice. She is also interested in intergenerational climate justice and student-led climate activism.

Facilitator/ Moderator:

 Dr Mittul Vahanvati

Mittul works at the intersection of environmentally sustainable buildings, disaster recovery and community resilience. She is currently the lead researcher working with rural communities in Victoria to co-produce their climate resilience action plan. She is also part of a team of researchers involved in a large-scale action-research project in the Solomon Islands, ‘Climate Resilient Honiara’, funded by the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund and administered by UN-Habitat. Mittul completed her PhD research in 2018, investigating the long-term impacts of post-disaster housing reconstruction projects in terms of building community resilience. She entered academia after 10 years of practice in architecture industry in Australia, Switzerland and India. She is co-founder of a Melbourne-based design + build studio Giant Grass (GG) and coordinator of RMIT’s Urban Futures Early Career Researchers’ Network.

RMIT University have been a proud major partner of the National Sustainable Festival for over 10 years


RMIT University 124 LaTrobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000


19 February 2020