Locking in liveability: The city we need is the city that cares

How can we lock liveability into our cities in coming decades? That is one of the questions posed for this week’s Australian Urban Thinkers Campus at RMIT University.

As part of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, RMIT will host the full day of discussion on Tuesday, 16 February.

World Vision Australia CEO, Tim Costello, is the keynote speaker, along with RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, the Mayor of Rotorua, Steve Chadwick and RMIT’s Professor Ralph Horne, Director of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme.

Martin Bean said it was important for the University to be part of making sure that our cities work in this era of change.

“We need a moral compass to help us navigate these changes, especially around issues like climate change, resilience, economic vibrancy, social equity and inclusion,” Martin said.

“We are going to need people who both ask the right questions and then come up with solutions that work.”

The Urban Thinkers Campus is co-hosted by World Vision and the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme and World Vision, as part of their roles as Lead Partners in the World Urban Campaign.

The event is part of a UN-Habitat global campaign to create its New Urban Agenda, to be launched at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Ecuador in October.


Dr Brendan Barrett, from the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, said the aim of the meeting was to discuss solutions that will contribute to locking in liveability for our cities.

“We will tackle the key ethical challenges in city development and living, and draw out new thinking, approaches and partnerships for sustainable urban development,” he said.

Professor Ralph Horne said the Urban Thinkers Campus would elaborate on what defines ethical leadership, what it looks like at the city level, why city planning must take ethical principles into consideration, what ethically oriented local business environments should practice and promote, and what it means to be an ethical and engaged citizen.

Among the other topics to be discussed are ethical urban development, urban resilience, inclusion and right to the city, or the role of local government, business and communities in improving the rights and protections of vulnerable groups and delivering equitable and dignified access to services and economic opportunities.

Hosted by RMIT, the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme is the urban arm of the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, the United Nations Global Compact.

The Cities Programme works with cities, regions and partners to progress social equity and justice, environmental sustainability and good governance in the urban environment.

Story: Louise Handran

Originally published on RMIT News.

  • Header image: The event will tackle the key ethical challenges in city development and living.