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Urban Frontiers engages in projects internationally and in Australia. These projects range from policy research to delivery of education and training services. Projects include:
Shaping the Future through an Asia-Pacific Partnership for Urbanization & Sustainable City Development

Client: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), APEC Secretariat Singapore


This study presents arguments and a rationale for APEC member economies to engage in an Asia-Pacific partnership to shape the future of urbanization and sustainable city development. It discusses the challenges, policies, issues, and changes facing the development and management of cities. Drawing on research on five cities and four urban corridors, the study outlines important lessons from the ways cities are addressing urbanization and sustainable development issues. It discusses the role of innovation in identifying solutions to address the problems of cities. The study also outlines a framework for an Asia-Pacific partnership to shape the future of urbanization and sustainable city development in the region, and provides recommendations for consideration by member economies.



Changing Dynamics of Urban Economics, UN-Habitat World Cities Report, 2016


Client: UN- Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya



This project involves the preparation of a Chapte of the next UN World Cities Report titled the Changing Dynamics of Urban Economies.  The Chapter explores some of the changing dynamics affecting the economic development of cities and outlines an agenda for prioritizing the management of cities in the 21st Century. The dynamics of change in urban economies is now increasingly determined by the interlinked nature of global economies and markets, capital flows and information networks. An Urban Economic Agenda for Cities in the 21st Century will be outlined, addressing such things as the need for cities to learn how to manage and adjust to structural change; fostering clusters, value chains, and job creation; integrated planning and management of urban economic development; addressing the income and wealth disparity gap, infrastructure financing, financing housing markets and investment in slums, and improving the functioning economic systems of cities.

North East Local Services Improvement Project, Sri Lanka

Client: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra and Colombo


This project involves technical support and advice to a $100m World Bank/Australian and Sri Lankan government North East Local Services Improvement Project (NELSIP) to improve the delivery of local infrastructure services by local authorities in the civil war ravaged Northern Province, Eastern Province and adjoining Provinces in an accountable and responsive manner. The Project covers 102 local governments and is helping to support scaling up infrastructure service delivery; institutionalize accountabilities; build capacities; and carry-out assessments and evaluations, in the local authorities.  The project has recently been expanded to include local governments in adjoining Uva, North Western and North Central Provinces.

Australian NGO Sector Urbanization Policy Paper


Client: Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)


The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Shelter Reference Group (SRG) has commissioned Urban Frontiers to conduct research into Australian NGO involvement in urban sector activities in the Indo-Asia Pacific Regions, and to develop a policy paper with recommendations on urbanisation and urban poverty. The paper will be used by the ACFID  SRG for discussion with the Department of  Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to discuss ways to improve the effectiveness and delivery of the current Australian Aid Program framework by promoting a broadening of activities into urban projects and programs that align with promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability, and to enhance the current performance, accountability and effectiveness of Australian aid.  The policy paper will recommend how these issues can be addressed through the DFAT aid delivery mechanisms, to achieve a dual mandate of urban poverty reduction and economic growth.

Report challenges of Intermediary Cities

Client: United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Barcelona



The project involves a narrative input to the United Cities an Local Governments fourth Gold Report. The work involves the preparation of a paper to support the global agenda for local government UCLGs advocacy work on challenges facing the development and management of intermediary cities. The preliminary Narrative of the Gobal Agenda of Local and Regional Governments for Habitat III progress reports sets out five dimensions of local and regional government for the development of the Habitat III Agenda. These were (i) lead local coalitions to develop a shared vision for the future of cities (ii) renew the social contract and strngthen local demoncracy (iii) connecting cities and regions to unlock local potential and promote a territorial approach to development (iv) drive bottom-up national development (v) take a seated global table incorporated in the spirit of solidarity. As part of the preparation for the Habitat III, these ive themes will underpin the paper to be prepared for UCLG.

Urban Development Policy and Programming Support to Asia Pacific

Client: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


This assignment for the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australian Aid involves a literature review of international development agencies, development banks, private foundations, Australian institutions and NGOs to uncover information on operational processes and practices used for the formulation of urban sector projects.  This information will be used to provide background material and annexes in the Urban Development Guidance Note for the Department. The assignment includes the preparation and conduct of training courses on the guidance note with DFAT staff in Canberra.  It will include what other international agencies and organisations have in place for guiding the conceptualisation design and implementation of urban development projects, and possible arrangements for partnering with other agencies and institutions.  The briefing note provides information on engaging with stakeholders and partnering organizations that may have involvement or responsibility for implementation of urban projects.   


Research Paper: Urban Planning and the Third Industrial Revolution


An Urban Frontiers Initiative



Industrial revolutions have had a profound impact on shaping the way we produce things, where we live, and our progress towards more equitable and prosperous societies. The first and second industrial revolutions were driving forces in the shaping of modern-day society.  Those revolutions witnessed significant changes over two and a half centuries – in ideology, social hierarchy, manufacturing and distribution, international relations, trade linkages and, most notably, technological advancements.  Unlike the two former industrial revolutions, the emerging Third Industrial Revolution will also have significant effects – changing almost every aspect of our society, especially in the way we live and plan.   This working paper provides a brief overview of the dimensions of the Third Industrial Revolution (TIR), postulates the implications it may have on urban and regional planning, and suggests strategies for cities and regions to manage and benefit from its potential impacts.




Application of Collaborative Governance as a Tool of Improvement

An Urban Frontiers Collaboration


This paper originally  written The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) for provides an overview of the evolution of collaborative urban governance, which is of increasing interest to governments worldwide in helping to improve the development, operation and management of cities. The paper provides strong evidence that traditional forms of urban governance, based on formalised structures and institutional arrangements, are not performing well. The challenge of silo mentalities in many public agencies, organisations and institutions, is resulting in a ‘culture’ associated with a general lack of trust, cooperation and information sharing. Extensive duplication of effort in the processes of government, resource wastage, a reluctance to innovate, a risk averse and secrecy governance culture, and resistance to change management feature strongly. The paper highlights the inefficiencies of current urban governance systems that result in lost opportunities to leverage resources and capital, and increase transaction costs to business and governments in cities. The paper utilises case studies and assessment tools to highlight how collaborative urban governance is a way forward for UNESCAP to develop an agenda to improve the management and development of cities in the region. In doing so, it makes a significant contribution to the post-Rio+20 sustainable development framework and Habitat III.

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