Following the successful City of the Future Conference held in 2010, the US Studies Centre joined with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney to host the International Urban Planning and Environment Association’s 10th Symposium (UPE10). The Symposium was held in Sydney, Australia from 24-27 July 2012.

United States Studies Centre (USSC)

The US Studies Centre, through its Dow Sustainability Program, brings together Industry, academic and policy experts from Australia and the US to develop action-oriented solutions to a range of sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, food and biodiversity that are technologically innovative, commercially scalable and politically viable. Specifically, the City of the Future - US and Australian perspectives in 2010, brought focus on specific policy areas relating to developing sustainable cities.

International Urban Planning and Environment Association (IUPEA)

A series of international symposiums organized under the auspices of the IUPEA (in the US, the Netherlands, South Africa, the UK, Thailand, Germany and China) have previously brought together researchers, planning and environmental professionals, public officials, and representatives of NGOs to explore urban issues.

The collaboration by the US Studies Centre and the University of Sydney, FADP to convene this year’s Symposium in Sydney, aims to foster further policy and research outcomes to support the development of Sustainable Cities.

The overarching focus for UPE 10 was the Next City: Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future. The symposium aimed to promote critical and informed dialogue between planning / sustainability researchers and senior government / Industry leaders on a wide range of related topics.. Plenary and discussion sessions were organised around five key themes:

  • Next City Policy and Governance
  • Next City Economy
  • Next City Energy
  • Next City Ecology
  • Next City Society and Culture

Academic papers from international researchers were presented at the Symposium, together with public policy dialogue between US, Australian and International experts.

Program and videos

Day 1 - Wednesday 25 July 2012

Welcome to UPE10 and Keynote Session 1: Next city: Planning for a new energy and climate future


  • Traditional Welcome, Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council
  • Professor Don Miller, University of Washington, Chair, International Urban Planning and Environment Association (IUPEA)
  • The Hon Craig Knowles, Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, President of the Planning Research Centre, FADP, University of Sydney

Keynote Session 1: Next city: Planning for a new energy and climate future

  • Professor Will Steffen, Director, Climate Change Institute, Australian National University, Australian Climate Change Commissioner
  • Professor Frederick Steiner, Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture, University of Texas, Austin
  • Tom Murphy, Former Mayor of Pittsburgh and Fellow, Urban land Institute

Session Chair: Associate Professor Elisabeth Hamin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Keynote Session 2: National urban and environment policy progress and directions: Comparisons across Australasia, the United States and Europe

  • Dorte Ekelund, Executive Director, Major Cities Unit, Department of Infrastructure and Transport
  • Thomas Wright, Executive Director of Regional Plan Association (RPA), New York
  • Rodin Genoff, Managing Director, Rodin Genoff & Associates
  • Peter Verwer, CEO, Property Council of Australia

Session Chair: Professor Ed Blakely, Honorary Professor, Urban Planning, US Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Organised Roundtable: Building sustainable communities

International panel discussion on the social, economic, infrastructure, and environmental challenges and opportunities facing city leaders in planning, designing, and renewing their communities for long term sustainability and resilience.

  • Associate Professor Elisabeth Hamin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Geoff Lawler, Director of Planning and Infrastructure, City of Melbourne
  • Romilly Madew, Chief Executive, Green Building Council of Australia
  • Jane-Frances Kelly, Program Director, The Grattan Institute

Session Chair: Brendan Blakely, Elton Consulting

Dinner Roundtable on urban transformation and re-vitalization

Welcome Address: Professor John Redmond, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney

  • Professor Ed Blakely, Honorary Professor in Urban Planning at the United States Studies Centre
  • Professor Frederick Steiner, University of Texas
  • Tom Murphy, Former Mayor of Pittsburgh
  • The Hon Robert Hill, Adjunct Professor in Sustainability, United States Studies Centre

Session Chair: Professor John Redmond, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney

Day 2 - Thursday 26 July 2012

Organised Roundtable: Governing global cities through integrated metropolitan planning and governance systems - opportunities and challenges

  • Professor Ed Blakely, Honorary Professor, Urban Planning, US Studies Centre
  • Thomas Wright, Executive Director, Regional Planning Association, New York
  • Armando Carbonell, Chairman, Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA
  • Professor Barbara Norman, University of Canberra
  • Dr Wendy Steele, Research Fellow, Griffith University

Keynote Session 3: Global perspectives on zero carbon futures, directions, challenges and opportunities

  • Professor Deo Prasad, Director, Sustainable Development Program, University of New South Wales, CEO, Low Carbon Living (CRC)
  • Allan Jones MBE, Chief Development Officer, Energy and Climate Change, City of Sydney
  • Professor Dennis Else, Group General Manager Sustainability and Safety, Brookfield Multiplex
  • Professor David Schlosberg, Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney

Session Chair: The Hon Robert Hill, Adjunct Professor in Sustainability, United States Studies Centre

Organised Roundtable: Motivating behaviour change

Perspectives on lifestyle changes in transitioning to a zero carbon city: directions, opportunities and challenges

  • Professor Anthony Capon, Professor of Public Health, University of Canberra
  • Dr Chris Dey, Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA), University of Sydney
  • Ms Peta Ashworth, Research Group Leader, CSIRO
  • Rebecca Lehman, Associate, GTA Consultants

Session Chair: Dr Peter Fisher, Adjunct Professor, School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning, RMIT University

Keynote Session 4: Next city: Emerging challenges

Featuring announcement of UPE11

  • Dr Wendy Steele, Griffith University
  • Professor Don Miller, University of Washington
  • Professor Ed Blakely, Honorary Professor, Urban Planning, US Studies Centre, University of Sydney
  • Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer, Green Building Council of Australia

Session Chair: Nicole Gurran, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney, Co-ordinator, Urban and Regional Planning Program

Public Talk: City Revitalisation - Lessons for Sydney and its suburbs

Tom Murphy’s presentation for Sydney Ideas focused on strategies that Sydney and other Australian cities can use to move from good to great. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion with local experts, and an opportunity to ask questions.

  • Tom Murphy, senior resident fellow, Urban Land Institute, Washington and former mayor of Pittsburgh, USA
  • The Hon Patricia Forsythe, Executive Director, Sydney Business Chamber, former Member of the NSW Legislative Council and Honorary Associate of the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney
  • Edward Blakely, Honorary Professor of Urban Policy at the US Studies Centre, the University of Sydney
  • Julie Bindon, Urban Reform Project, The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering

Keynote Speakers

Tom Murphy, Former Mayor of Pittsburg and Fellow, Urban Land Institute

Tom Murphy is a senior resident fellow, ULI/Klingbeil Family Chair for urban development. Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh, joins six other ULI senior resident fellows who specialize in public policy, retail/urban entertainment, transportation/infrastructure, housing, real estate finance and environmental issues.

His extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, what ensures long-lasting commitment—is a key addition to the senior resident fellows’ areas of expertise.

Since January 2006, Murphy had served as ULI’s Gulf Coast liaison, helping to coordinate with the leadership of New Orleans and the public to advance the implementation of rebuilding recommendations made by ULI’s advisory services panel last fall. In addition, he worked with the Louisiana state leadership, as well as with leadership in hurricane-impacted areas in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to identify areas appropriate for ULI involvement.

Prior to his service as the ULI Gulf Coast liaison, Murphy served three terms as the mayor of Pittsburgh, from January 1994 through December 2005. During that time, he initiated a public-private partnership strategy that leveraged more than $4.5 billion in economic development in Pittsburgh. Murphy led efforts to secure and oversee $1 billion in funding for the development of two professional sports facilities, and a new convention center that is the largest certified green building in the United States. He developed strategic partnerships to transform more than 1,000 acres of blighted, abandoned industrial properties into new commercial, residential, retail and public uses; and he oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and urban green space.

From 1979 through 1993, Murphy served eight terms in the Pennsylvania State General Assembly House of Representatives. He focused legislative activities on changing Western Pennsylvania’s economy from industrial to entrepreneurial, and authored legislation requiring the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pension fund to invest in venture capital. In addition, he authored legislation created the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership, which is dedicated to advancing Pennsylvania’s focus on technology in the economy; and he authored legislation to encourage industrial land reuse and to transform abandoned rail right-of-ways into trails and green space.

Murphy served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay from 1970 through 1972. He is a 1993 graduate of the New Mayors Program offered by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He holds a masters of science degree in urban studies from Hunter College, and a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from John Carroll University.

He is an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects; a board member of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities; and a board member of the National Rails to Trails Conservancy. He received the 2002 Outstanding Achievement of City Livability Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and was selected as the 2001 Pittsburgh Man of the Year Award by Vectors Pittsburgh

Professor Frederick Steiner, University of Texas

Frederick Steiner is the dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked with local, state, and federal agencies on diverse environmental plans and designs. Dean Steiner is the current president of the Hill Country Conservancy (a land trust) and past chair and current secretary of Envision Central Texas (a non-governmental regional planning organization).

As a Fulbright-Hays scholar in 1980, he conducted research on ecological planning at the Wageningen University, The Netherlands. In 1998, he was a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. A Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Dean Steiner was a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China (2005-2007). He received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in city and regional planning and a Master of Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Master of Community Planning and a B.S. in Design from the University of Cincinnati. Dean Steiner received an honorary M.Phil. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic.

Dean Steiner has published numerous articles and books. His most recent books include Design for a Vulnerable Planet (2011), Planning and Urban Design Standards (Student Edition with Kent Butler, 2007), The Essential Ian McHarg: Writings on Design and Nature (2006), and Human Ecology: Following Nature’s Lead (2002). His next book, Urban Ecological Design (with Danilo Palazzo), will be available in January, 2012.

Thomas Wright, Regional Plan Association, New York

Tom Wright is the Executive Director of Regional Plan Association (RPA), the nation's oldest private regional planning organization. Projects he has directed include the Draft Vision Plan for the City of Newark (2006) and A Region at Risk: The Third Regional Plan for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut Metropolitan Area (1996). He participated in planning and organizing "Listening to the City," the historic electronic town hall forum on the World Trade Center site held in July, 2002 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Mr. Wright manages a staff of 35, oversees budgeting and fiscal planning for a $6 million organization, and coordinates a 60-member Board of Directors.

Mr. Wright lectures widely on growth management and regional planning. He is a Visiting Lecturer in Public Policy at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; and the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture. He has served a resource team member for the Governors Institute on Community Design.

Previously, he was the Deputy Executive Director of the New Jersey Office of State Planning, where he coordinated adoption of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan (2001) and wrote the Executive Summary of the State Plan. From 1991 to 1993, he was Coordinator of the award-winning Mayors' Institute on City Design, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Other Confirmed Speakers and Panel members

  • Professor Will Steffen (Australian National University)
  • Professor David Schlosberg (University of Sydney)
  • Dr Wendy Steele (Griffith University)
  • Professor Deo Prasad (University of New South Wales)
  • Professor Anthony Capon (University of Canberra)
  • Associate Professor Elisabeth Hamin (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)