BHI Building Tree CloudResearchers in the Barbara Hardy Institute have been working with industry and government to improve the planning, design and development of Australian settlements and communities through research, education and practice since the early 1990s.

Our research is focused on all aspects of urban sustainability, including how cities can be designed and managed to be resilient in the face of changing conditions.

Worldwide, cities are growing rapidly. Not only because the world population is rising, but there is also an increase in the urbanisation of the population. According to the United Nations, around 50% of the world population is now urban, with 60% expected to be urban by 2030. Growing cities place increasing pressure on the natural environment, and there is increasing pressure within cities and their suburbs to provide the houses, services, space, and quality-of-life that residents expect.

Development pressures extend to peri-urban areas where agriculturally productive lands and natural vegetation are often found. But the pressures of urban development do not end there. They extend to the places from where we obtain energy, water, food, and construction materials, where we recreate, and where we discard waste. In this way, the impact of cities on the environment is global.

Cities are changing to accommodate more people. They are also changing to adapt to, and mitigate against, climate change. We can reduce development pressures on scarce resources, and conserve natural places and processes on which we depend. A diverse set of knowledges and skills are required to continue change and create sustainable cities.

Specific areas of research at the Institute include:

  • Low carbon communities
  • Strategic planning and policy analysis
  • Urban design
  • Transport planning and modelling
  • The impact of transport on urban form
  • Urban response to climate change

Current projects

Hawke-Hardy Research Project: Charismatic Disasters

What do pandas and meerkats have in common with fire and floods? Could reptiles be compared with obesity? 

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Areas of study and research

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