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Conference proceedings

Australasian cities have ridden a long wave of economic growth driven by the export of resources, international education, tourism, and immigration. Far from being equally shared, this growth has instead produced widening disparities within and between cities, suburbs, and regions. This is apparent in the contrasting fortunes of high amenity city centres and sprawling outer suburbs, as well as the boom-and-bust cycles of resource and tourist towns. Overheated urban property markets have progressively eroded job and land use diversity, putting pressure on scarce industrial lands for new housing and consumption space. Covid-19 has further laid bare the fundamental problems with urban economies driven by consumption and real estate development. Alongside concerns over the ongoing viability of dense city centres, the pandemic has pulled the curtains back on longstanding workforce inequalities. While high-wage professionals comfortably work from home, others must rely on precarious, part-time employment that depends on physical proximity. Despite many challenges, the pandemic has also called attention to cities as leading a green and just economic recovery. Responding to the challenges of climate change may deliver new jobs, generate innovations in renewable energy, and reduce our dependence on resource exports and offshore manufacturing. Are economic development strategies in Australasian cities capable of supporting economic resilience in the face of Covid-19? Can we plan urban property markets and infrastructure in a way that delivers access to a diversity of jobs, workspaces, and amenities? Can the planning system support economic growth while responding to rising sea levels and increasing heat and bushfire risk? This track includes papers, pre-organised panel sessions, and alternative research proposals that address the economic challenges facing Australasian cities and regions and develop strategies to support more resilient economies in the context of a warming planet and global pandemic.

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