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Planning and Urban Design at James Cook University

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Fri, 31 May 2019
Planning and Urban Design at James Cook University

Did you know? Approximately 50% of the world’s population live in cities today, and this proportion is expected to rise to over two thirds by the year 20501. Within these few decades, innovative urban planners will become increasingly important. After all, the enormous number of people being added to the global urban population puts a strain on modern living.

From increasing spatial shortage to resource depletion and more, booming urbanisation poses challenges to our wellbeing, safety, and quality of life.

As a discipline that deals with relevant issues – such as mobility and transportation, natural disasters, economic development, and how to foster healthy and safe conditions of life – urban planning offers a solution.

“In a nutshell, urban planning is a discipline aiming to plan, regulate, and create more sustainable and liveable urban environments,” explains Dr Simona Azzali, lecturer and researcher in urban design at James Cook University, Singapore. “In an overpopulated and resources scarce planet, cities will always need urban planning.”

Successful urban planners have challenging yet fulfilling careers, as they strive to improve the quality of our lives while anticipating future problems and developments.

For anyone interested in generating creative solutions to complex planning and policy problems, and in shaping sustainable tropical urban habitats, James Cook University  offers an urbanism program in Singapore; Master of Planning and Urban Design (Majoring in Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Tropical Urbanism).

The program aims to address the challenges we face from globalisation by equipping students with skills in sustainable urbanism, tropical passive design techniques, and knowledge of green technologies.

Most notably, the module titled “Urban Ecosystems” examines how existing urban architectural and planning models, particularly in Asian megacities, struggle to accommodate an increasing population and provide green open spaces for recreation. In turn, the module explores theories and principles that evolve the way we think of urban spaces, so that we may discover solutions to the challenges we face and advancements to the ways we approach development.

Additionally, by studying in Singapore – a city whose tropical urban planning is recognised worldwide for its excellence – students will be given the unique opportunity to learn both in and outside the classroom.

At the same time, electives are taught in various other parts of the world – such as Cairns, Venice, Townsville, Chiang Mai, and more – allowing students to be exposed to different cultural environments and be prepared for the realities of the profession.

Ultimately, this 16-month postgraduate degree program will help students develop their inquisitive minds and design skills. Moreover, they will have the opportunity to undertake an independent research project, as well as an internship during their last term, where they will gain experiential knowledge and build professional networks.

“The Master of Planning and Urban Design (Majoring in Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Tropical Urbanism) at James Cook University, Singapore, is an exciting opportunity to develop your expertise in cities and design in globally connected, liveable Singapore,” says Associate Professor Lisa Law, Tropical Urbanism and Design Lab, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University. “It is a professionally accredited degree that focuses on cities that improve liveability in a changing climate, with graduates able to deliver functional, sustainable urban environments that are resilient to disasters.”

Associate Professor Law will be speaking at the Regional Built Environmental Forum 2019 organised by the Australian High Commission in Singapore on the 3 and 4 June. She will be one of the panellists discussing future skills and education.

James Cook University’s contributions to tropical urban research extends to other actions as well. For example, the Singapore campus of James Cook University will be hosting the 1st Sustainable Tropical Urbanism Symposium: Tropical cities in a warming world, on Friday, 27 September 2019.

It is open to academic researchers, practicing planners and architects, public artists, local government officers, students in urban planning and design, and anyone interested in understanding tropical cities. Given the intense urbanisation process in South East Asia and the rest of the world, this event aims to share and discuss insights into tropical cities, urban planning, and sustainable design.

The event also contains exciting workshops and walking tours. During these activities, participants will be encouraged to think about sustainability, the built environment, and design communication techniques.

What’s more, submission of research proposals are currently being accepted (Deadline: 15 June 2019), and full papers will be invited to be published after the conference, in a special edition of open access journal e-Tropic - Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics.

Registration for the symposium, along with more information, can be found here.

More information about the Master of Planning and Urban Design (Majoring in Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Tropical Urbanism) can be found here.