55 episodes

Informed stories about cities and urban life. Listen live on the Community Radio Network. Podcast on iTunes.

City Road Podcast Stories about cities and urban life

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 13 Ratings

Informed stories about cities and urban life. Listen live on the Community Radio Network. Podcast on iTunes.

    55. Renting and COVID-19

    55. Renting and COVID-19

    We speak to tenants, tenant advocates and academics about renting during COVID-19.

    "The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a hopefully once in a lifetime opportunity to fix the structural and systemic problems of housing that have always been here in Australia." Dr Alistair Sisson

    "It's very easy to think that a housing crisis is an individual persons problem and I think what's really interesting and important about COVID is that it's drawn into sharp relief the fact that a housing crisis is a community problem and not just an individual problem."  Dr Emma Power


    - Dr Emma Power, Western Sydney University
    - Dr Alistair Sisson, University of New South Wales
    - Dr Andrew Clarke, University of Queensland
    - Dr Chris Martin, University of New South Wales

    Public and Private Renters:
    - Catherine
    - Henry
    - Sammy
    - Ella
    - Caitie

    Tenant Advocates:
    - Leo Patterson Ross, Tenants Union of NSW
    - Jemima Mowbray, Tenants Union of NSW

    This episode was produced as a part of a University of Technology student placement at City Road by guest producers:

    - Sam Dover
    - Ursula Aczel

    • 46 min
    54. Green Structural Adjustment

    54. Green Structural Adjustment

    You might have heard about the 'structural adjustment' program, but what about the Green Structural Adjustment of the World Bank’s Resilient City program?

    We're talking with Sophie Webber and Patrick Bigger about what they call Green Structural Adjustment.

    Within environmental and development finance practices, cities across the Global South are facing a costly infrastructural crisis stemming from rapid urbanisation and climate change. This threatens to further entrench poverty and precarity for millions of people.

    The cost of achieving urban resilience across the world dwarfs available public finance, however, from both development banks and governments themselves. Meanwhile, vast amounts of money on capital markets are searching for profitable investment opportunities. The World Bank is attempting to channel return-seeking investment into urban infrastructure in response to these challenges.

    To harness this private finance, though, cities must be reformatted in investment-friendly ways. In a recent article, Sophie and Patrick chart the emergence of this discourse and associated practices within the World Bank. They call this rescaled and climate-inflected program of leveraged investments coupled with technical assistance Green Structural Adjustment.

    Drawing on policy documents, reports, and interviews with key staff, they examine programs that include Green Structural Adjustment to show how it aims to restructure local governments to capture new financial flows. Green Structural Adjustment reduces adaptation to a question of infrastructure finance and government capacity building, reinscribing both causes and effects of uneven development while creating spatial fixes for over-accumulated Northern capital in the Global South.

    Dr Sophie Webber is a human geographer, who conducts research about the political economies of climate change and international development assistance, principally in South East Asia and the Pacific region. In particular, Sophie studies how 'truth' (knowledge claims and expertise), 'capital' (financial flows and investments), and policy packages structure relations between the minority and majority worlds. Methodologically, this research requires relational fieldwork, examining how climatological and developmental crises and problems are interpreted, storied, and managed, both by local and governmental authorities, as well as by distant international experts such as the World Bank.

    Dr Patrick Bigger is a lecturer in the critical geographies group within LEC. His research examines the ways in which financial actors and their logics and practices are being brought to bear on diverse, but interrelated, environmental crises. Conceptually, his interests include the relationships between environmental-financial products and environmental regulations/regulators; how environmental-financial products fit into broader trends in finance; and how environmental finance values (including, but beyond price) the nature it is attempting to protect. His work focuses primarily on climate change mitigation and adaptation, but also touches on associated environmental problems, particularly biodiversity loss through land use changes.

    Green Structural Adjustment in the World Bank’s Resilient City

    • 24 min
    53. Night-time and Cities

    53. Night-time and Cities

    The world of night-time waste collectors, night shift nurses, office cleaners, rough sleepers and security guards rarely makes international headlines.

    Understanding what happens in cities after dark is crucial to global sustainable development, but will also help create a fairer society that values the night-time economy.

    The world of night-time waste collectors, night shift nurses, office cleaners, rough sleepers and security guards rarely makes international headlines.

    Yet the night-time is critical to building a fairer and more sustainable future for our cities. To do so, we urgently need to think more strategically about what happens after hours in Australian cities. The night-time is a critical space for addressing some of today’s most pressing sustainability challenges. For example, internationally, energy use peaks during evening hours.

    Then there is the an estimated 154 million people – about two per cent of the world’s population – who are homeless and face precarious situations at night when seeking food, shelter and transport in socially and environmentally hostile climates.

    In Australia it is has been estimated that around nine per cent of employees works in the night-time economy. Many are on low pay and work in unhealthy conditions, juggling multiple jobs. They also face longer and more difficult journeys to work, or to access services, than their daytime colleagues.

    More than two per cent of Australian households live in ‘food deserts’ concentrated in low-income and outer suburbs, like Western Sydney and Wyndham in Greater Melbourne, where access to affordable, healthy food options is limited or non-existent. At night, these conditions worsen as basic services like transport, retail and healthcare stop or shut and affordability plummets.

    Guest Producer 

    Kate Murray is a communications professional and knowledge broker focused on research translation. She has a Bachelor of Communication from Griffith University and a long multimedia career of content creation, ghostwriting and journalism. She is a natural organiser and community leader with a passion for collaboration challenges such as those found in interdisciplinary, international, or inter-organisational projects.

    Kate joined Connected Cities Lab as Coordinator in 2018, building on a career within the University of Melbourne that includes a role as Communication Officer with the Networked Society Institute. Kate works closely with the Lab Director to develop and coordinate research projects, activities and engagement that align with the Lab strategic objectives. She is also responsible for overseeing the daily administrative functions of the Lab and providing support and advice to a range of research projects and the wider Lab research community.


    Michele Acuto is director of the Connected Cities Lab, Professor in Urban Politics and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. He is an expert in international urban development.

    • 27 min
    52. Transport as a Platform

    52. Transport as a Platform

    Transport is connected to social justice, freedom and equality in the city.

    Transit networks are objects of intense political contestation and are key terrains of struggle in cities around the world. As sites of disruption, they signal the interrelated crises of urban poverty, social reproduction, security, racism, democracy, and climate. As sites of collectivity, they express the powers of being, acting, and moving in common.

    We're talking to Theresa Enright about transit as a critical infrastructure of oppression and resistance and as a key platform for political and social change. Drawing on transit-oriented mobilizations in several North American cities, Theresa talks about how transit is tied to claims of spatial justice, and how practices of commoning are realizing new ways to design, operate, and transform mobility systems.


    Dr. Enright’s research examines urban and regional politics with a focus on infrastructure and mobility. She has written about conflicts over urban transit in Toronto, London, and Paris. Her most recent work considers cultural dimensions of transportation through an analysis of the art, architecture, and design of urban rail networks. Dr. Enright is the author of The Making of Grand Paris: Metropolitan Urbanism in the Twenty-first Century (MIT 2016) and editor (with Ugo Rossi) of The Urban Political: Ambivalent Spaces of Late Neoliberalism (Palgrave 2017).

    Specialty Focus Areas: Urban-regional planning; metropolitan governance, the politics of infrastructure, urban social movements, critical urban theory.

    • 26 min
    51. Post-Pandemic Urbanism

    51. Post-Pandemic Urbanism

    COVID-19 is altering city experiences and spaces. As cities respond, the contours of post-pandemic cities are also being altered, for better or worse. This podcast brings together a group of leading Sydney-based urbanists to start a conversation about what cities will look like post-COVID, and how pathways towards a just urban recovery might be fostered.

    “We’ve been thinking about the imperative for innovation; how that’s reshaping how cities are being governed. And all of that got thrown into a new light by COVID” Professor Pauline McGuirk

    We focus on whether COVID-19 reproduces or challenges existing urban inequalities, what innovations in urban governance are shaping recovery pathways, and what types of cities will result from altered planning and policy processes.

    “To keep a critical analytical gaze on exactly what decisions are made and keep the pressure on about publicising who benefits, who may not benefit to the same extent, what effect will they have, and that’s long been a project of critical political geography, political urban geography” Professor Pauline McGuirk

    Workshop Organisers
    This episode follows a Zoom conversation on post-pandemic urbanism and the prospects for a just urban recovery, which you can listen to in full conversation below.

    The workshop was organised by the following scholars and attended by almost 150 participants.

    Pauline McGuirk is Director of the Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS) at the University of Wollongong. Her research focuses on how cities are governed and the practices, techniques and politics involved as approaches to urban governance change.

    Robyn Dowling is Dean of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at The University of Sydney. Her research focuses on the character of everyday life in cities, and on the ways urban governance responds to the disruptions of technology and a changing climate.

    Sophia Maalsen is an ARC DECRA Fellow at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. She researches the intersection of the digital, material and the everyday, with particular interest in the digital mediation of housing and cities.

    Tom Baker is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research examines the politics and practice of policy-making and the governance of socio-economic marginality.

    Workshop Panelists
    You can listen to the individual panelist’s talks below.

    Chris Gibson on the economy
    Professor of Human Geography, University of Wollongong

    Emma Power on housing
    Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

    Kurt Iveson on public space
    Associate Professor in the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney

    Jennifer Kent on transport
    DECRA in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney

    Elle Davidson on Indigeneity and urbanism
    Lecturer in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney

    Kristian Ruming on urban planning
    Associate Professor in Geography, Macquarie University

    Chris Pettit on technology and data
    Professor of Data Science, University of New South Wales

    Image: © Wendy Murray ‘Take your city back’

    • 31 min
    50th Episode: Informal Housing

    50th Episode: Informal Housing

    Welcome to City Road's 50th episode!

    To celebrate we've invited the very first guest of the show, Professor Nicole Gurran, back to talk about how we started City Road, our first episode on Airbnb and Cities, and Nicole's current work on Informal Housing.   

    We also talk about some fun facts about City Road and the broader work that is coming out of the Urban Housing Lab at the University of Sydney. 

    So here is a fun fact; did you know that Elizabeth Farrelly launched City Road at the 2017 Festival of Urbanism?

    Professor Nicole Gurran is an urban planner and policy analyst whose research focuses on comparative urban planning systems and approaches to housing and ecological sustainability. She has led and collaborated on a series of research projects on aspects of urban policy, housing, sustainability and planning, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Australian Urban and Housing Research Institute (AHURI), as well as state and local government. Recent research has included AHURI Inquiries on affordable housing supply (2016-17); housing markets, economic productivity, and risk (2014) and planning system performance (2012), as well as an ARC Discovery Project on the impact of urban regulation on housing affordability in Australian cities and regions (2011-2014). Professor Gurran has authored and co-authored numerous publications and books including Urban Planning and the Housing Market: International Perspectives for Policy and Practice with Glen Bramley(Palgrave Macmillan 2017), Politics, Planning and Housing Supply in Australia, England and Hong Kong, with Nick Gallent and Rebecca Chiu (Routledge, July 2016) , and Australian Urban Land Use Planning: Principles, Policy, and Practice (Sydney University Press 2011, 2007). 

    Hidden homes? Uncovering Sydney’s informal housing market, by Nicole Gurran, Madeleine Pill, and Sophia Maalsen in Urban Studies

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

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