Two delegations from Hamburg and Australia held meetings with their counterparts in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. Meetings started in Melbourne on Monday 25 July 2022 with a meeting at Melbourne City Hall. Brisbane and Canberra city representatives joined the EU cities and Melbourne for a shared program on Monday and Tuesday. Delegates were welcomed by Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp and by Ambassador Michael Pulch, Head of the EU Delegation to Australia.
During a workshop session, participants had cross-city groups to discuss a) Innovation precincts as living laboratories, and b) Sustainability and urban futures. At the end of the discussions, moderators of the working group stations presented briefly the results.
In the afternoon, Professor Paul Dalziel from Lincoln University Christchurch and Brendan Smyth from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) presented on citizens’ well-being and possibilities for exploring ongoing sharing of data and processes as an outcome of city learning. Bruce Wilson, the IURC Australasia Coordinator, moderated a discussion on the Urban Cooperation Action Plans (UCAPS) and the next steps to identify joint pilot actions.
The two key themes under discussion over the rest of Monday and Tuesday were Sustainable Urban Development, specifically recognising the urgency of the climate adaptation challenge, and innovation precincts. Some time also was spent considering the value of Well Being frameworks for assessing the implications of major planning decisions. The program on Monday provided the visiting delegations with an opportunity to understand the current importance of relationships with First Nations Australians, a theme which was reflected in comments across the two days.
While Monday was spent mostly at Melbourne Town Hall, Tuesday offered an opportunity to visit the Melbourne Innovation District as well as focusing on key issues confronting precinct development. At the Town Hall, Melbourne and Barcelona delegations spent time together focusing on their shared projects and on potential areas of bilateral collaboration. Barcelona delegates visited the City North innovation precinct, including the University Square. An area, including Grattan Street, is being remodelled to connect the university with the neighbourhoods, incorporate sustainable transport modes, including a new metro line and station, and create green corridors. Barcelona delegates also participated in a workshop on precinct governance.
Meanwhile, the other cities (Hamburg, Brisbane and Canberra) met with Victorian Government representatives exploring State Government policy with respect to climate change and to innovation. The Hamburg delegation reported finding this to be very useful as their city-state status means that they have a similar realm of responsibility to that of Victoria.
Missions in Brisbane and Canberra
After the meetings in Melbourne, delegates from Barcelona and Hamburg traveled to Canberra and Brisbane respectively. In Brisbane, Barcelona delegates focused their visit on the upcoming Olympic Games 2032 to be held in Brisbane as well as on innovation precincts. They visited St Lucia Campus of Queensland University and the Planning Institute of Australia, where they participated in the workshop “Brisbane 2032 Legacy: Insights from Barcelona”. Discussions were also held with the Boggo Road Innovation Precinct to exchange experiences on the innovation district governance and on urban planning opportunities for both cities.
In Canberra, delegates from Hamburg met with representatives from the Canberra Innovation Network, who showed them a company implementing drone services for city logistics. They also discussed the wider innovation approach as part of urban development. The programme then focused on climate action, including meetings with the ACT Office for Climate Action and Environment and the Directorate for Sustainable Development. On day 2, representatives from both cities also discussed how to initiate cooperation between cultural facilities and increase bilateral tourism. Meetings were held with ArtsACT and VisitCanberra. Delegates from Hamburg were also able to meet with the German Embassy in Canberra,