A national cities research agenda

Underpinning the growth of Australia's cities and regions

Following the funding of three inaugural Cities Research Projects in 2019, AHURI is pleased to launch our Strategic Cities Research Agenda—the next step in the development of a National Cities Research Program. The Agenda has identified 12 key themes—nine that are prominent in Australian cities and urban policy, and a further three emerging themes that are relevant to a future cities policy agenda.

We invite you to explore our new cities and urban hub, and consider how your organisation might contribute to the next phase—delivering a comprehensive National Cities Research Program to ensure the decision making that underpins our urban future is supported by the best evidence delivered by AHURI’s national network of research partners.

You may like to start by reading our full introduction to why Australia needs a national cities research agenda and our analysis of what is cities policy in Australia.

Key research themes

Each theme examines current policy settings as well as future lines of inquiry relevant to that theme. You can also explore AHURI research and AHURI Briefs related to each theme.


Community and place

Indigenous perspectives

Population dynamics in cities related to factors including economic opportunity, migration policy, changing demographic characteristics and patterns of household formation. Read more...

Place based approaches and community engagement: facilitating healthy, liveable, walkable, lively and inclusive cities. Read more...

Recognition of traditional owners and their knowledge of Country, cultural values and traditions that influence urban design, and governance. Read more...
.EconomyHousing and Urban Pliciy

Built environment and design

Economic growth, agglomeration, and connectivity. Attracting human capital, facilitating innovation and participating in global markets. Read more...

Coordinating planning and housing supply targets to deliver urban consolidation and renewal with diverse housing, including social and affordable housing. Read more...

Built environment and urban design to preserve culture and heritage, and create cities with good cultural, health and environmental outcomes. Read more...
Land use and development Infrastructure Transport

The rezoning, development and use of land as a means of accommodating the dynamic population of cities. Read more...

Funding and delivery mechanisms for social amenities including social housing, hospitals and schools and for the sustainable provision of energy, water and waste. Read more...

Infrastructure to facilitate the mobility of people and goods through different modes of transport, within and between cities. Read more...

Environmental Sustainability

Digital transformations

Governance and planning

Climate change responses, transitioning to a zero-carbon built environment, protecting biodiversity, green space, and food and water resources. Read more...

Internet of Things technologies and Smart Cities infrastructure, high speed digital connectivity, and issues of data governance, privacy and equal access. Read more...

The regulation and long term strategic planning for cities across local, state and Federal government and multiple agencies. Read more...

Latest research

AHURI Final Report 335


Commuting burden and housing affordability for low-income renters

This study investigated the impacts commuting costs have on accessing employment for low income workers who are renting their home. Policy makers have concerns that housing market pressures may limit where low income workers can afford to live, and may result in low-income workers living in locations remote from employment concentrations, leading to weaker worker-job matching, less efficient labour markets and workers being excluded from employment opportunities.

AHURI Final Report 333   

Affordable housing in innovation-led employment strategies

This project investigates the role of affordable rental housing in supporting digital innovation and employment growth in metropolitan and satellite cities. Through an international evidence review, case studies and interviews with urban planners and firms, it identifies ‘smart city’ exemplars for leveraging new economy jobs near affordable rental supply.

AHURI Final Report 331   

Strategic planning, ‘city deals’ and affordable housing

This study examines how local and international funding interventions focussed on specific regions, such as City Deals, deliver affordable rental housing for low income households to enhance urban productivity. Such strategic policy interventions offer some promise in creating new economic opportunities, however explicit policies are needed to ensure low income households can access affordable housing close to employment opportunities.

AHURI FR 329   

Improving outcomes for apartment residents and neighbourhoods

This research investigates the experiences of lower-income apartment residents in relation to planning and infrastructure provision; urban design; building design and management; neighbourhood amenities and facilities; and ongoing place management and community engagement so as to improve wellbeing, community and housing affordability outcomes.
AHURI FR 323   

The supply of affordable private rental housing in Australian cities: short-term and longer-term changes

This research charts the changes in the supply of affordable and available private rental housing for lower income households between 2011 and 2016, and is the latest in a series of projects detailing affordable rental housing supply every five years since 1996 using Census data. There is strong evidence of structural change in the private rental market, with an increase in privately rented dwellings affordable by Q3–Q5 households, while the market is not supplying sufficient rental properties for lower income Q1 and Q2 households.
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