AHURI Cities webinar series

Driving population growth in regional cities


18 May 2022

11.00am–12.30pm (AEST)

Introducing the AHURI Cities Webinar Series

In 2022, we are pleased to launch our Cities Webinar Series – a program of free online events examining some of the major cities and urban policy issues in Australia, and closely aligned with our 12 cities and urban themes. The future of Australian cities will continue to be a prominent topic on the back of the challenges presented to our urban environments from the pandemic. AHURI is looking forward to playing a leading role in policy conversations with governments and industry to ensure Australian cities continue to be productive, liveable and prosperous. The Cities Webinar Series will be a key platform for those conversations. 

Driving population growth in regional cities 

With Australia’s population set to double in the next 50 years, and much of the growth predicted to be concentrated in our major metropolitan cities, policy makers are interested in dispersed population growth strategies that can drive migration to the regions and alleviate some of the pressures on urban centres. However, for these strategies to succeed, new residents need to see regional cities as desirable places to live – with affordable housing, job opportunities, access to services and infrastructure, and connectivity back to urban centres just some of the considerations driving potential residents to the regions. Drawing on two research projects from the AHURI Inquiry into population growth in Australia’s smaller cities, this webinar examined the key drivers of regional migration, as well as the lived experience and benefits of living in regional Australian cities.  

The webinar presented the findings from two recent reports: 

In this 90-minute webinar you will learn: 

  • Patterns of migration to and from regional Australian cities – what population groups are moving and where are they going? 
  • The factors that drive, or would motivate people to move from larger to small cities 
  • The lived experience of regional living based on case studies of five regional cities across Australia
  • What policy interventions can help drive regional population growth in the future


Laura Crommelin, Senior Lecturer, City Planning Program, UNSW Sydney

Laura CrommelinLaura Crommelin is a Senior Lecturer in the City Planning Program at UNSW Sydney, teaching planning law and governance and working on research related to urban and housing policy. She is also a Fellow at UNSW's City Futures Research Centre. Laura’s research interests cover a range of trends and issues in post-industrial cities, including urban renewal, urban governance, digital disruptions (e.g. Airbnb), place branding, and DIY urban revitalisation practices. She holds a PhD in urban planning from UNSW, an M.Litt in US Studies from the University of Sydney and a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



Dr Akshay Vij, Associate Professor, University of SA
Akshay Vij

Akshay Vij is an Associate Professor at the University of South Australia. He holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. Vij’s research has made significant contributions to the development of statistical methods for the study of human behaviour, and their application to transport, urban and regional development contexts. 




Diwa Hopkins, Senior Economist, Regional Australia Institute

Diwa Hopkins

Diwa has worked as an economist for more than a decade, focusing on Australia’s residential construction sector and housing markets. At the RAI, in addition to focusing on regional housing markets, her work covers regional labour markets and regional migration flows. Prior to joining the RAI at the beginning of 2021, she worked at the Housing Industry Association. 




Dr Tom Alves, Head of Development, Professional Services, Strategic Initiatives, AHURI

Tom Alves

Tom leads the Professional Services and Strategic Initiatives components of AHURI's business. As Head of Development, he works closely with AHURI’s University partners, Australian governments, industry, the community sector and other stakeholders to deliver responsive, high-quality professional services and to develop AHURI’s standing as an authoritative voice in international housing and urban policy discussion.

Tom has a PhD in Housing and Urban Studies and has held positions at RMIT University and The University of Melbourne in the disciplines of Property, Architecture and Urban Planning. He has substantial experience in policy and advisory work with the Victorian Government and fourteen years’ experience working in architectural practices in Melbourne and Sydney.

Tom has skills in program leadership and project management and brings to AHURI a strong background in housing and urban policy development, plus a deep knowledge of built environment design and delivery processes.

View the recording

18 May 2022

11.00am–12.30pm (AEST)

View the presentation

Read the research

Understanding what attracts new residents to smaller cities

Read the research

Understanding the lived experience and benefits of regional cities