What are smart cities and smart places Hero

AHURI's National Cities Conference this November

After a number of false starts resulting from COVID-19, we are very pleased to announce that our National Cities Conference, Uncharted urban futures: Australian cities post pandemic, will go ahead on Thursday 18 November 2021.

26 Oct 2021

Long held assumptions about the development of Australian cities have been up-ended by the COVID-19 crisis. The expectation of high and continuous population growth has been undermined and, at the same time, the way we live and work has changed. While we have learned that our systems have capacity and resilience in a time of crisis, new vulnerabilities and hazards have also been exposed.

Innovative modes of delivery in transport, healthcare, education, and other vital services were trialled when COVID-19 hit. Trends toward distance delivery of many services was accelerated, while simultaneously the importance of local access to goods and services and green space was revealed. The way people move about cities on a day-to-day basis has changed, perhaps permanently. New transport-use patterns will impact traffic congestion in cities, and infrastructure provision will need to respond accordingly.


Conference Program

Over a full day, the conference will explore three major issues - Australia’s population dynamics as a result of the COVID-19 crisis; the delivery of critical social infrastructure to support our changing cities and the particular urban transport challenges emerging from the pandemic.  Findings from two reports from the inaugural AHURI Cities Research Agenda on urban transport innovation and access to social infrastructure will be presented at the conference.

  • Part 1: Ministerial and keynote addresses 
  • Part 2: Population mobility after COVID-19 & International keynote (virtual) 
  • Part 3: Social infrastructure deliver post pandemic
  • Part 4: Urban transport options in a pandemic & International keynote (virtual) 

View the full program with session details and speaker information on the conference website.

Keynote speaker highlights

We are thrilled to present three impressive keynote speakers at this conference.

Romily Madew

Romily Madew, Infrastructure Australia

Romilly Madew AO FTSE was appointed Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Australia, in early 2019 and is responsible for overseeing Infrastructure Australia’s critical role in helping governments prioritise projects and reforms that best serve our communities.

Infrastructure recently published the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan focusing on the  actions required to deliver infrastructure for Australia and support the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its first Infrastructure Market Capacity report, which forecasts due to a surge in demand for skills, labour and materials due to the rapid increase in public infrastructure investment.

Aziza Akhmouch

Aziza Akhmouch, OECD (International)

Aziza Akhmouch is Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division at the OECD. Aziza oversees a team of 30+ experts providing governments with new data, evidence, analysis and guidance in a wide range of urban policies to foster smart, inclusive, competitive and sustainable cities. Amongst others, she oversees the OECD metropolitan and National Urban Policy Reviews, and a broad range of thematic work related to housing, transport, cities and inclusive growth, cities and environment, metropolitan productivity and governance, and localising the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Chris Rogers

Professor Chris Rogers, UKRIC (International)

Chris Rogers is Director at the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKRIC) - a national, open, shared resource that provides state-of-the-art, research facilities to deliver world-leading infrastructure research. Chris’ research portfolio is dominated by two primary, necessarily interrelated, themes of infrastructure engineering and urban sustainability, resilience and liveability. Chris led the multi-disciplinary Urban Futures consortium and the Liveable Cities Programme Grant, both exploring the performance of future cities in relation to citizen and planetary wellbeing.

To find the full list of speakers, please visit the conference website


Our sponsors

We thank our two official conference partners who have been integral in helping AHURI deliver this important event.

Infrastructure Australia

A full list of conference partners and supporters can be found on the website

We invite you to join us on Thursday 18 November – either in-person in Melbourne, or online from anywhere else to be part of this important national conversation.


COVID-19 Event Information

Only people who are fully vaccinated are able to attend the event in-person – proof of vaccination status will be required upon entry to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The event will be delivered in-line with official health and safety requirements under the Victorian Governments COVID-19 Roadmap Phase C.

More information can be found here.

National Cities Conference

18 November 2021

Uncharted urban futures: Australian cities post pandemic