What makes a ‘liveable metropolis’? This is the subject of inquiry for a think-tank of infrastructure, industry, academic and planning leaders, who will examine the potential of intermediary cities in creating liveable, resilient and inclusive spaces in a post-pandemic world.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian cities and communities has been widespread, disruptive and continuous, challenging us to rethink the way we live, study and work. To address key issues affecting urban environments, leading infrastructure, industry and planning experts will come together as part of the second phase of the Monash Commission, and develop practical recommendations for urban planners, governments and communities to create cities of the future.

‘The Liveable Metropolis: The future role of intermediary cities to deliver resilience, impact and prosperity’, the topic of the Monash Commission’s second inquiry, will focus on the ‘intermediary city’, often referred to as ‘second cities’ or ‘non-CBD cities’, which are smaller, but deeply connected in a larger city network. The panel of experts will examine the liveability, resilience and inclusion debate of our cities by looking at the unique role played by intermediary cities, which are often overshadowed by major CBDs and large metropolises.

Monash University president and vice-chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner, founder of the Monash Commission and executive sponsor for this inquiry, says: “Even before the pandemic, cities across the globe were grappling with accommodating sprawling development and congestion, and debating what planning and innovation would ensure sustainable growth to promote the quality of life for citizens.

“The repercussions of the pandemic have not been felt evenly by communities, which again raises the need to rethink the way we plan and conceive the places in which we live, work and study to ensure we are resilient and inclusive into the future."

“The Monash Commission has chosen to focus on a compelling and multi-dimensional issue for societies across the world, which is why the Commissioners brought together for this panel are experts that span the many facets of this topic, from planning and architecture, to innovation, technology and governance,” Gardner says.

The second inquiry of the Monash Commission will be chaired by respected industry leader and former cabinet minister, Mark Birrell, who is currently chairman of the Australia Post Super Scheme and non-executive director at Transurban.

“The Commission wants to encourage fresh perspectives on sustainable urban development and planning in a post-COVID world. We will look beyond CBDs and focus on ways to improve the urban centres and secondary cities that are so important to our quality of life and prosperity,” Birrell says.

Image: The Conversation