Conference paper

Exploring the Relationship Between Melbourne's Water Metabolism and Urban Characteristics

11 Dec 2015

Cities can be seen as complex urban systems that mobilise local and global resource flows to meet the needs of their inhabitants and their manufacturing sector. However, the local consumption of resources can be responsible for major local and global environmental changes that impact the human health and wellbeing inside and outside of the boundary of the urban system. With global urban population expected to continue to grow, the mitigation of further future environmental pressures from urban consumption is of critical importance. The complexity of the interrelationships between the local social, political, cultural, economic and environmental facets of a city as well as the interrelationship between these local characteristics and urban consumption, dictate that each city will have a different set of parameters that drive urban consumption. This research will investigate this issue by exploring the relationship between Melbourne’s water metabolism and its urban characteristics. In practice, this study will correlate the spatially disaggregated water use of Melbourne with local factors such as demography, average income, territorial organisation, etc. It will then be possible to identify which urban characteristics have the greatest influence on water use and ultimately help to inform the development and implementation of the most appropriate and best targeted policies for reducing water use across Melbourne Metropolitan Area.
The papers presented at the 2015 State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) were organised into seven broad themes but all shared, to varying degrees, a common focus on the ways in which high quality academic research can be used in the development and implementation of policy. The relationship between empirical evidence and theoretical developments that are presented as part of our scholarly endeavours and policy processes is rarely clear and straightforward. Sometimes, perhaps because of the fortuitous alignment of various factors, our research has a direct and positive impact on policy. Sometimes it takes longer to be noticed and have influence and, sometimes, there is no little or no evidence of impact beyond or even with the academy. And while there are things we can do to promote the existence of our work and to present it in more accessible formats to people we believe to be influential, ultimately the appreciation and application of our work lies in the hands of others.
This paper is one of 164 papers that have each been reviewed and refereed by our peers and revised accordingly. While they each will have been presented briefly at the SOAC conference, they can now be read or re-read at your leisure. We hope they will stimulate further debate and discussion and form a platform for further research.
Adapted from the SOAC 7 conference proceedings introduction by Paul Burton and Heather Shearer
The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.
SOAC 7 was held in the City of Gold Coast from 9-11 December 2015. The conference featured leading national and local politicians and policy makers who shared their views on some of the current challenges facing cities and how these might be overcome in the future.

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