It is with great sadness that I report the death earlier this week of Patrick Troy, Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, DUniv and Adjunct Professor at Griffith University and Officer of the Order of Australia. These titles do not, however, convey the full impact that Pat had on many of us individually and in the field of urban studies and urban planning.
In the early 2000s, Pat persuaded then Vice Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davies, that Griffith could and should establish a new research group to focus on all matters urban and the Urban Research Program was established under the leadership of Professor Brendan Gleeson, a protégé of Pat’s and a former member of the Urban Research Unit at the ANU. The commitment of the URP at Griffith was always to apply multi-disciplinary scholarly rigour to long standing and contemporary urban problems and this commitment has been carried forward by the URP’s successor, the Cities Research Institute.
Pat was also instrumental in establishing the State of Australian Cities annual conference, which we hosted in 2005 and in 2015, and was renowned for leading delegates in rousing renditions of his version of Lerner and Loewe’s classic song from My Fair Lady, which opened with the line, “All I want is a Chair somewhere…”.
More seriously, at the invitation of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, Patrick Troy helped establish and served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Urban and Regional Development in 1972. In one of the few periods when a Commonwealth government has engaged seriously and systematically with the challenges of planning for Australian cities, Pat helped set a standard against which subsequent Australian urban policy initiatives continue to be judged.
Pat was a regular visitor to the School for Advanced Urban Studies at the University of Bristol, UK which is where I first met him. It was on one such visit that he suggested I consider applying for a newly established position at Griffith University, which I did and in the eleven years I have been here, Pat remained a constant source of support and encouragement to me, to the URP and subsequently the CRI. But he would also let me know if he thought my latest paper was way off track or that we were neglecting important areas of research about cities.
For some years we have awarded a prize in Pat’s name to students in our Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning program who produced the best Honours thesis and he was always delighted to learn of the latest winners and the work they were doing.
Many of us will greatly miss Pat and his various contributions –to us as individuals, to Griffith University and to the field of urban studies. If you never met Pat, his written works live on and reading them will enrich your understanding of cities.
Vale Patrick Troy!
Paul Burton, Director Cities Research Institute
26 July 2018
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