Researching Sea Cities
Professor Dr -Ing. Joerg Baumeister, is Head of Griffith Architecture and Design School and Cities Research Institute member. Joerg was the previous Director of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre, UWA and was involved in the acquisition and execution of an EU 7th framework project (Climate Change and Urban Vulnerability in Africa). Joerg has attracted more than $2 M in industry grants in the last three years for multi-disciplinary projects with government institutions in WA e.g. about "Perth Water" and "Shoreline development" which have been published in books, government reports and journal articles.
Professor Baumeister heads up a team to look at the Gold Coast's unique geographical position between land and sea and future development scenarios through hydrodynamic modelling.
More than 1 Million people of Australia's and 400 million of the world's population (4,5% / 5%) live in land areas where the elevation is less than 5 meters above sea-level (World Bank). This fact offers opportunities for cities for urban extensions like marine estates, aquatic food production, sea related industry, maritime transport, oceanic tourist attractions, and additional coastal ecological zones.
But anthropogenic effects like exponential rising sea levels, storm surge intensification, pollution of the sea, and population growth are also generating increasing pressure. Loss of land, threatened natural and built environments, infrastructure vulnerabilities, human health risks and social disconnections, food insecurity and a more volatile economy are just some of the harmful consequences.
The urban interface between Sea and Cities generates, therefore, both burning issues and valuable opportunities and raises the question of whether it Is possible to solve (and finance) the former by exploiting the latter?
Our research method combines Systems Thinking (which is based on a specific urban taxonomy model) with Scientific and Design Thinking (as a fusion between scientists' and designers' toolkits). This generates research-based, solution-directed approaches to arrive at linear and lateral created innovative solutions.
The holistic approach requires interdisciplinary collaborations. Several disciplines including Griffith Architecture and Design, Engineering, Planning and Environmental management, Business as well as research centres like the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management collaborate. More national and international collaborators are attracted also due to Gold Coast's unique geographical position between land and sea as the ideal location for the SeaCities Research Pool.
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