Researching Sea Cities

Professor Dr -Ing. Joerg Baumeister 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 the Sea Cities team to look at the Gold Coast's unique geographical position between land and sea and future development scenarios through hydrodynamic modelling.


The Cities Research Institute (CRI) and Griffith Sciences are offering one full-time City of Gold Coast Urban PhD Scholarship to support strategic priorities and build on our existing interdisciplinary research collaborations with the City of Gold Coast, industry, local community organisations and other academic institutions. We encourage applications from excellent domestic and international candidates in the fields of architecture, planning and design who are excited about carrying out research-based urban experimentation in the setting of one of Australia’s fastest growing coastal cities, the Gold Coast. Closing date is 31 July 2019.

More information and apply here

The Challenge

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?

The Methodology

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.

HDR and Undergraduate Students

Yvonne Yu

Maryam Khohsbakt

Chetam Pema

Samuel Mac Beth

Nikki Findlay

Despina Linaraki

Thang Nguyen

Research Assistants

Diana Mandiola

Lauren Seale

Connect and collaborate

If you would like to work, study or collaborate with us, get in touch