Australia is a highly urbanised country with two-thirds of the population living in the capitals of its states and territories. These cities have a wide range of environmental, economic, infrastructure, social and cultural issues, and not surprisingly are the subject of extensive geographical study. Areas of particular interest include:

  • The relative position of Australia’s cities within global and national city networks.
  • The internal structure of Australian cities with particular reference to the changes in population density patterns, including a renewed trend towards medium and high-density inner-city living (urban consolidation).
  • Strategies to improve transport solutions within Australia’s cities.
  • The funding of critical urban infrastructure.
  • The ways people move through different types of housing during their life, and the effects of life events on their ability to maintain their position in the housing market.
  • Attitudes towards ethnic diversity.
  • The struggles of urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have their history of ownership and the subsequent dispossession of places that are now urban acknowledged, and their right to maintain a connection with and presence in urban places of significance recognised.
  • Urban heat islands and their impacts.
  • Water in urban areas, including ways to retain and treat stormwater, the rehabilitation of degraded urban waterways and the diversification of urban water sources by recycling stormwater and wastewater.
  • Urban sustainability with particular reference to the relationship between the low residential densities of Australian cities as a barrier to improving sustainability, given that it results in high levels of private car use and water consumption.
  • The need for more flexible and adaptive urban planning systems to accommodate the disruption caused by technological change.
  • The impacts of urban renewal projects on low-income residents and small businesses.

Urban places are of particular interest to geographers and urban planning is a major source of employment for geography graduates (Source: Shutterstock)

Relevant careers: urban planning; landscape architecture; community development; conservation, heritage and land management; consulting and project management; education; environmental and social impact assessment; environmental monitoring and management; populational analysis; public policy; public safety; real estate and land development; remote sensing; research, social services and welfare and sustainability.