Urban and Rural Geographies

John Connell, Kurt Iveson, Phil McManus, Bill Pritchard

Patterns of urban and rural settlement are undergoing rapid transformation in Australia and globally. Indeed, as society becomes networked ever more tightly into various forms of digital communication and as work and leisure patterns for many become more transiently attached to particular places, the relationships between ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ geographies become more complex. Is a fly-in fly-out worker living in Perth but working in the Pilbara part of the urban or the rural economy? Or if a farm is run by an agribusiness companies with a head office in Sydney, is this a city or country business?

Geography at the University of Sydney has a long history of engagement with the transformations of rural and urban spaces. We draw on a range of methods to better understand the processes that are driving change, and use our knowledge to influence policy and public discussion, often in collaboration with researchers from other disciplines and practitioners beyond the university. You can explore our urban and rural research projects below.

Associated Units of Study

Unit of Study Name
GEOS1002 Introductory Geography
GEOS2123 The Geography of Cities and Regions
GEOS3520 Urban Citizenship and Sustainability
GEOS5501 Human Rights and the Environment

Urban Sustainability

Cities and their inhabitants face a range of challenges relating to the quality and transformation of their environments. They also make significant contributions to global environmental stress and climate change through their dependence on resources sourced beyond city limits. Nonetheless, urban governments and city-based social movements have also been at the forefront of innovation in responding to climate change. Our research in this area currently focuses on how sustainability is conceptualized and measured, eco-cities, Cultural and Language Diverse (CALD) environmentalism, coastal cities and sea-level rise resulting from anthropogenic climate change, and how efforts to make cities more sustainable can also work to make them more inclusive and just.


KEY PUBLICATIONS

  • Shrestha, K., Ojha, H., McManus, P., Rubbo, A., Dhote, K. (2015). Inclusive Urbanization: Rethinking Policy, Practice and Research in the Age of Climate Change. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • McManus, P. (2012). Measuring Urban Sustainability: the potential and pitfalls of city rankings. Australian Geographer, 43(4), 411-424.
  • Haughton, G., McManus, P. (2012). Neoliberal Experiments with Urban Infrastructure: The Cross City Tunnel, Sydney. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 36(1), 90-105.
  • McManus, P. (2005). Vortex Cities to Sustainable Cities: Australia's Urban challenge. Sydney: University of New South Wales (UNSW) Press.


RECENT PHD PROJECTS

Name Project
Hobley, Susan (on-going) Developing a Liveable, Green and Ecological Model of Urban Sustainability as the Basis for Urban Forestry in Sydney
Smith, Paul (on-going) The Processes of New Urban Developments
Petrou, Kirstie (2015) Sustainable Urbanisation and Second Generation Urbanites in Port Vila, Vanuatu
Xing, D. (2014) Sustainable Urban Development and Governance: Making Green Roof Policy in Beijing, China
Troy, Laurence (2013) Cloaked in Green: Growth Politics and Sustainability


RECENT HONOURS PROJECTS

Name Project
Weir, Sara (2014) ‘Weeds are beautiful’: Exploring informality and visibility of urban food foraging practices in Sydney

Urban Politics and Social Justice

What role do urban inhabitants play in the shaping of their cities? This is partly a question of what roles citizens are allocated in formal governance mechanisms. It is also a question of how urban inhabitants take matters into their own hands, enacting new and insurgent forms of authority and citizenship in order to shape their cities (and thereby shape themselves). Our work on urban citizenship and politics includes both archival research on historical urban social movements, and contemporary participatory action research with contemporary urban alliances and movements. Drawing on this research, we also contribute to on-going theoretical debates about the relationship between cities, social justice and democracy.


KEY PUBLICATIONS

  • Iveson, K. (2014). Building a City For "The People": The Politics of Alliance-Building in the Sydney Green Ban Movement. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, 46(4), 992-1013.
  • Iveson, K. (2013). Cities within the City: Do-It-Yourself Urbanism and the Right to the City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37(3), 941-956.
  • Davidson, M., Iveson, K. (2014). Recovering the politics of the city: From the ‘post-political city’ to a ‘method of equality’ for critical urban geography. Progress in Human Geography, early online, 1-17.
  • Fincher, R., Iveson, K. (2012). Justice and Injustice in the City. Geographical Research, 50(3), 231-241
  • Iveson, K. (2011). Social or spatial justice? Marcuse and Soja on the right to the city. City, 15(2), 251-259.


RECENT PHD PROJECTS

Name Project
Tubtim, Tubtim (2014) Rural Crossroads: Class and Migration in Peri-urban Chiang Mai


RECENT MASTERS PROJECTS

Name Project
Lyons, Craig (on-going) Neoliberal urbanism, informality, and the everyday production of live music performance landscapes in Sydney


RECENT HONOURS PROJECTS

Name Project
Dimond, Caroline (2011) Global Sydney, Homelessness and Public Space: The City of Sydney’s Response to Homelessness in the Public Domain
Lloyd Hensley, Hannah (2011) The Write to the City: Public Libraries as Spaces of Urban Encounter

Cities of Diversity

Cities are crucibles for the unfolding politics of difference in the ‘age of migration’. In Australia and beyond, we see both the persistence (and even deepening) of racialised urban inequalities, and the emergence of new kinds of everyday multicultures and political claims that point towards more equitable and hospitable ways of being together in the city. Our research is particularly interested in both the planning frameworks for dealing with difference in cities, and in the diverse sites and practices of encounters with difference in everyday urban life.


KEY PUBLICATIONS

  • Fincher, R., Iveson, K., Leitner, H., Preston, V. (2014). Planning in the multicultural city: Celebrating diversity or reinforcing difference? Progress in Planning, 92, 1-55.
  • Connell, J., Iveson, K. (2014). An Eruv for St Ives? Religion, identity, place and conflict on the Sydney north shore. Australian Geographer, 45(4), 429-446.
  • Iveson, K., Fincher, R. (2011). "Just Diversity" in the City of Difference. In Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson (Eds.), The New Blackwell Companion to The City, (pp. 407-418). Malden, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Fincher, R., Iveson, K. (2008). Planning and Diversity in the City: Redistribution, Recognition and Encounter. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


RECENT PHD PROJECTS

Name Project
Lewis, Lesley (current) Geographies of Disability, Resilience and Social Justice
Yan, Liping (2015) The ethnic and cultural correlates of water consumption in a pluralistic social context - the Sydney Metropolitan Area  (under examination)
Maalsen, Sophia (2013) The Life History of Sound


RECENT HONOURS PROJECTS

Name Project
Clark, Stephanie (2015) Queers, They’re Fucking Everywhere! The Politics of Mapping Queer Space in Sydney

Urban Media and Digital Technologies

In discussions on the nature of the public sphere, there has tended to be a divide between research that focuses on ‘the media’, which is frequently presented as ‘placeless’, and research that focuses on the physical ‘public spaces’ of the city. Now, more than ever, there is a need to think more carefully about the deep relationship between the media and the urban. Our work focuses especially on different forms of outdoor media in cities (especially graffiti and advertising), and more recently on the urban-digital media interface (especially mobile and locative media).


KEY PUBLICATIONS

  • Iveson, K. (2012). Branded cities: outdoor advertising, urban governance, and the outdoor media landscape. Antipode: a radical journal of geography, 44(1), 151-174.
  • Iveson, K. (2011). Mobile Media and the Strategies of Urban Citizenship: Control, Responsibilization, Politicization. In Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Christine Satchell, Martin Gibbs (Eds.), From Social Butterfly To Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement, (pp. 55-70). England: MIT Press.
  • Iveson, K. (2010). The wars on graffiti and the new military urbanism. City, 14(1), 115-134.
  • Iveson, K. (2009). The City versus the Media? Mapping the Mobile Geographies of Public Address. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 33(1), 241-245.
  • Pritchard, W., Searle, G. (2009). Planning for creativity and innovation in a global city: Sydney's Information Technology clusters in the context of the 2005 Metropolitan Strategy. International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy (IJFIP), 5(1/2/3), 205-213.


RECENT MASTERS PROJECTS

Name Project
Fisher, Tamsin (on-going) Locative Media and Environmental Citizenship


RECENT HONOURS PROJECTS

Name Project
Yu, Alyce (2015) Geolocational Technology in the Sydney Metropolitan Transport System: The Impacts on our Locational Privacy
Jones, Rosemary (2014) Cities, Technology, Security: Examining Tokyo’s Urban Security Assemblage (Joint Honours in Geography and Government)
Withnall, Amy (2011) Street Art: a Case Study of Political Space, Conflict and Place Identity Change in Melbourne
Wickenden, Jessica (2009) Virtual Citizenship: The Emergence of Citizens of Facebook

Land ownership and settlement change in rural Australia

In Australia, patterns of rural settlement are undergoing significant transformation. While some rural towns grow, others decline. Such changes bear strong relationships to changing patterns of resource-based industries. Properties are changing hands at a rapid rate across Australia’s rural landscapes due the cumulative effects of farm restructuring, population shifts and changing landscape values, especially related to amenity, conservation and Indigenous ownership. As these processes filter through rural Australia, governments, private sector actors and civil society organizations seek to find new strategies to retain and attract new populations through diversification of economic and cultural opportunities. Our researchers are addressing all these questions and more through a range of research efforts, many of which involve collaboration with rural partners.


KEY PUBLICATIONS

  • Dufty-Jones, R., Connell, J. (2014). Rural Change in Australia: Population, Economy, Environment. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • McManus, P., Connor, L. (2013). What's mine is mine(d): Contests over marginalisation of rural life in the Upper Hunter, NSW. Rural Society, 22(2), 166-183.
  • Pritchard, B., Argent, N., Baum, S., Bourke, L., Martin, J., McManus, P., Sorensen, A., & Walmsley, J. (2012) Local-if-possible: How the spatial networking of economic relations amongst farm enterprises aids small town survival in rural Australia, Regional Studies, 46(4), pp.539-58.
  • Pritchard, B., Neave, M., Hickey, D., Troy, L. (2012) Rural Land in Australia: A Framework for the Measurement and Analysis of Nationwide Patterns of Ownership Change, Aggregation and Fragmentation, RIRDC Pub. No. 12/038 (157 pp) https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/12-038
  • Gibson, C., Connell, J. (2012). Music Festivals and Regional Development in Australia. Surrey: Ashgate.
  • McManus, P., Walmsley, J., Argent, N., Baum, S., Bourke, L., Martin, J., Pritchard, W., Sorensen, T. (2012). Rural Community and Rural Resilience: What is important to farmers in keeping their country towns alive? Journal of Rural Studies, 28(1), 20-29.
  • Connell, J., McManus, P. (2011). Rural Revival Place Marketing, Tree Change and Regional Migration in Australia. Surrey: Ashgate.

Agriculture, water reform and natural resources management in rural Australia

The Australian rural landscape is under stress. Traditional ways of managing the land by farmers are being challenged by the degradation of environments, increased competition for water, and the opportunities provided by new technologies. Farmers are facing these new conditions using a diverse range of strategies, with varying short-term and long-term implications. Geographers at the University of Sydney are deeply interested in these processes.


KEY PUBLICATIONS

  • Smith, E., Pritchard, W. (2015). Australian agricultural policy. In Anthony Hogan and Michelle Young (Eds.), Rural and Regional Futures, (pp. 58-70). Oxon: Routledge.
  • Weller, S., Smith, E. & Pritchard, B. (2013) Family or Enterprise? What shapes the business structures of Australian farming? Australian Geographer, 44 (2), pp. 129-142
  • Smith, E.F. & Pritchard, B. (2013). Water reform in the 21st century: The changed status of Australian agriculture. In R. Dufty-Jones & J. Connell (eds.). Rural change in Australia: Population, Economy and Environment. Ashgate, pp. 169-186.
  • Pritchard, B. & Valli, M. (2013) What kind of market for what kind of water? Geographical perspectives on Murray-Darling water reform, WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Enviroment, Vol 168, WIT Press, Ashurst, UK, pp. 51-62.
  • Oro, K. & Pritchard, B. (2011) The evolution of global value chains: The displacement of captive upstream investment in the Australia-Japan beef trade, Journal of Economic Geography, 11 (4), pp. 709-729
  • Pritchard, B. & Tonts, M. (2011) Market efficiency in agriculture as the basis for prosperity in rural Australia? Rethinking agricultural transformations and regional development, Globalisation, Agriculture and Development: Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific, M. Tonts & M.A.B. Siddique (eds) Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp.29-53.
  • Broadbent, J. & Pritchard, B. (2011) Is farmland ‘up for grabs’? Patterns of land ownership in rural NSW, Farm Policy Journal 8(2), pp. 11-19.


RECENT PHD PROJECTS

Name Project
Smith, Erin (2015 Structuring for Serendipity: Family Wealth Creation, Farmer Autonomy and the Pursuit of Security in an Uncertain Australian Countryside.


RECENT HONOURS PROJECTS

Name Project
Vickas, Mischa (2013) From the Seam to the Stove: The application of Life Cycle Assessment to the Coal Seam Gas industry
I’Anson, Amy (2013) Coal Seam Gas in the Galilee Basin, Queensland: The Geological and Social Contexts of Resource Exploitation
Michell, Grace (2012) Engaging Communities for Success: Moving Beyond Social Impact Assessment at Northparkes Mines, NSW

Much of our research on Global Development, Justice and Livelihoods, and on Environmental Management and Governance, also explores issues of urban and rural geography in different regions.