Assistant Professor Naesun Park, Global Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Regeneration, University of Tokyo, talked on "The Vulnerability in Cities: the concept, mechanism and examples", at Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, on 10 January 2011. The Professor discussed her research on what makes cities sustainable and what are the problems, particularly in Asian cities.
Interestingly the Professor went beyond engineering and planning, with an analysis of the well-being of people in cities around the world, as indicated by suicide rates. She found people in rapidly growing Asian cities most at risk. One factor of relevance to Australia was the avialability of Internet access. In Korea the availability of Internet increases social cohesion, whereas it reduces this in Japan. This is very relivant in Austrlaia where the federal government is spending $43B on the NBN. It would be prudent to undertake some research to ensure that this does not harm society and increase suicide rates.
Details of Assistant Professor Park's work is in the 3 August 2010 edition of SUR: Sustainable Urban Regeneration Magazine. Also the slides from a previous talk are avialable: "Urban Sustainability and Vulnerability Indicators: How Do We Evaluate Our Sustainability and Vulnerability?" at the International Workshop on Sustainable City-Region, February 2010 in Taiwan.
Professor Park is in Canberra today and tommorrow (Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 January) and then visiting Melbourne and is keen to talk to local people. Here email address is: naesun(a)mail.com