Why Urban CurioCity
I've found that there is a need within our industry - amongst those involved in the design of our cities - for sensible conversation around the direction of our cities and our contributions as a collective. Whether we be engineers, urban planners, urban designers, landscape architects, government planners and policymakers, big industry, local business, community activists or community gardeners, there is a need for us to be better at working together. The problem is that the big issues of today, like affordable housing, sustainable development and liveability are viewed as the domain of a particular field. The reality is that we are all doing interesting work and we are all working on the same questions.
Urban CurioCity is my attempt to change this.
We need a more integrated multi-dimensional approach to the way we shape our cities, to capitalise on the opportunity to create bolder and better solutions.
My mission is to Kickstart the shared information economy between cities to solve our urban challenges
My aim is to create conversation between everyday individuals in every city I visit, as well as make contacts with those in the urban development industry, such as engineers, urban planners, architects, designers, developers and government.
I want to learn about the lifestyles of those living in the cities and what strategies are working for and against them when looking at our big urban challenges. And I want to connect with those change-makers who are trying to make their city a better place to live.
To document my journey, I will write about my research and findings here on my blog and profile the best and brightest of ideas offered by different cities around the world. I’ll be tackling the following key urban challenges:
How can we make our cities more dense without compromising quality of life?
What levers are there to improve affordability of the basics in life: food, water, energy, housing?
What are cities doing to enable all people in their cities thrive not just survive?
What are the cutting edge ideas of the future that will get us to a zero impact footprint? What do we need to do to make this happen?
What is smart technology and what implications does / will it have on how we design our cities?
My research strategy is as follows:
1. Ethnographic Study
Upon my arrival in a city, I will commence an ethnographic study that lasts one week, involving:
- One week travelling throughout the city and visiting tourist locations and local hang-outs, talking to locals, and experiencing normal everyday experiences.
- Sourcing a local informant (or more!), who can provide guidance and key information about the area.
The research methodology will be standardised per city; providing a first-hand account of the nature of a city, its social demographics, and a snapshot of the hopes and dreams of a city’s citizens.
For each city, I aim to make contacts and meet with a notable organisation in order to gain a formal introduction of the city. This will allow me to:
- Find out the big urban challenges within each city
- Gather recommendations on projects
- Source the best people to talk to
- Investigate my five big urban challenges through meeting key players in each city
3. Field Research
For the following one to two months, I will undergo field research regarding the top solutions within each city. Some of this research will include:
- Sourcing the top ten ideas with potential promise within each city
- Collecting key contact details of like-minded individuals, then forming a hub to share knowledge and insights among these people throughout the project
- Writing candidly about the innovations uncovered and reporting on the findings (e.g. pros and cons of the application)
4. Summary assessment
Using the knowledge and contacts gathered, I will write a summary assessment of each city as they align with standardised research metrics.
Finally, I will use my new-found knowledge to update my list of ‘Top 5’ ideas to tackle each of my big urban challenges.
I am a civil engineer of seven years with experience in both Australian and Chinese water and urban infrastructure sectors.
I am passionate about creating sustainable integrated cities, and working to inspire those around me to lead and foster collaboration. In doing so, I aim to coordinate diverse disciplines into an integrated outcome. To follow this passion, I am taking a two year sabbatical from my current role at AECOM to run the Urban CurioCity project.
On a more personal level, I grew up in Sydney, have a dog called Jessie, and I’m a big fan of Vegemite on toast! When visiting a foreign city on my travels (particularly on rainy days), I love going to the movies.
Katrie is a former Prime Minister's Australia-Asia Endeavour Award Fellow, ACC-Austcham Young Leaders Scholar, and inaugural Australia China Youth Dialogue and China-Australia Millennial Project delegate. She has presented papers at the Singapore International Water Week Conference and International Water Sensitive Urban Design Conference, and is the recipient of the UDIA NSW Roy Sheargold Scholarship, which has allowed her to go on this journey.