BMW Edge, Federation Square

"How can we re-think, re-generate, re-brand, re-work, re-activate cities for alternative futures"

To celebrate the launch of Transiting Cities - Low Carbon Futures international design ideas competition, RMIT University and OUTR (Office of Urban Transformations Research) invite you to the Transiting Cities Symposium.

As a precursor to the competition, the symposium aims to introduce key issues and approaches for the discipline of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Urban Design, and other associated disciplines, to consider the states of change of Transiting Cities.

This symposium intends to question how designers can catalyse innovative opportunities for cities and regional centres to transition into a vibrant future.


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Prof. Daine Alcorn

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation,  Vice-President - RMIT University

Professor Alcorn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, joined RMIT University as Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences in July 2002, and was appointed to the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Technology in 2003. She was previously Professor of Anatomy and Head of Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne.

Prior to joining RMIT University, Professor Alcorn was closely involved in the development of interactive multimedia teaching programs and has instituted programs that develop student-learning responsibility.

A firm believer of underpinning teaching with current research and scholarship experience, Professor Alcorn has a broad-based teaching and learning experience in health and life sciences and has employed a variety of teaching and learning methods across small and large groups of students. She has played strong administrative and management roles in teaching and research that have focused on planning and policy development for maintaining the quality of scholarship.

A past member of Australian Medical Council accreditation teams, she has contributed to medical program reviews at Bond University and the Universities of Western Australia, Tasmania, Adelaide and Sydney. She served on the NHMRC Research Committee and chaired its Research Fellowships Committee, is past Inaugural Chair of the Victorian Cancer Agency Consultative Council, was a Board Member of Museums Victoria and is currently a Board Member of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. 

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Prof. Andrew Benjamin

Professor of Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics > Monash University

Andrew Benjamin is Professor of Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics at Monash University. He is also Distinguished Professor of Architectural Theory at the University of Technology Sydney.  He has written extensively on architectural theory and history in addition to his work within philosophy. He was Visiting Critic at the Architectural Association in London for almost 20 years and has taught regularly at the GSAAP at Columbia University. As part of the urban design group RAG Urbanism his work was exhibited in the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2010.

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Richard Elkington

Chair -  Regional Development Australia (Gippsland)

Richard Elkington worked for over 40 years in the Latrobe Valley power generation industry and held a number of senior positions at General Manager Level. He is currently providing management and strategic planning consultancy services to a range of Gippsland businesses. He is a Director of East Gippsland Water and was previously Chair of Gippsland Water. He is also a member of the Clean Coal Victoria Advisory Committee and a long-term member of the Executive Council of the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition, Richard is engaged in a range of community activities including Community Radio.

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Enriqueta Llabres

Director > Relational Urbanism 

Visiting Studio Director > Harvard University GSD

Enriqueta Llabres is an architect graduated in Barcelona in 2002. Between 2003 and 2007 she worked for the ETH Professor Josep Lluis Mateo, contributing to emblematic projects such as the Catalonian Film Theatre; in 2006 was promoted project leader of international projects. In 2007 she moved to London and cofounded with Eduardo Rico Relational Urbanism, an innovative practice in the field of architecture, urban design and development. Relational Urbanism has an active research agenda in collaboration with institutions and firms such as Arup. In 2010 she directed with Eduardo Rico Territorialism Studio at the Berlage Institute. She is currently an MSc Local Economic Development candidate at the London School of Economics and a Visiting Studio Director with Eduardo Rico at the Graduate School of Design in Harvard. She has collaborated with a wide number of institutions as design critic, lecturer and visiting workshops.     

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Dr. Lee Stickells

Senior Lecturer & Director, Master of Arch. Program - University of Sydney 

Lee is Director of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Sydney. His research is characterized by an interest in relationships between architecture and the city, with a focus on the construction of encounter. He was co-editor of The Right to the City (2011) and has contributed to anthologies including Beyond Utopia (2012), Trash Culture (2010), and Heterotopia and the City (2009). His essays have appeared in journals such as ARQ: Architectural Research Quarterly and Transition. Lee is currently co-editor of the journal Architectural Theory Review and an advisory board member of the not-for-profit organisation MAKE SPACE for ARCHITECTURE. 

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Cr. Ed Vermeulen

Mayor - Latrobe City Council (September 2012)

Cr Ed Vermeulen has lived in the Latrobe Valley for almost all his life after emigrating from Holland in the 1950s. He currently lives at Hazelwood North and has raised his two children in the Latrobe Valley and is now the proud grandfather of four grandchildren. 

During his career in the Valley, Ed was the manager of a training group within the former State Electricity Commission of Victoria. After 30 years service he decided to do other things and worked for the Victorian Electoral Commission for six years as a Senior Election Official. 

Subsequent to his career, Cr Vermeulen demonstrated strong community involvement and contributed to many groups and activities, including working in a homeless shelter and as Chair of the Gippsland Soccer League.

In 2008, Cr Vermeulen stood for Council and was elected in the Gunyah ward. Cr Vermeulen is the current Mayor of Latrobe City Council.

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Esther Anatolitis

Director -  Regional Arts Victoria

Co-Curator  - Architecture + Philosophy

Esther Anatolitis is Director of Regional Arts Victoria, and co-curator of Architecture + Philosophy. She is a writer, facilitator and an arts advocate. Esther's work creates and sustains the frameworks for independent creative practice. 

Esther has facilitated and collaborated on various cross-disciplinary projects across a range of media and locations, with a focus on the identification of interstitial spaces for new work, and the creative power of art to make place. Her academic background is in European philosophy, and she also holds the postgraduate Zertifikat BauhausDessau (Dessau, Germany) for her work on an international architectural project, for which she was awarded a DAAD Künstlerprogramm residency. 

Esther’s past professional roles span craft and design, literary arts, multicultural arts, festivals, publishing and broadcasting, and she has consulted with numerous small-to-medium arts and artist organisations on their strategic planning and programming. Esther fosters sector-wide arts networks with a Victorian focus.

Esther has held CEO-level positions with several key Victorian arts organisations including Melbourne Fringe, Craft Victoria and Express Media, and has served on many boards, including chairing the Arts Industry Council (Victoria). Last year she judged the Urban Realities Docklands design challenge, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects' Street Works Sydney international design competition, and the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters' Awards. Esther’s work has been published widely in Australia and overseas, most recently in un Magazine, the Age, Artichoke, Arts Hub and RealTime Arts. Her background, career and vision have been profiled in The Age, The Leader, Melbourne News, CB Online, Arts Hub and Neos Kosmos.

Across all such involvements is an abiding interest in those special spatial and cultural configurations that are responsible for the emergence of the new.

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Dr. Julian Bolleter

Assistant Professor  - Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC)

Dr Julian Bolleter is an Assistant Professor at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre at the University of Western Australia. He has over 10 years of professional experience as a landscape architect working in Australia, the UAE and the UK on a range of diverse projects. In 2009 Dr. Bolleter completed a PhD which critically surveyed landscape architectural practice in Dubai and advanced scenarios for Dubai’s proposed 8% public open space system. Dr. Bolleter along with his AUDRC colleague Professor Richard Weller has recently coedited a book entitled ‘Made in Australia’ which concerns the future of Australian cities to 2101. 

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Prof. John Fien

Professor of Sustainability  RMIT University

John Fien is Professor of Sustainability at RMIT University, and holds an MA from University of London and a PhD from University of Queensland. He has a strong interest in social sustainability and the ways in which urban design and planning can contribute to healthy resilient communities. Recent projects have included: the development of a systems framework for the design and delivery of remote Indigenous housing, a review of place-making in Victoria, and the UN position paper on learning and capacity building for sustainable development at the Rio+20 Conference.

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Dr. Flora Salim

Research Fellow > Spatial Information 

Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), RMIT University 

Dr. Flora Salim is a Research Fellow at Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL), RMIT University. She is also Australian Post-Doctoral Industry Fellow in a project funded by the nationally competitive Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant to provide an integrated information system for multimodal public transport in Melbourne, in partnership with Public Transport Victoria (Victorian Department of Transport).  

From a computer science background, she is interested in applying computational approaches, particularly distributed and mobile computing, data analysis, augmented reality, and tangible interactions to architecture and urban design problems. She received her PhD in Computer Science from Monash University in 2009. Prior to her PhD, she was a senior application developer with a responsibility to design and develop scalable distributed media servers in a number of broadcasting/TV stations worldwide. 

Her research areas, which include context-aware computing and empirical computational modelling, simulation, and visualization, have been applied for addressing key urban sustainability issues, such as energy consumption in the built environment, crowd movement, and real-time modelling of a local urban area. In the first three years of her postdoctoral research in RMIT, she has been developing an integrated web and data services for architectural modelling and thermal simulation for designing high-performing buildings for a linkage project with Queensland Government’s Project Services. In 2010, she initiated the development of UbiMash, an open-source middleware for designing between physical and digital environments, enabling data exchange between physical and digital models using game consoles, microelectronics, sensor devices, social networks, and the Web.  

She has published at least 40 peer-reviewed articles in significant international conferences, journals, and book chapters. She has won multiple awards, industry grants, and funding including the globally competitive IBM Smarter Planet Innovation Award, Ian Potter Foundation Grant, RMIT Learning and Teaching Investment Fund, Ian Permezel Memorial Award, Google Anita Borg Scholarship, and the recently awarded ARC linkage grant. 

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Prof. Donald Bates

Director -  LAB Architects

Chair, Architectural 
Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning - University of Melbourne

Professor Donald Bates is the Chair of Architectural Design at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. He is a Founder and Director of LAB Architecture Studio, an architectural and urban design practice based in Melbourne, with offices in Shanghai, London, Delhi and Dubai. Professor Bates is a member of the Victorian Design Review Panel and is a juror at the forthcoming World Architecture Festival in Singapore. He has taught at the Architectural Association in London, the Cooper Union in NYC and lectured in more than 170 schools and institutions across the world.

LAB have completed projects in the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Singapore and China.LAB is a founding member of AUS – Australian Urban Systems – an industry cluster group, support by the Department of Business and Innovation, providing expertise and consultancy services for sustainable and liveable urbanism.

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Prof. Richard Blythe

Head of School Architecture + Design  RMIT University

Director -  Terroir

Dr Richard Blythe is Professor in Architecture and Head of School, Architecture + Design at RMIT University, Australia a position he has held since June 2007. In 2010 he led the establishment of the RMIT University Creative Practice Research PhD program in Ghent, Belgium. Richard is a founding director of the architecture practice Terroir. The work of Terroir has been recognised through exhibition and publication nationally and internationally. Richard served as Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects National Education Committee from 2005-2011 and his most important achievement in that role was leading the development and adoption of the AIA Research Policy and associated documents. Richard’s academic passion is creative practice and in developing approaches to creative practice research and in building communities of creative practitioner researchers. Richard undertook a Velux visiting professorship in Aarhus, Denmark in 2011 to pursue the development of a trans-European PhD training network for creative practioners.

Prior to taking up his position at RMIT Richard lectured at the University of Tasmania for 14yrs where he served as Deputy Head of the School of Architecture and was the Vice Chancellor’s representative on the Tasmanian Government’s Building and Construction Industries Council. Richard gained a B.EnvDes and B.Arch from the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology and an M.Arch (research) specializing in twentieth century Australian architectural history from the University of Melbourne. Richard received a PhD from RMIT in 2009. During 2000-2001 Richard served as President of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand.


Jock Gilbert

Foundation Studio Coordinator & Lecturer > Landscape Arch. Program, RMIT University

Jock Gilbert currently lectures into the Landscape Architecture program at RMIT University where he coordinates both the Theoretical Frameworks stream and the first year Foundation Design Studio stream. With a background in horticulture, agriculture and production forestry he is interested in the dynamic relationship between the city and it’s region/s and the ways in which this is manifest spatially and politically. He is currently engaged in research around this with a focus on the region of South Gippsland.

Jock is also currently undertaking a Phd in the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT examining the potential use of notions of the sublime in developing a generative framework of praxis with social and political agency in Landscape Architecture.


Dr. Darryn Snell

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work > School of Management, RMIT University

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Andrew Wisdom

Principal - ARUP 

Andrew Wisdom is a Principal of Arup whose focus is on infrastructure planning. He has 30 years of experience in a wide range of transportation projects throughout the world. His broad background includes work on planning and design of roads, public transit and airports as well as site master planning in a variety of contexts.

Between 1999 and 2004 he was based in New York and led Arup's transportation group in the Americas. At the start of 2005, Andrew returned to the Melbourne office, where until 2009 he acted as Arup’s Melbourne office leader. Since 2007, he has led Arup’s Planning business in the Australasian region. 

Andrew’s notable strength lies in his inventive thinking during initial development and project design reviews. His creative contribution to planning projects allows for realistic outcome-oriented innovation. His resourcefulness is exemplified in such diverse contributions as development of innovative performance-based passenger analysis and simulation tools for planning of New York’s Second Avenue Subway; the award-winning Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Study, (for which Andrew devised and implemented a landmark approach, applying a structured traffic calming framework new to the United States); his involvement in framing objectives for the East River Waterfront project, re-evaluating the area in terms of connecting the city with the waterfront and reusing existing infrastructure; and his involvement in the team that successfully re-imagined New York’s Fulton Street Transit Center.