WestConnex: Using sustainability discourse to construct a major transport infrastructure project in Sydney

Prof. Phil McManus1, Prof. Graham Haughton2

1University Of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

2The University of Manchester, Manchester, England


WestConnex is a 33km motorway currently being built in Sydney.  By law it has to be sustainable.  This presentation explores how the use of the term “sustainable infrastructure” and the requirement to use specific rating systems enabled the proponents of this project to get it rated as “excellent”, despite many opponents believing it adds to climate change impacts, the destruction of urban heritage and that it perpetuates a culture of automobility.


Phil McManus has a background in urban and regional planning, environmental studies and geography.  He as written extensively (including with his current co-author Graham Haughton) on urban transport infrastructure and environmental concepts. He has recently stepped down as the Head of Geosciences at the University of Sydney after four and a half years.

The Anthropocene and the Destruction of Place

Ms Briohny Walker1

1The University Of Tasmania


This paper focuses on the destruction of place as a contributor to the mass ecological degradation that defines the Anthropocene epoch. I suggest that the development and continuance of capitalism relies on the abstraction and disemplacement of human and more-than-human beings and materials, created through commodification, colonialism, globalised trade and the abstraction of labour. These processes have had significant impacts for the development of Western ontologies, including understandings of matter as inert and quantifiable (as typified in Cartesian dualism, a theory developed under the influence of early capitalism), conceptions of time as linear, and an inability to meaningfully conceive of ontological pluralism. As the ecological impacts of processes of extraction and exchange have accumulated and complexified, the lively disobedience of the nonhuman world is shaking disemplaced Western ontologies down to their core. Questions of how to respond to these issues are complicated by the vastness and complexity of ecological change. Anthropocene scholarship, while potentially a useful heuristic for thinking through these issues, has itself the capacity to be universalising, and to tend too little to the locations and specificities of its own creation. Closing, the paper asks, what is, and what could be, place in the Anthropocene?


Briohny Walker (briohny.walker@utas.edu.au) is a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania in Philosophy and Gender Studies, with interests in feminist philosophy, queer theory, anti-capitalist politics and the Anthropocene. Briohny is a cofounder of Brisbane Free University and Queering Health Hobart.

Evaluating the Co-benefits of Green Space in Tainan

Mr Zih-hong Lin1, Dr Hsueh-Sheng Chang1

1National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan


Climate Change has caused various issues in our society and environment. In order to decrease these impacts, planning abundant urban green space has been seen as one of a significant policy strategy. Urban green spaces provide a variety of social and ecological benefits, from improving mental health to flooding management. In this work, we tried to evaluate the benefits of the green space area in Tainan, for the purpose of identifying the tradeoff of different co-benefits. We utilized Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to evaluate the effect of runoff reduction and calculate the accessibility to green space in different scenarios, including centralized and decentralized urban green space planning. Moreover, we compared the reduction effect in different rainfall scenario and control level. Results showed that the effect of runoff reduction is better with decentralized green space planning, that is to say, smaller units are more effective to reduce runoff. Furthermore, the average accessibility to green space of decentralized green space planning is higher than centralized scenario.


I am a master student from the department of urban planning and I am now a member in Sustainable and Spatial Planning Lab. I’m interested in how spatial planning influence urban resilient. My current work is to evaluate the runoff reduction in different green open space configuration. My email address is ‘zihhong811111@gmail.com’.

Risks and Repulsion: The Fatberg!

Ms Elizabeth Duncan1

1Ms., Sydney, Australia


In a more-than-human world when posing questions of whom or what is at risk and how resilience is constructed, attention is needed to how categorical divides of nature and culture or human/non-human may be presupposed or embedded. Fatbergs are a congealed mass of biodegradable and non-biodegradable solid matter in sewers; presenting a materialising problem, returning from the realms of that which is flushed away. The gothic allure of the Fatberg is a return to the troubling of categorical divides that are unsettled by the uncanny and the abject. The fatberg poses risks through its liveliness – where a system premised on movement and flux is met with sticky attachments –leading to system blockages. Two modes of analysis will be employed in order to understand what the materiality of the Fatberg puts at stake. The first involves a review of the considerations of exhibiting and archiving part of a fatberg at the Museum of London for the recent Fatberg! exhibition. The second is a discourse analysis of media on the subject of the fatberg – to understand how the fatberg is imagined. Ultimately I ask: how does accumulation and convergence come to matter within the fatberg?


Elizabeth is a current PhD student in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney.  Elizabeth has a Bachelor in Literature and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Sustainability from the University of Sydney. Elizabeth’s research focuses on waste. In particular she is interested in cumulative impact of the materiality of waste and its moment through and beyond Sydney.

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