Reframing urban climate responsibility: perspectives from the Asia Pacific

Dr Sara Fuller1

1Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


Understanding responsibility is critical for developing socially and politically just responses to climate change. This is particularly significant in the context of urban transformations where cities are framed as both causally responsible for carbon emissions while also vulnerable to climate impacts such as flooding or heatwaves. It is therefore important to analyse how the concept of climate responsibility is framed and mobilised in city-based climate initiatives and the wider implications for equity and justice. This paper draws on a systematic literature review and a review of urban climate policies in cities across the Asia Pacific – a region characterised by high rates of economic growth and rapid urbanisation alongside widespread exposure to the effects of climate change. To date there has been a lack of comprehensive research and analysis in relation to the question of urban climate responsibility and virtually none in the Asia-Pacific. In interrogating the political and ethical issues associated with urban climate responsibility, the paper therefore reflects on the geographies of responsibility across the Asia Pacific region and provides insights into the framing and regional dynamics of urban climate justice.


My research explores concepts and practices of justice in the context of global environmental change, with an empirical focus on grassroots, community and activist responses to climate change. Prior to joining Macquarie University, I held postdoctoral positions at Durham University, UK and City University of Hong Kong where I conducted research on low carbon urban transitions and climate governance; NGO discourses of energy justice; low carbon communities and social justice; and energy vulnerability in communities. My current projects focus on the politics and governance of urban climate justice across the Asia-Pacific region.

Residents’ place identity in a city of becoming

Dr Po-Hsin Lai1, Dr.  Naho Maruyama2, Dr. Kyle Woosnam3, Miss Gabrielle Mcginnis1

1The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

2Takasaki City University of Economics, Takasaki, Japan

3University of Georgia , Athens, United States


Cities in the world are voluntarily and/or involuntarily becoming incorporated in the process of globalisation to compete for capital investments and consumption of urban amenities. The city of Newcastle in the state of New South Wales, Australia is no exception. While the city has been a subject of anthropogenic change particularly since its colonisation by the European settlers in the early 19th century, the speed of change has been accelerated in the last few years as a result of government determination to move the city toward a smart and vibrant urbanscape. The concept of place identity provides a theoretical lens to inform our examination of how recent investments in urban transformation impacted local key stakeholders. Our purpose is to identify how urban regeneration impacted the elements contributing to four aspects of place identity of local key stakeholders, including distinctiveness, continuity, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Furthermore, how local stakeholders coped in response to challenging changes are also examined. Semi-structured interviews were implemented in 2018 to 28 study participants who engaged with the local landscape on a daily basis, including local residents and business stakeholders. The implications for place making and place engagement in a changing urban landscape will be discussed.


Po-Hsin Lai is a lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She is mostly interested in how anthropogenic induced changes shape person-place relationships (e.g., place identity, place attachment) in rural, urban and protected environments based on quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

Angkor In-situ: Ontological Interpretations of the Relationships between Cultural Heritage and its Surrounding Spaces

Dr Rowena Butland1

1Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia


As the site of UNESCO’s first cultural heritage zoning plan, the Angkor World Heritage Area witnessed a refocusing of heritage management discourse from the protection of heritage monuments, towards a growing desire to conserve vast cultural landscapes. Key to this was the planned management of the adjacent town of Siem Reap, and its relationship with heritage and green spaces. This paper will use a participatory GIS approach to explore the complex relationship between heritage and contemporary spaces. In exploring spatial and aesthetic perceptions of the Angkor landscape, consideration is given to how boundaries are constructed to support particular interpretations of heritage. A comparison of urban and rural land covers reveals the consequences for landscape management arising from ontological differences between stakeholders. Through the inclusion and exclusion of aesthetics, behaviour and people, various control mechanisms have influenced the material qualities of heritage and urban space.


Rowena works within the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University. She currently specialises in teaching Social Research Methods, whilst continuing to research within cultural and urban geographies.

Using social media to assess spatial and temporal patterns of use: Investigating what makes a cities identity

Mr Jesse Raneng1

1Griffith University, City of Gold Coast , Australia


A main concern of rapid urbanisation is the need to accommodate for growth throughout urban areas. With a growing population, it is important for social planners to distinguish new engagement methods that can create a sense of place. Assessing values may appear to have fewer tangible outcomes to some, however, cultural view, and familiarity within a space, can assist in establishing a cities identity.

Engagement with the public is usually achieved by harnessing traditional methods, moreover, these instruments can be subjected to an unintentional bias. Utilising user-created content from social media data can be a complementary information source providing human geographers with insights.

The City of Gold Coast, Queensland is home to remarkable beaches, hinterland ranges, and open spaces. The location is experiencing a large population growth, resulting in sprawling development encroaching into landscapes.

This research aims to investigate whether a cities identity can be harnessed using user-created content from a popular social media interface Flickr. This platform was utilised for extracting images and their metadata within the geographic boundaries of the City of Gold Coast.  A data-set of 43 thousand images and their geo-location attributes where examined to assist with learning lessons about city identify and sense of place.


Creating sustainable spaces inspired Jesse Raneng to study a Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning with Honours. With an additional interest in how data can interpret how we use our public spaces, Raneng also enjoyed the chance to work with Professor Catherine Pickering and Montannia Chabau-Gibson on extracting big data from social media to investigate how people value parks and open space at the Gold Coast Spit. These findings was presented at the international conference on monitoring and management of visitors in recreational and protected areas in France.

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