Planning for Climate Change: From urban design to complex systems.

[John Quiggin's presentation is available online at]

Complexity, Climate Change and the Precautionary Principle, John Quiggin

The problem of climate change involves interactions between current and future human energy and land use, driven by a world economy and society embracing billions of people, and global atmospheric, oceanic and biospheric systems operating at scales ranging from microscopic to planetary.

In debating policy decisions about such complex systems, it is common, to appeal to the precautionary principle. One popular version,states: `When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.`

However, this principle itself creates difficulties in a situation where any activity we undertake has the potential to cause harm. Some have therefore suggested that the precautionary principle should be discarded. In this lecture, it will be argued that the precautionary principle can be given a rigorous formulation that provides useful guidance in dealing with complex systems.

John Quiggin is an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow in Economics and Political Science at the University of Queensland, and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre for Complex Systems. Professor Quiggin is prominent both as a research economist and as a commentator on Australian economic policy. He has published over 750 research articles, books and reports in fields including risk analysis, production economics, and environmental economics. He has also written on policy topics including unemployment policy, micro-economic reform, privatisation, competitive tendering, and sustainable management of the Murray–Darling system. John publishes a weblog ( providing daily comments on a wide range of topics. John will be available at the conclusion of the presentation to answer any questions.

Climate Change: Planning for it and not just worrying about it, Ed Blakely

No matter how the topic is debated, the real issues are how to plan for what may happen and what role urban planning plays in that process. This talk will describe the impacts of climate change on cities and - using New Orleans as an illustration of what not to do - describe how to ensure that urban areas can respond to climate change as we rebuild our cities.

Professor Ed Blakely is the fourth Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney and Director of the Planning Research Centre. He is known for his innovative work in the redevelopment of New York City as leader of the community panel that crafted the regional response to the devastation of downtown Manhattan post the 9-11 crises. He was directly involved in the recovery efforts for the San Francisco and Los Angeles earthquakes. For these and other activities in sustainable development the University of California established the Edward J. Blakely Institute of Sustainable Suburban Development.

Ed has been an advisor to metropolitan regions all over the world earning recognition from the French, Vietnamese, Swedish, Canadian, Saudi Arabian, Chinese, and American governments. Since coming to Australia, he is credited with the design of the “Gateway Strategy” for the Southeast Queensland Regional Plan and the “Technology Precincts” strategy in the Melbourne Metropolitan Plan.


Presented by the ARC Centre for Complex Systems as part of The University of Queensland's Research Week, and by BrisScience.

This free presentation is open to everyone, and there is no need to book. Complimentary refreshments will be provided between the presentations, and John and Ed will be available to answer questions and for discussion.

DATE: Monday 18th September
TIME: 6:30pm - 9pm. Doors open at 6pm.
LOCATION: Ithaca Room, City Hall, St Georges Square (between Ann and Adelaide Sts), Brisbane City
World-class basic and applied inter-disciplinary research on questions fundamental to understanding, designing and managing complex systems/font>
© 2009 The ARC Centre for Complex Systems, Australia