Flinders shows the way on futureproofing cities

A new research institute that aims to improve the lives of Australians in all cities and regions has been launched in Adelaide.

The Flinders Institute for Housing, Urban and Regional Research (FIHURR) brings together researchers from a range of fields – including geography, environmental studies, planning, public health, social work, politics, public policy and law – to generate new ideas that will build stronger, fairer and more sustainable communities.

FIHURR Director Professor Andrew Beer [pictured] said the institute would better integrate the separate but related strands of Flinders’ research effort in the areas of housing and community development.

“Flinders University already has an impressive track record of important and relevant research in these areas over more than two decades, such as the watershed report on the impact of the closure of the Mitsubishi plant in Adelaide’s southern suburbs,” Professor Beer said.

“FIHURR will enhance our research capacity in areas such as local and regional economic development; housing and disability, health and ageing; social inclusion; and the housing needs of Indigenous Australians,” he said.

“These are crucial areas of research, especially at a time when the nation is reeling from the worst bushfires in its history, floods to the far north, an extended period of drought and the effects of the global financial crisis.”

Housing and environmental sustainability will be a special area of focus. FlHURR is a partner in the visit of the next Adelaide Thinker-in-Residence, Professor Laura Lee, a leading authority on sustainable design and construction from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber said the creation of FIHURR reflects the University’s connection with the community.

“FIHURR will put our cities and towns – their communities, industries and infrastructure – under the microscope,” Professor Barber said.

“Our researchers want to know whether the needs and aspirations of Australians are being met; and what needs to be done to improve their quality of life.

“And they also want to demonstrate the impact of our habitation on the environment,” he said.

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