Our cities and regions have a significant impact on the health of the planet. Our researchers are tackling some of the problems associated with how we are living in those places.

Find out more about these projects here.

We measure our projects against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a framework of 17 common aims for improving the health of our planet and its people.

Projects

Eco-bricks from coffee cups

Title: Experimental development and characterisation of eco-bricks and panels made from take-away coffee cups and plastics
Researchers: Zora Vrcelj, Yanni Bouras, Malindu Sandanayake, Rudi VanStaden, Paul Joseph
Partners: ClosedLoop, Wyndham City Council, RMIT

Through this research, used take-away coffee cups will be developed into environmentally sustainable building materials, including bricks and panels. Following Australian Standards, rigorous experimental procedures will characterise material compositions for non-structural and fire-retardant applications.

SDGs: 9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure | 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities | 12 Responsible Consumption & Production

takeaway coffee cups


Resilient tourism destinations

Title: Building the resilience of tourism destinations to disasters – The 2020 Victorian bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic
Researchers: Joanne Pyke, Terry De Lacy, Ancy Gamage
Partners: Victorian Tourism Industry Council

The Victorian visitor economy is in crisis due to recent bushfires and COVID-19. The industry is vital to social, economic and environmental health, particularly in areas with nature-based attractions. This research will develop tools to build tourism-destination resilience, and to integrate tourism into the emerging green economy.

SDGs: 3 Good Health & Wellbeing | 9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure | 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities | 13 Climate Action


Sustainable infrastructure

Title: Sustainable Infrastructure - engineering & science, health & business innovation
Researchers: Melissa Chan, Romana Morda, Catherine Lou, Zora Vrcelj

Australia’s infrastructure in water, transport, energy and communications is key to economic growth. This study will provide the tools to optimise delivery of an integrated and sustainable infrastructure network to meet Australia's future social and economic needs.

SDGs: 3 Good Health & Wellbeing | 9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure | 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities


rotten fruit

Recycling agricultural waste

Title: Forming agricultural waste material into functional protective packaging elements
Researchers: Matthew Lamb, Vincent Rouillard, Marlene Cran, Stephen Bigger, Catherine Sullivan
Partners: Australian Plant Proteins, Integrated Packaging

This research will create useful packaging materials from plant-based agricultural waste, developing processes to transform the waste material into bio-packaging for a range of applications.

SDGs: 12 Responsible Consumption & Production | 14 Life Below Water 


Eco-friendly Geopolymer concrete

Title: Fire resilient Geopolymer concrete made with recycled materials
Researchers: Maurice Guerrieri, Sam Fragomeni, Khalid Moinuddin, Paul Joseph, Ehsan Yaghoubi, Wasantha Liyanage
Partners: Griffith University; Swinburne University of Technology; University of Edinburgh; University of Queensland; Brandskyddslaget AB, Stockholm; Efectis, Netherlands; Barchip; EnviroSand; Cross Yarra Partnership; Metro Trains Melbourne; AECOM

Ordinary Portland Cement concrete contributes significantly to global CO2 emissions, second only to fossil fuels. This project will develop Geopolymer concrete prototype mixes with 100% recyclable materials, including binders such as fly ash and slag, and waste aggregates (plastic, glass and tyres) with fire-resilient properties.

SDGs: 9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure | 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities | 12 Responsible Consumption & Production


Zero net Emissions by 2050

Title: Zero net Emissions by 2050 – what it means for Australian regions, industries and jobs
Researchers: Philip Adams, Christopher King

According to a 2014 report, Australia can achieve zero net emissions by 2050 using known and proven technologies, while maintaining economic prosperity (UN-sponsored 2050 Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project 2014). In response to changes in the energy landscape since 2014, this research will model pathways to zero emissions and identify changes to the structure of the Australian economy now needed to achieve a zero-emission future. Research will focus on regional economies, industry composition, labour-force training, and urban infrastructure.

SDGs7 Affordable & Clean Energy | 9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure | 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities | 13 Climate Change