Proceedings of the 3rd International Subtropical Cities Conference 2011 Subtropical Cities: Subtropical Urbanism -Beyond Climate Change

Abbate, Anthony, Polakit, Kasama, & Kennedy, Rosemary J. (Eds.) (2011) Proceedings of the 3rd International Subtropical Cities Conference 2011 Subtropical Cities: Subtropical Urbanism -Beyond Climate Change. Queensland University of Technology, Centre for Subtropical Design, Brisbane, Qld.


Climate has been, throughout modern history, a primary attribute for attracting residents to the “Sunshine States” of Florida (USA) and Queensland (Australia). The first major group of settlers capitalized on the winter growing season to support a year-­‐round agricultural economy. As these economies developed, the climate attracted tourism and retirement industries. Yet as Florida and Queensland have blossomed under beneficial climates, the stresses acting on the natural environment are exacting a toll. Southeast Florida and eastern Queensland are among the most vulnerable coastal metropolitan areas in the world. In these places the certainty of sea level rise is measurable with impacts, empirically observable, that will continue to increase regardless of any climate change mitigation.1

The cities of the subtropics share a series of paradoxes relating to climate, resources, environment, and culture. As the subtropical climate entices new residents and visitors there are increasing costs associated with urban infrastructure and the ravages of violent weather. The carefree lifestyle of subtropical cities is increasingly dependent on scarce water and energy resources and the flow of tangible goods that support a trade economy. The natural environment is no longer exploitable as the survival of the human environment is contingent upon the ability of natural ecosystems to absorb the impact of human actions. The quality of subtropical living is challenged by the mounting pressures of population growth and rapid urbanization yet urban form and contemporary building design fail to take advantage of the subtropical zone’s natural attributes of abundant sunshine, cooling breezes and warm temperatures.

Yet, by building a global network of local knowledge, subtropical cities like Brisbane, the City of Gold Coast and Fort Lauderdale, are confidently leading the way with innovative and inventive solutions for building resiliency and adaptation to climate change.

The Centre for Subtropical Design at Queensland University of Technology organized the first international Subtropical Cities conference in Brisbane, Australia, where the “fault-­‐lines” of subtropical cities at breaking points were revealed. The second conference, held in 2008, shed a more optimistic light with the theme "From fault-­‐lines to sight-­‐lines -­‐ subtropical urbanism in 20-­‐20" highlighting the leadership exemplified in the vitality of small and large works from around the subtropical world. Yet beyond these isolated local actions the need for more cooperation and collaboration was identified as the key to moving beyond the problems of the present and foreseeable future.

The spirit of leadership and collaboration has taken on new force, as two institutions from opposite sides of the globe joined together to host the 3rd international conference Subtropical Cities 2011 -­‐ Subtropical Urbanism: Beyond Climate Change. The collaboration between Florida Atlantic University and the Queensland University of Technology to host this conference, for the first time in the United States, forges a new direction in international cooperative research to address urban design solutions that support sustainable behaviours, resiliency and adaptation to sea level rise, green house gas (GHG) reduction, and climate change research in the areas of architecture and urban design, planning, and public policy. With southeast Queensland and southern Florida as contributors to this global effort among subtropical urban regions that share similar challenges, opportunities, and vulnerabilities our mutual aim is to advance the development and application of local knowledge to the global problems we share.

The conference attracted over 150 participants from four continents. Presentations by authors were organized into three sub-­‐themes: Cultural/Place Identity, Environment and Ecology, and Social Economics. Each of the 22 papers presented underwent a double-­‐blind peer review by a panel of international experts among the disciplines and research areas represented.

The Centre for Subtropical Design at the Queensland University of Technology is leading Australia in innovative environmental design with a multi-­‐disciplinary focus on creating places that are ‘at home’ in the warm humid subtropics. The Broward Community Design Collaborative at Florida Atlantic University's College for Design and Social Inquiry has built an interdisciplinary collaboration that is unique in the United States among the units of Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, Social Work, Public Administration, together with the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Science, and the Center for Environmental Studies, to engage in funded action research through design inquiry to solve the problems of development for urban resiliency and environmental sustainment.

As we move beyond debates about climate change -­‐ now acting upon us -­‐ the subtropical urban regions of the world will continue to convene to demonstrate the power of local knowledge against global forces, thereby inspiring us as we work toward everyday engagement and action that can make our cities more livable, equitable, and green.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 83800
Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Each paper in this publication has been blind refereed by an
Academic review panel appointed by Academic Committee of the conference. All referees were academic peers of the Editors. In the case of a paper authored by one of the Editors, the other Editors arranged refereeing.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Sustainability, Subtropical, Cities, Climate Change, Urbanism
ISBN: 9780615548821
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011, Florida Atlantic University. The copyright
of the contributions contained within this publication is reserved to the authors.
Deposited On: 15 May 2015 00:59
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2016 22:11

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