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From the Gold Coast to Geelong: how cities are shaping visions of their futures

Colin Russo writes in The Conversation (29.11.16) about recent initiatives which see regional cities, including some on Queensland’s Gold and Sunshine Coasts, involve industry professionals and local communities in shaping long-term visions for city development.

‘“Our Future”, a year-long consultation process about a long-term vision for the City of Geelong, has begun. City of Greater Geelong CEO Kelvin Spiller engaged the first UNESCO chair of futures studies, Sohail Inayatullah, to kick-start the project in September.

‘Spiller, who has produced outcomes for city visioning initiatives on the Sunshine Coast, describes Our Future as a process of “presenting new perceptions, future directions, identifying used futures and new scenarios”. In a rapidly changing world, citizens use scenario thinking to gain insights into how cities can create alternative possibilities and solutions.

‘… An outcome of Gold Coast’s 2037 vision is its Health and Knowledge Precinct. The 200-hectare site has generated more than A$5 billion in investment and is now linked by light rail to the city’s tourism centres.

‘Spiller noted that Geelong’s Our Future is continuing a 175-year process of reinvention. He hailed transformational metaphors that saw the city as more than a technology hub, potentially providing a deep commitment to networking to create a Silicon Valley. These have led to visions of transforming from a “resort city” to a “city of health and wellness”, from an “industrial, agricultural city” to a creative lifestyle, and from a “sleepy hollow” to an “emerging and sustainable city”.’

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