The Conversation has expanded its Australian editorial team with the creation of a new editorial role covering Cities + Policy. John Watson, who was previously Politics + Society Editor, has taken on the role while Amanda Dunn, formerly of The Age and The Sunday Age, is now heading up the Politics + Society team.
The decision to create a role focusing on cities reflects the growing importance of urban policy. Cities house 54% of the world’s people and generate 70% of global GDP. By 2050, two in every three people are likely to live in cities. This means cities are both the greatest pressure points and the sites where solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges must be found and implemented.
The Conversation’s mission is to explore such issues in depth. In Australia, nearly 90% of the population lives in urban areas. Our cities are experiencing most of the strains of growth and the many problems, but also opportunities, this throws up.
This is a global discussion, which this year is building to a major global summit in October, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Better known as Habitat III, it is the third in a series that began in 1976. It’s the first time in 20 years that representatives of the world’s nations have sat down to collectively take stock of global urban trends and impacts.
The goal of Habitat III is to “reinvigorate” the global political commitment to the sustainable development of human settlements. The Conversation Australia and our colleagues in the UK, US, Africa, France and Indonesia aim to be part of this process.