An artist's impression of Curtin's Bentley campus redevelopment.

Curtin University has been awarded $500,000 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living to set up “a node of excellence in research into the low carbon built environment”, which will focus on its Greater Curtin Master Plan and be led by the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute’s Professor Peter Newman.

The grant will fund five PhD scholarships to research green innovation for the master plan, which was awarded Australia’s first 5 Star Green Star – Communities rating earlier this year.

“The Greater Curtin Master Plan aims to rebuild the Curtin campus as a city of innovation,” Curtin vice-chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said.

“Central to this is the notion of it being a model of low carbon development as well as enabling research and development to be built into every feature of the building process.”

Professor Newman said CUSP would develop detailed plans and projects in partnership with Curtin’s planners, the private sector, local and state government, the local community, and staff and students.

“The vision of the node is to extend Curtin’s work in low carbon living through a focus on regenerative cities and regions,” he said.

Developing tools for predicting low carbon outcomes from built environment projects would be key.

“The application of these tools will help other precinct-scale developments to use the latest innovations in low carbon, high-performance buildings, infrastructure, and land development processes,” Professor Newman said.

China partnership to research “next generation cities”

Curtin University also announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with colleagues at China’s Chongqing University to lead a new urban sustainability initiative on next generation cities.

n addition to the MOU, titled Development of Research Collaboration in the Field of Sustainable and Smart Cities of the Future – Next Generation Cities, the two universities have established a joint research laboratory to study new construction technologies.

The collaboration will focus on five themes: sustainability, mega-projects, industrialisation, policy and building information modelling.

Curtin pro-vice chancellor Professor Majella Franzmann said the university was delighted to be collaborating with one of China’s top universities.

“The Australasian Joint Research Centre for Building Information Modelling, which was established and is directed by Professor Xiangyu Wang, is one of the leading centres in Australia,” Professor Franzmann said.

“This collaboration will not only benefit both universities’ research innovation, but also the wider community.”

CQU executive vice president Professor Zhang Siping said the partnership would be a great contribution to the development of China’s urbanisation.

“As a key university in China, the collaboration with Curtin will contribute to the enhancement of scientific research, technical innovation and sustainable development of both universities,” Professor Zhang said.

“It could be helpful to the transformation from a pattern of urbanisation to sustainable and smart cities in China.”