The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Cycling at UOW
The Wollongong Campus is a short ride away from Wollongong CBD and many surrounding suburbs. It can be quicker to ride a bike than drive to campus, particularly during peak periods of session. UOW provides CCTV-monitored Bike Bases where riders can lock up their bike and have access to shower facilities, change rooms and toilets. These facilities are free to use for staff and students. Two bike maintenance and repair stations are available on the Wollongong Campus with tools for basic repair and an air pump and a bike share program has been established for student residents.
Catching the shuttle bus to Wollongong campuses is free, easy and environmentally friendly. More than 25 per cent of UOW students, staff and visitors choose to catch one of three free shuttle bus services. Free parking is available for people carpooling and end of trip facilities for those using active transport to travel to campus, by cycling, walking and train. A Transport and Access Action Plan has been developed to establish priorities and tasks to be actioned over 2019-2021 specific to transport, parking and access to the Wollongong Campus. The Wollongong Campus Master Plan 2016-2036 sets targets to increase public transport and active transport journeys, and reduce parking demand and traffic congestion. The targets for 2020-2036 are 50% private transport, 32% public transport and 19% active transport.
Mind the age gap
This UOW research team plans to identify highly-frequented destinations for seniors in Wollongong such as the hospital, train stations and shops and more broadly, how public transport services affect older people’s social activities and wellbeing.
A clean air plan for Sydney
Air pollution is a significant health issue for Sydney that is projected to worsen with climate change and population growth. While Sydney’s air pollution levels are better than those of many comparable cities around the world, even low-level exposure to air pollutants can be a threat to people’s health. And as the recent summer demonstrated, the city can be subject to extreme air pollution from bushfires, dust storms and heat waves. Professor Clare Murphy, Director of the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, was lead author of A Clean Air Plan for Sydney. The Plan was published recently in a special edition of the journal Atmosphere on “Air Quality in New South Wales”. It provides a summary of the current understanding of air quality in the city, highlights from recent research, and makes evidence-based policy recommendations for reducing air pollution and people’s exposure to it.
Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space
Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS) is working to identify and analyse the place-based, multi-dimensional challenges and opportunities that emerge as environments, cities, economies and communities are differentially transformed across space and place. The centre explores how decision-making and action to address these challenges and opportunities can be imagined and enacted at multiple scales and across institutions and communities. ACCESS research projects are working towards a number of SDGs outlined in the 2021 ACCESS SDG Report.
Greenspaces at UOW
The UOW Campus is open to the public and provides habitat for a diverse range of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and forms a crucial part of the east-west wildlife corridor connecting the escarpment with the sea. The landscape is focused on maintaining the biodiversity values of the campus and creating a built environment that is designed to meet best practice design standards. The original UOW Campus Tree Walk was established in 1995 by the Janet Cosh Herbarium with the support of Campus Environment Management Committee and the Office of Community and Partnerships. There are now two walks developed to highlight the unique species and communities present in the Wollongong, Illawarra and South Coast regions, providing information on their botanical, historical and cultural significance.
Janet Cosh Herbarium
The Janet Cosh Herbarium is a repository for dried plant specimens collected from the Sydney, Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Tableland regions of NSW. The Herbarium provides information on the taxonomy, history, distribution and conservation of plant species within these regions. The staff are skilled in plant identification, taxonomy and ecology and these skills are used to teach, facilitate research and undertake consultancies. The holds over 1600 specimens and the collection continues to expand. The Herbarium's mission is to expand the knowledge of Australian floral diversity, provide a regional collection of botanical information, facilitate scientific research and teaching in botany and provide expertise in plant identification and the management of native vegetation.
Building resilient communities
Problems of social-injustice, economic disruption, geopolitical instability and environmental extremity amplify existing inequalities, and create additional patterns of vulnerability. Transformational change in thinking, policy, infrastructure and everyday practice will be necessary in order for communities to adapt and flourish. The Building Resilient Communities challenge within the UOW Global Challenges Program is improving inequality, discrimination and vulnerability within communities. This challenge supports research projects enhancing community resilience in an era of growing uncertainty.
Smart Cities for Understanding Living in Liverpool, NSW
Researchers from UOW are investigating the nature of public spaces in Liverpool that are used and enjoyed the most, enabling Liverpool City Council to design policies that will protect existing spaces that work well for residents and design new spaces that emulate or improve existing spaces.