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Formidable challenges confront Australia and its human settlements: the mega-metro regions, major and provincial cities, coastal, rural and remote towns. The key drivers of change and major urban vulnerabilities have been identified in the 2006 Australia State of Environment Report as well as several other national-level reports (Sustainable Cities 2005). Principal among them are a resource-constrained world (oil, water, food, skilled labour, materials) and a carbon-constrained world (linked to climate change and a need to transition to renewable energy) - both of which will strongly shape urban development this century compared to the last.
This book seeks to clearly identify 21st century challenges to Australia's cities and regions that flow from these global influences and identify potential solutions to these critical problems and vulnerabilities. The solutions will require fundamental transitions in many instances: to our urban infrastructures, to our institutions and perhaps most of all to ourselves in terms of our lifestyle activities and consumption patterns.