Australia US Dialogue on Sustainable Cities

Global Reach:

Giuliano Takes Part in Australia, US Dialogue on Sustainable Cities

By Ben Dimapindan

Genevieve Giuliano

Genevieve Giuliano, senior associate dean for research and technology at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, led a panel discussion focusing on public transportation at the Australia-U.S. Dialogue on Sustainable Cities conference in Los Angeles on Jan. 19.

The event was part of G’Day USA: Australia Week – an annual program designed to promote Australian businesses and international relations – presented by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Qantas Airways, Tourism Australia and Austrade.

According to Giuliano, the sustainable cities conference is the academic portion of the promotional week. It featured presentations and panel sessions on critical topics such as energy efficiency, green business, land use, transportation and waste management.

Giuliano’s session, “Public Transport — Mass Transit and Long-Range Planning,” addressed how to develop, operate and fund an effective public transportation system. According to Giuliano, the panel examined a range of issues including:

  • How public transport infrastructure investments can be coordinated with urban development;
  • The role of local governments in promoting use of public transit;
  • Transit of the future — customized service and automation;
  • The challenge of regional planning in a fragmented decision-making environment.

Giuliano explained that mass transit in Australia contrasts markedly in comparison to Los Angeles.

“First, there is no metro region in Australia that comes close to the size and complexity of the L.A. region,” said Giuliano, director of the METRANS Transportation Center and holder of the Ferraro Chair in Effective Local Government at SPPD. “Second, Australia has more government control over urban development, and somewhat more restrictive policies towards the private vehicle. Therefore, public transport has a larger market than in the U.S.”

“However, public transport in Australia is also heavily dependent upon public subsidies,” she noted, “so it faces similar fiscal problems as transit here.”

Giuliano said she hopes her involvement in the conference will yield “better relationships with Australian sustainability researchers and practitioners, and visibility for USC, SPPD and the Center for Sustainable Cities.”

She added, “We are committed to ‘knowledge in action,’ which means taking part in events like this, communicating the research we conduct.”

Also, 12 SPPD students were granted special permission to attend the conference as guests of the Australians, Giuliano noted.

“This was a great opportunity for students to hear experts on a variety of urban sustainability topics, and to learn something about what Australia is doing in this area,” she said.

In addition, SPPD adjunct faculty member Katherine Perez, executive director of Urban Land Institute Los Angeles, participated in the session on land planning; and SPPD alumnus Greig Smith, L.A. City councilman, 12th district, and creator of the RENEW LA plan, was a panelist in the waste management session.