Research, Development and Innovation: The case of social housing in Mt Druitt, NSW

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Conference Proceeding
State of Australian Cities Conference SOAC 2011, 2011, pp. 1 - 12
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Cities must innovate to achieve liveable and sustainable urban futures. The role of academia has been significant to urban innovation partly because academia has become, to an extent, a R&D laboratory for the public sector. Furthermore, government agencies have increased partnership models to strengthen this relationship; however, there are still various gaps between public sector and academia. These gaps exclude significant tacit knowledge, experience and expertise of government agencies and the communities they serve and represent from the innovation process. This paper discusses the experience of the Winter School in bridging the gap between academia and the public sector. The Winter School is a course part of a partnership between a housing authority and two universities. This partnership addresses urban and community renewal in public housing estates in Mt Druitt, NSW. The Winter School is a collaborative design laboratory in which students from different design disciplines engage in explorations of an identified and concerning crime issue in Mt Druitt. The aim of the course is to generate design concepts that will be implemented in the real world. This course is based on the deep knowledge and understanding the housing authority has on local issues; and the outcomes often are innovative design concepts that invigorate their work. The Winter School integrates and engages the housing authority, students and academics into looking at issues from different perspectives. They move beyond the actual problem, and generate shared knowledge that focus on design solutions that emphasise on the liveability of the local community.
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