QUT Design Lab experts available for comment on COP27

3rd November 2022

The COP27 climate summit, which begins in Egypt this week, will again focus the world’s attention on the global threat from climate change, with nature, food, water, industry decarbonisation and climate adaption identified as key issues.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in the lead up to the conference, has delivered the timely and urgent reminder that no country and no economy is immune from the climate crisis.

“We are in a life-or-death struggle for our own safety today and our survival,” Mr Guterres said.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Research Integrity) Professor Kerrie Wilson said QUT’s vision for a sustainable world was to move to a low carbon future and reduce activities that result in greenhouse gas emissions.

“QUT is responding to the climate emergency on every front – through our research and teaching programs and the way we manage our campuses and operations,” Professor Wilson said.

‘We’re investigating climate impacts and solutions through research centres focused on areas ranging from clean energy, agriculture and the environment to justice and health law.

“Our Sustainability Action Plan outlines the many actions we are taking across 13 domains, including carbon, energy, transport, waste, the built environment and climate adaptation and resilience.

“We teach a wide range of climate-related subjects, including climate science, environmental science, engineering, health, law, economics and policy, sustainable design, corporate social responsibility and disaster management.”

Smart cities, sustainability and “more-than-human” design

Professor Marcus Foth is the leader of the QUT More-than-Human Futures research group, which looks at the complex interrelationships between humans and non-human others (such as animals and plants, as well as soil, rivers, data and sensors). He also founded the Urban Informatics Research Lab in 2006 and the QUT Design Lab in 2016.

Professor Foth has focussed on the philosophical and societal issues and challenges of sustainability.

His work has looked at smart and sustainable cities, and how they are responding to climate change, rapid urbanisation, pandemics, as well as innovations in technologies such as blockchain, media architecture and the Internet of Things.

He strongly argues for the importance of a humanities, arts, social science perspective in sustainability discourse.

Young Planners and Climate Change

QUT PhD student Nicholas Kamols, the 2022 Australian Young Planner of the Year, is attending the United Nations’ COP27 summit as part of the Australian Youth Delegation, in a bid to promote better climate strategies in Australia.

Mr Kamols is the co-founder of PowerWells, a company that repurposes lithium-ion batteries – diverting waste from landfill – and pairs them with solar panels to provide renewable energy to off-the-grid communities in Indonesia.

He said town planners were well suited to contribute to tackling the global challenge of climate change with their focus on cities and the built environment, and he aimed to bring a number of climate mitigation strategies and approaches to climate-positive design to a number of luminaries on the world stage.

This is particularly timely, as the Brisbane 2032 Olympics are contracted by the IOC to be climate-positive. Mr Kamols has written about this in a new 2022 book chapter: “The promise of the first climate-positive Olympics for regenerative cities.”

Mr Kamols is a town planner who worked in local government and private practice before returning to QUT in 2019 where he graduated with a Master of Philosophy in urban informatics.

He is doing his PhD with the QUT Design Lab, where he investigates the formational and operational processes of virtual built environments in the open metaverse. His studies are supported by ARUP.



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