How do we ensure that our cities tread with lighter footprints? How do we balance between the needs of expanding urban areas and the regions on their fringe? How do we improve the health and happiness of our city-dwellers?
These are just some of the questions with which our researchers have been grappling as RMIT celebrates our 124th anniversary.
Professor Margaret Gardner AO Vice-Chancellor and President, RMIT University
Life on the edge When you think of threatened species and endangered eco systems, you think of exotic animals in lush jungles or flora in remote pristine wilderness. In reality, 50 per cent of threatened species and 40 per cent of threatened ecosystems are in urban fringe zones.
Skilling time It seemed a perfect opportunity to reskill a workforce and keep a local economy alive. A Welsh steel factory was closing down, just at the time when Professor Peter Fairbrother was in the UK working on transition plans for the European steel industry. But instead, the one-size-fits-all efforts of the local authorities became the perfect example of well-meant ineptitude.
Islands to treasure Taihu three treasures consist of silver-fish, white shrimps and crabs. These delicacies are plentiful in China's third-largest freshwater lake, Taihu.
18-carrot gold (Consuming passions) We've grown up with the idea of the city-country divide. The city provides us with products and services. The country's job is to look pretty and keep the city fed. Food comes from paddocks, right? Well, yes and no. In the past few years the story has become a tad more complicated
Block busters (Green Concrete) Many of us are unaware that for such a ubiquitous building material, concrete is also damaging to our environment. The production of one tonne of its Portland cement component produces one tonne of carbon dioxide or CO2, and concrete accounts for 6 to 8 per cent of human-generated CO2.
Tread softly Local government areas are readily typecast. The City of Playford, north of Adelaide, is known as home to several of South Australia's largest industries. Manningham, north-east of Melbourne, on the other hand, is associated with bushland, river and creeks.
Future ideas, future cities How do you plan for a Chinese coastal city expected to expand sixty-fold, from 500,000 people to 30 million in 15 years? How do you accommodate its increasing population with rising sea levels?
Hay stacks up Working in adjacent RMIT labs nearly 20 years ago, newly appointed academic Trevor Stevenson and doctoral student Victoria Haritos were engaged in what on the surface seemed like separate research projects - on plants and insects respectively.
City of trust When you visit another city do you feel safe? Do you trust the new city as much as you trust your own? For Natalia Toledo, an artist from Oaxaca, Mexico, the first thing that she noticed about Australia was "trust". Trust in the streets and trust in places where people meet.
Cleaning up our act With land at a premium in Australia's largest cities, the last 10 to 15 years have seen an upsurge in the conversion of former industrial sites to residential use. Many industrial sites have contaminated soil and groundwater, requiring remediation before they can be approved for homes.
Here comes the sun One of the arguments against green power is that the supply isn't reliable enough to provide large amounts of power. Yet more and more consumers want to contribute to the electricity grid by installing solar panels.
Go on, treat yourself Diabetes is the nation's fastest growing chronic disease, with 3.3 million Australians expected to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes by 2031.
Trashing stereotypes Mountains of rubbish piled beside the road have marked the entrance to the Vila Chocolatão community for decades. The rubbish trails into the community, lining every street. But for those who live in Chocolatão, rubbish is also a means of survival.
Home, sustainable home Think of sustainable housing design, and you probably think of rainwater tanks and alternative energy. But when your home and community have been destroyed by natural or man-made disasters, a truly sustainable rebuilding project involves much more than eco-friendliness.
Star quality The 19th century bequeathed us the carbon economy. The wealth it generated also left us with a heritage of imposing architecture, of buildings big on grandeur and short on little luxuries - like efficient heating, cooling and use of water.
Wet and wild Tens of thousands of drivers on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway hurtle past each day, unaware they are passing within metres of one of the last natural billabongs along the Yarra River.