Level 3 Mortlock Wing State Library of South Australia North Terrace Adelaide SA 5000
Andrew Beer 2022

Monthly Lecture

Solving Intractable Problems: Geography and the Grand Challenges of our Time

Professor Andrew Beer

This presentation of the RGSSA's Annual Brock lecture is being held in conjunction with the 2024 Institute of Australian Geographer's Conference.

In common with other parts of the world, Australia is increasingly confronted by profound challenges that place at risk our economies, social structures and cultural assets, as well as the environmental systems that sustain us individually and collectively. Examples include the on-going need to manage the impacts of climate change and limit global warming; an acute housing crisis that has seen dwelling prices and rents surge, locking many out of the home purchase market and consigning the most vulnerable to an expensive and insecure rental sector; growing and entrenched inequality; the loss of biodiversity as a consequence of unfettered development; the structural ageing of the population in the global north even as parts of the global south continue to experience high growth rates; and, a global economy increasingly affected by adverse events and tensions between states. This presentation considers the role of geography in identifying and enacting solutions to these dilemmas. It argues that existing policy measures either fail or have limited impact as they seek to establish a uniform set of interventions, irrespective of local conditions or needs. In addition, they overlook the resources embedded within a region or community, despite the fact they could represent the difference between success or failure. The presentation draws upon the literatures relating to socio-technical transitions and change agency to consider how geography represents an opportunity for experimentation and learning, while also opening an avenue for mobilising local capacity. The paper concludes with a call for the development of place-informed policy and programs as a way of mapping innovative solutions to apparently intractable problems.

Andrew Beer's research interests include the operation and functioning of Australia’s housing markets (including the provision of housing for persons with a disability), the drivers of regional growth, structural change within the economy, and the impacts of an ageing population. He is currently undertaking research in four major areas: the outcomes of the closure of the Australian automotive industry; the cross-national analysis of the leadership of places; the quality and condition of Australia's housing stock; and the use of services and housing by Australia's ageing population. Currently, he is collaborating with Professor Markku Sotarauta of Tampere University, Finland as a joint editor on the Handbook of City and Regional Leadership (Edward Elgar) and is in the process of completing a Policy Expo for the Regional Studies Association on place-based policy.

Andrew Beer is the Executive Dean of UniSA Business. He comes to this role after working previously as the Dean of Research and Innovation, at the UniSA Business School. Prior to commencing with UniSA in 2016, Andrew worked at The University of Adelaide and Flinders University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Adelaide and a PhD from the ANU

Professor Beer has served as a Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Ulster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of North Texas. He was the Chair of the South Australian Government’s Homelessness Strategic Group from 2011 to 2017 and is a Fellow of the Regional Australia Institute. He served on the College of Experts for the Australian Research Council and is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Beer was Chair of the Regional Studies Association from November 2013 to November 2017.

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Date and Time

2 July 2024
5:00 pm

The University of Adelaide, Napier Building, Room G04

Members: $Free
Non members: $