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Winning from Second - International research paper

The Committee for Geelong (CfG) released its international research paper "Winning From Second: What Geelong Can Learn From International Second Cities" on 23 November 2016. The paper was compiled with the assistance of the United Nations Global Compact - Cities Programme and RMIT's Centre for Urban Research, and with support from the Commonwealth Bank.

The Plan Melbourne Refresh Discussion Paper recommends that Geelong be formally recognised as Victoria's second city, and that proposals for accelerated growth be included in the plan.  To support wider Government policy thinking on second cities, the CfG undertook an international study tour to broaden its research on 'Second Cities' a nd gain first hand insight into how cities across Europe and the United States of America have achieved significant change and transformation following the decline of their previous main industries.

Click the image below to read the full report.


CfG Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Casson says the research provides Geelong with significant direction to guide the transformation of the city's economy, and further drive the future vision and strategic plan.

"Geelong is Victoria's second city and proudly so. But second does not mean second best or second place; it means Geelong enjoys all of the benefits of being within arm's reach of Melbourne but free from the constraints of big city living."

"We visited cities with similar histor y and fabric as Geelong, meaning non-capital cities that have had to reinvent themselves following the loss of their prime economies, in most cases manufacturing."

"We met with the cities' leaders and the communities to better understand how different groups worked together to form their city's new identity and facilitate growth, and we believe there are some key learnings that can be applied to Geelong" said Ms Casson.

Michael Nolan, Chair of the United Nations Global Compact - Cities Programme said, "The overarching recommendation of the "Winning from Second" report is for Geelong to engage in the development of a second city policy with the Victorian and Federal Governments.  This research highlights that there are significant benefits to be gained from a greater policy focus on these types of cities."

Professor Jago Dodson, Director of the Centre of Urban Research, RMIT University said, "While focussing on Geelong, this research demonstrates the need for greater policy and planning attention to be given to second cities in Australia, which international experience demonstrates can be leaders in economic transformation."

Each city produced valuable insights, and the research shows a number of recurring themes of value to Geelong's transformation:

  1. Prioritising industry sectors based on inherent strengths of the city such as Medicine and Social Insurance through a new #EMSI cluster; Green and Blue Economic Development through a newly created 'Turquoise Economy'; Tertiary Education specialisation; and further international engagement by developing Port and Logistics

  2. A co-ordinated approach to economic development and planning through an overarching "One Geelong" entity;

  3. Branding of Geelong including; differentiating from major cities, as a place to live and invest; Offering high quality of life through waterfront developments, food, arts and culture, sport and revitalised city centres. 

  4. Supporting innovation, entrepreneursand existing businesses to scale up;

Ms Casson said "Looking at these 'Second Cities' we have learned that, to move forward, Geelong needs to further analyse its strongest industry sectors - such as technology, health and education - and increase its support to facilitate more growth in those areas."

"Eindhoven in the Netherlands is an interesting example for this - once a working class industrial city and home of lightbulb and technology giant Philips, the city now delivers 19 per cent of the Netherlands' research and development projects.

"Philips owned a significant portion of the town's buildings and employed almost half of its inhabitants. In the 1990s Phillips moved its headquarters to Amsterdam and outsourced most of its production to China, and Eindhoven faced an immense challenge to reinvent itself and find opportunities for more than 35,000 workers who had lost their jobs. Today, Eindhoven is a high-tech hub with a strong focus on nanotechnology, robotics, green technology and precision engineering," she said.

"Richmond, Virginia, was a great example of how a city had rebranded itself, which is another recommendation that Geelong can learn from the research - and there are many more, including attracting more start-ups and entrepreneurs to Geelong and building an infrastructure that increases productivity and allows for scale.

"Lifestyle and amenity is another big point, Geelong needs to continue to showcase itself as a fantastic place to live, with plenty of entertainment, leisure, culture and retail attractions, inviting more people to settle in Geelong" Ms Casson concludes.

Josh Mitchell, Area Manager - South West Victoria, Commonwealth Bank said "It is very satisfying to see from this research that Geelong is very much on track, and it is exciting to take inspiration from other 'Second Cities' all over the world to continue our city's journey.  We look forward to continuing to work with the CfG as it collaborates with other members and partners to identify ways to implement some of the learnings for our city."

The international study tour included the following cities:

  • Dundee, Scotland

  • Eindhoven, the Netherlands

  • USA: Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia;

  • England: Sheffield, Liverpool, Bristol;

The 'Second City' research was supported by the Commonwealth Bank as the Lead Research Partner of the project, together with other partners including; the Victorian State Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the City of Greater Geelong, Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Executive Travel Management, Geelong Port, The Gordon, Lovely Banks Land Owners' Consortium, Victorian Regional Channels Authority, Tract Consultants and Opteon Property Group.




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