Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Submitted Version.

O'Hare, D., Bajracharya, B., & Khanjanasthiti, I. (2012). Transforming the tourist city into a knowledge and healthy city: Reinventing Australia's Gold Coast. Paper presented at the 7th international forum of Knowledge, innovation and sustainability: Integrating micro and macro perspectives (IFKAD-KCWS 2012). 13- 15 June, 2012. Matera: Italy.

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2012 HERDC submission. FoR code: 120500

© Copyright Institute of Knowledge Asset Management, 2012


Purpose – With rapid growth of Australia’s Gold Coast into a tourist consumption city (Mullins 2008) of half a million people, Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) seeks to diversify the city’s economy, lifestyle and culture. This paper investigates this transformation by reviewing policies, projects and programs arising from GCCC visions of a healthy city benefiting from knowledge based urban development (KBUD) (Yigitcanlar et al., 2008). Secondly, the paper aims to identify opportunities and challenges in developing the emerging cosmopolitan city as a knowledge and healthy city. The paper focuses not only on larger knowledge and health nodes along major highways but also investigates the potential for developing a network of smaller nodes with active transport, thus providing a more holistic and integrated perspective for long term sustainability of the city and region.

Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on documentary research of secondary materials such as government policy documents and plans relating to economic development, major infrastructure projects, urban design and community planning. The documentary research is supplemented by spatial analysis including field visits to the major and minor knowledge/health nodes in their urban/suburban contexts.

Originality/value – Much of the literature on knowledge based urban development (KBUD) has a stronger focus on larger metropolitan cities. However, this paper focuses on a smaller non-metropolitan city thus giving insights into how principles and practices of KBUD operate at a smaller scale. The paper also makes closer links between KBUD and healthy cities initiatives than is evident in much of the existing literature.

Practical implications – The findings of paper will have practical application for Gold Coast City Council in providing critical review to inform a strengthening of the Council’s current policies and programs on knowledge precincts, health hubs and urban health. The lessons from this paper will also be relevant for other cities and towns developing knowledge and healthy city initiatives, particularly those cities currently based on tourism and car dependency.