EIANZ 2024 Nature Positive Cities Symposium

EIANZ 2024 Nature Positive Cities Symposium

The benefits of Nature Positive Cities can be far-reaching for the economy, health, social wellbeing and biodiversity.

Urban environments designed with nature front of mind have been shown to lead to increased property values, a reduction in crime, better social inclusion, and improved mental and physical wellbeing. They can also reduce air pollution, make spaces more habitable through urban cooling, and cut down on heating and cooling costs. Of course, Nature Positive Cities also provide improved natural habitats for local fauna and refuges for threatened species.

Our cities still co-exist with a diverse range of threatened flora and fauna. Many cities in our region also face significant water supply challenges, pollution, and a loss of connection to nature. Meanwhile, Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet yet has seen an alarming rate of species loss in the last 240 years.

At a global level, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2023 Synthesis Report found that human-induced climate change has had ‘adverse impacts on human health, livelihoods and key infrastructure’. These impacts are most severe in urban and suburban areas. Cities have had a huge influence on the decline in biodiversity and changes in climate. Can they also be the epicentre of positive change and recovery?

In this context, the EIANZ 2024 Nature Positive Cities Symposium seeks to move beyond debates that assume a dichotomy between economy or environment, housing or habitat, and progress or plants by promoting nuanced discussion on how we can build, plan, design and live in our urban centres.

The Symposium will explore what is needed to improve delivery of Nature Positive Cities and develop a communiqué in the lead up to the Global Nature Positive Summit.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Defining ‘Nature Positive’ and avoiding greenwashing
  • Benefits of a nature positive city and how we measure them
  • Embracing First Nations knowledge of Nature Positive
  • Overcoming obstacles to Nature Positive Cities
  • Where does nature positive fit in strategic urban planning and design
  • Financing Nature Positive
  • Urban ecology in practice

Professionals from any field with an interest in urban ecology are encouraged to join us at this timely symposium.

Introducing our keynote speakers

We are delighted to announce Dr. Lena Chan and Rob Stokes as our keynote speakers for the 2024 Nature Positive Cities Symposium! As leaders in their fields, our keynotes have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with delegates at this timely Symposium.

Dr Lena Chan is an ecologist with over forty years of experience in biodiversity conservation. Dr. Chan played a pivotal role in setting up the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, co-authored the Handbook on the Singapore Index on Cities' Biodiversity and was the Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Commission on BiodiverCities by 2030.

Read Lena's biography →

Rob Stokes is an urbanist and recognised thought leader on sustainable urban development. Currently serving on the Australian Government Urban Policy Forum and as Chair of Faith Housing Australia, as well as Interim Chair of Net Zero Cities CRC and on the Advisory Board for the UNSW Cities Institute, Rob was Australia's first ever minister for Active Transport, and first ever Minister for Public Spaces, both with the NSW Government.

Read Rob's biography →

Introducing our plenary speakers

  • Nick Thomas | Partner at Clayton UTZ
  • Dr Judy Bush | Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning at University of Melbourne
  • Jenny Garden | Principal Consultant - Liveable Cities Lead at Edge Environmental
  • Daisy Hessenberger PhD | Global Subject Matter Expert - Nature & Biodiversity at Arcadis Europe
  • Jean Marc-Hero | Natural Areas Planning Officer at Gold Coast City Council and Adjunct Professor at University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Professor Sarah Bekessy | Sustainability and Urban Planning at RMIT
  • Paul Himberger | Sustainability & Research Manager at Landcom
  • Heleni Pantelidou | Infrastructure Engineer and Low Carbon Specialist and Associate Director at ARUP
  • Anthony Bennie | Division Head, Nature Finance and Markets at DCCEEW
  • Zoe Avery | Director at The Urbanist Ltd I Associate Director of Design (Urban Planning) at the University of Auckland
  • Peter Davies | Director Master of Sustainable Development at Macquarie University
  • Steve Ford | Head of Sustainability at the GPT Group
  • Lucy Friend | Environment Manager at Cairns Airport & Ashlyn Skeene | Yirrganydji Land and Sea Ranger.

Registrations are now open!

The EIANZ 2024 Nature Positive Symposium will include two days of technical content including keynote speakers, plenary sessions, panel sessions and abstract presentations. At the end of Day One, there will be a networking cocktail event from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. This is included in your registration.

Registration rates

EIANZ member $660
EIANZ Student member $180
Non-members $860

* This is an all inclusive registration fee charged in AUD including GST. For those wishing to receive a tax invoice for payment please contact

Register here →

Not an EIANZ member?

Consider joining as a student, associate or full member today! To receive the member rate to the symposium make sure you apply for membership prior to registering for the event! Join here →

Sponsorship Opportunities

EIANZ’s Nature Positive Cities Symposium will advance the field of urban ecology by fostering discussion on the latest research, policy, and practice. The Symposium will bring together planners, architects, ecologists, natural resource managers, landscapers, local government, and others that play an important role in shaping our cities.

Benefits of sponsorship include:
• Demonstrates commitment to best practice environmental outcomes
• Demonstrates commitment to 'early career environmental professionals and their career development
• Direct access to a captive audience of your potential future customers and /or workforce
• Exposure to local, national, and potentially international delegates
• Opportunity for broad exposure to delegates

View the sponsorship prospectus →

Important Dates

Call for papers open Friday 15 December 2023
Call for papers close Monday 22 January 2024
Abstract acceptance notification Monday 29 January 2024
Presenter registration deadline Wednesday 14 February 2024
Registrations open Friday 15 December 2023
EIANZ 2024 Nature Positive Cities Symposium Tuesday 26 March - Wednesday 27 March 2024

View the symposium flyer →

CPD Points

Thank you to our generous Networking Event Sponsor.

To view additional sponsorship packages, please view the Sponsorship Prospectus.

Event details

When: 26 & 27 March 2024

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
140 George St, The Rocks, NSW

Cost: $660 EIANZ members, $180 EIANZ student members, $780 Non-members (AUD)

Contact: EIANZ -, +61 3 8593 4140, +64 9887 6972