Alternative Futures Network a world-first collaboration that studies and promotes alternative modes of development beyond Carbon, Capital, and (extracted) Commodities with a focus on the prospects of urban development in Australian regional areas, particularly Hunter Region.
Officially launched in January 2018 at UON, the initiative pioneered in bringing the concept of "Future(s)" to the center of scholarly attention at the University. Exploring possible and more importantly, preferable socio-ecological futures is as important as studying the past and present trends of change. It widens the scope of research beyond the "critical scholarship" and transforms it into a "transformative", "proactivist", "genuinely interdisciplinary" and "morally conscientious" endeavor.
The team is uniquely comprised of experts from a broad range of disciplines who strongly share a common interest in contributing scholarly research to support the creation of a sustainable, inclusive future. The projects run by the network robustly correspond to the UON’s New Futures Plan (more particularly: Driving Global and Regional Impact, Engaging Across the Globe, and A Shared Future with our Communities). Aligned with The Centre for 21st Century Humanities, International Centre for Balanced Land Use (ICBLU), Global Newcastle Research Network, and supported by Common Alternatives Initiative; the network also plans to develop viable relationships with industry partners (such as, several leading regional/ national community organizations, councilors, and institutes) and overseas academic networks with the same agenda (such as the Next System Project based in the US), to explore robust solutions to complex regional/national problems and crises.
In August 2019, the network established a new Research Collaborative with the aim of establishing a Research Hub (AFRHub) in partnership with New Economy Network Australia (NENA).
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A foundational course for building economic systems that support ecological health and social justice