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On 4 August 2017, as part of its Social Enterprise Organisation, URaP International hosted a visit to the office with lunch for the Japan Club of Sydney, Rainbow Project (; Australian Charity Registration CFN/21857). The project brings to Australia young Japanese students who lost one or both parents during the 11 March, 2011 tsunami that hit the coast of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures of north-east Japan. Both Kam Tara and John Black were in Tokyo at the time that the earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan, attending a joint meeting of Australian and Japanese consultants.

Rainbow Project
Rainbow Project

On 4 July, John Black was invited by the Department of Infrastructure, Melbourne University to attend the Efficient Facilitation of Major Infrastructure Projects Research Forum – a project in association with the University of Indonesia. He is working with Professor Danang Parikesit, Universitas Gadjah Madah, on port hinterlands and infrastructure access issues. A workshop in Jakarta is planned for late September 2017.

Kam Tara met the Executive Director of Strategic Lifecycle Infrastructure Management (SLIM), Dr Masaki Arioka, in Tokyo in late June to discuss plans to host a SLIM delegation to Australia in November 2017. In Kobe, he met with Kobe City Council to discuss flood evacuation procedures and its signage systems.

In April, John took up an advisory position at Southern Cross University as an Adjunct Professor to the Dean of Engineering in the School of Environment, Science and Engineering with specific role to develop academic collaboration with Japanese universities. As part of these duties he was the academic-in-charge of 10 undergraduate students who spent from 18-30 June in Japan as part of their internship program funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under its New Colombo Plan initiative to encourage more interaction between Australian students and the wider geographical region of Asia. The trip involved visits to Japanese Universities, research laboratories and industry together with a cultural program.

From March 14 to March 25, with Dr Hitomi Nakanishi, Associate Professor at the University of Canberra, John undertook research in Takamatsu City, Shikoku Island, Japan on typhoon-generated wave inundation of coastal areas and community awareness and evacuation preparedness of disasters. This research is partly funded by a grant to the University of Canberra by Urban Research and Planning International as part of its Social Enterprise Organisation.

Takamatsu Castle and Town During the early Edo Period of Japan and Flood-Prone Lands (Top Left)

Flooded Area (in red) of Takamatsu City by the 23rd Typhoon, 2004
(Source: Kagawa University, 2004. With data from City of Takamatsu)

Whilst in Japan, John gave a research seminar at Kobe University, Institute for Marine Sciences, Fukae-Minami-machi on 28 June on urban flooding and disaster management, including the problems of the recent flooding of Lismore following tropical cyclone Debbie in late March 2017.

cyclone Debbie

Kam Tara attended a research workshop on 8 May hosted by UNSW Research Centre for Transport Innovation on the Moorebank Inter-modal Terminal and its traffic and environmental impacts when servicing containers to and from Port Botany. He is on the international steering committee to collaborate on freight and logistics with UNSW, Southern Cross University, Kobe University and Chalmers University of Technology.

John Black was invited by MISTRA Urban Futures to give a public lecture on "Sustainable Cities – Case Studies of Accessibility, Green Infrastructure & Equity" that was video recorded at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden, on 9 February 2017.

Whilst in Gothenburg, John was interviewed by the World Wildlife Foundation who are making a documentary program on sustainable transport in cities.

Oxford University: From late December 2016 to the end of February 2017, Professor John Black was an academic visitor to the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Transport Studies Unit (TSU). Apart from assisting in the supervision of the newly arrived doctoral research students he undertook research into organisational change in the various institutions associated with transport. He gave a research seminar on 14 February that applied competing theories to a case study of Japan – seaports from archaic times to the end of the Tokugawa era. The presentation can be found at:


URaP Social Enterprise Organisation: URaP, as part of its social enterprise organisation (SEO) is funding a research project through the University of Canberra, and led by Associate Professor Hitomi Nakanishi, that is exploring community knowledge and government communication strategies before and during disasters, such as cyclones and typhoons. The city of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku was chosen as a case study given the frequency of typhoons sweeping across the Seto Inland Sea – typically around 25 each year – and the fact that some areas do not have a disaster management plan in place. Professor Black attended site inspections of low elevations in the city and attended interviews with key stakeholders. Further research into evacuation route modelling using MATSim is planned in June 2017 in association with Kagawa University who are providing the flood impacts through a simulation of tides and waves generated by severe typhoons.

7 July 2016: Kam Tara visited the Futures City Laboratory in Singapore to continue collaboration on smart cities and on agent-based modeling.

July 2016: URaP International committed money and in-kind contribution as part of its social enterprise organization to the University of Canberra for a research grant into social capital formation in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan – a town devastated by the tsunami of 11 March, 2011.

20 - 22 June: Kam Tara was invited to chair the International Conference on Sustainable Civil Engineering with the theme “Innovations in Sustainable Civil Engineering” in Cape Town, South Africa, and presented a paper “Smart City Design Principles for Transit Oriented Development” by Kam Tara, John Black and Jimyoung Lee.

9 June, 2016: URaP International is pleased to announce that Miss Zhai graduated from the University of New South Wales with the masters in Civil Engineering.

May 2016: URaP International were part of a successful consortium that were awarded a three-year contract by the World Bank to deliver a Road Safety Education and Awareness Program for the PWD Zone – Udaipur, State of Rajasthan, India.

April 2016: Kam Tara attended the Sustainable Development of Civil, Urban and Transportation Engineering Conference in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam and presented a paper that was published as John Black, Kam Tara and Parisa Pakzad “Planning and Design Elements for Transit Oriented Developments/ Smart Cities: Examples of Cultural Borrowings”, in Procedia Engineering, Vol. 142, pp. 2-9.

April 2016: Dr John Black joined URaP as Director, Infrastructure Planning, with a role on staff development and quality assurance and to establish a social enterprise organization within URaP International.

16 March, 2016: John Black gave a presentation to the Australia-Japan Society New South Wales Branch on volunteering in Japan following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku Region of Japan.

22 February, 2016: John Black was asked by the Board of Audit Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan to give a presentation and answer questions on Australian infrastructure development and financing.

15 October, 2015: URaP hosted a delegation from Makassar, Indonesia, where Kam Tara spoke about smart cities and John Black described Australian experience with infrastructure project financing and PPP.

September 2015: Kam Tara chaired "Eco Cities and Smart Cities" session and presented a paper on "An Overview of Smart City Elements associated with the Urban Environment at Transport Nodes" at 5th Low Carbon Earth Summit -2015 at Xian, China.

April 2015: John Black collected data from the Osaka and Kobe port authorities on ship visits as a basis of estimating greenhouse gas emissions from ports as part of an international comparative study of the environmental impacts of seaports.

March 2015: John Black undertook site inspections of green road infrastructure projects in Pilsen, Chicago, Emeryville, California and San Francisco. The results of this work and other research led to the publication by John Black, Kam Tara and Parisa Pakzad on “Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure Elements into the Design of Public Road Reserves: Challenges for Road Authorities” in the International Journal of Environmental Protection.

November, 8-9, 2014: John Black spoke to a paper “Invited Panelist on Concepts and Approaches of Smart and Low-carbon Cities – An Australian Perspective”, at the China International Forum on Sustainable Urban Development, Guangzhou, The People’s Republic of China, Langham Place, Organised by the National Development Reform Commission, China Center for Urban Development.

May 2014 - Japan: URaP met a number of representatives from Japanese companies and experts to maintain and establish further areas of cooperation.

February 2014 – Japan Study Tour: URaP study team undertook a study tour of major Japan Railway Stations and Special Economic Zones. The main thrust of the study tour was to observe, record and discuss various aspects of station planning and special economic zones in order to understand site accessibility and functional characteristics.

February 2014 - Osaka University: Prof Black from Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW and Dr Tara (URaP) presented a seminar at Osaka University on Environmental Adaptation of Roads and their frontages.

February 2014: URaP completed a contribution plan (cost allocation assessment) for Medowie Town Centre – Access and Transport.

November 2013 - Bali: Dr Tara was invited as a guest speaker to present a paper on Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Urban Development in International Forum on SEZ Sharing Experiences.