Bond University Postgraduate student Stephen Knight has been awarded the Planning Institute of Australia Minister’s Prize for Research after having recently graduated with a Master of Urban Planning from the Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture.
Stephen’s research focuses on the National Broadband Network and its effect on regional and urban communities. Stephen, now a Bond University Alumni, hopes that his research can assist local councils throughout Queensland and Australia with preparations for the implementation of The National Broadband Network, both in regional and urban areas.
“My research, titled ‘Delivering the Digital Region’, undertakes a review of key literature to identify the major factors that will influence the capacity of rural Australia to take advantage of the National Broadband Network [NBN] to achieve what I have termed ‘regional digital growth’, and to consider their implications for planners and rural communities alike,” he said.
“Likewise, given that all local councils will soon be directly impacted by the NBN — if not already — this research provides a pragmatic approach to support councils in assessing their current digital capabilities, and then in planning their further development and deployment in the form of ‘regional digital growth plans’.”
The Planning Institute of Australia Student Prizes were presented by the Assistant Minister for Planning Reform, Rob Molhoek MP as part of the launch of the 27th Annual Queensland Planning Excellence Awards at Parliament House on 8 May, 2013.
The judging panel from the Planning Institute of Australia noted Stephen’s high degree of originality in the proposition explored in his analysis, and its practical relevance to the case study region.
Bond University Associate Professor Daniel O’Hare says that Stephen’s research has already been well received by government and industry professionals. “Stephen has had invitations to speak to intersectoral industry groups at two councils in Queensland’s regions,” he said. “During the research, Stephen has become well connected in national networks of planning, economic development and IT professionals interested in maximising the return to regions from the rollout of the NBN.”