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Can your students address the urban crisis and make cities more livable in Big Australia?

Recent estimates suggest that Australia could hit a population of 30 million by 2029, 40 million by 2050, and as many as 50 million by 2075. This projected increase has profound implications for life in our urban areas; population growth threatens to widen social and economic divides whilst creating massive infrastructure costs. In times of exponential growth, how can we create cities that are sustainable, liveable, and equitable? Your students have been tasked with the challenge of doing exactly this! In Big Australia, students must design and create a model or layout of a new town or suburb to maximise liveability and minimise its ecological footprint. They must then advertise their new town, using what they know about push-pull migration factors, to attract people to the area. Are they up to the Big Australia challenge?


Over 10-20 contact hours, students work in small teams through eduSTEM’s design thinking process to understand, design, and test a solution to this social challenge.

  • Phase 1: Discover: Students analyse urbanisation in the context of their city to identify a growth corridor for the creation of a new suburb. They identify and analyse the push and pull factors leading to international and internal migration towards their proposed urban area. Finally, students draw upon a range of case studies to examine the risks that migration poses to the liveability and sustainability of their city.

  • Phase 2: Create: Students must identify design features of their new suburb to ensure it is sustainable and can cater to an increasing population. These features are then built into the new suburb through the creation of a town plan. Finally, students must storyboard and create an advertising campaign to promote their new town to internal and international migrants

  • Phase 3: Share: Finally, students present their new town in an urban planning showcase to find out who has created the most liveable, sustainable city!


Big Australia can be used to both teach and assess the following curriculum point and General Capabilities:


  • Students assess the causes and consequences of urbanisation in relation to their home city (GE5-2/ACHGK054)

  • Students explore internal and international migration patterns to their city and identify the key push-pull factors (GE5-5/ACHGK056-057)

  • Students develop strategies to enhance the future sustainability of their city in the face of increasing urbanisation through the redesign of a suburb and an advertising campaign to promote it to migrants (GE5-7/ACHGK059)

General Capabilities

  • Creative and Critical Thinking:

○ Inquiring, identifying, exploring and organizing information and ideas

○ Generating ideas, possibilities and actions

○ Analysing, synthesizing, evaluating, reasoning and procedures

○ Reflecting on thinking and processes

  • Personal and Social Capability:

○ Self-awareness

○ Social awareness

○ Social management

○ Self-management

  • Intercultural Understanding:

○ Interacting and empathizing with others

○ Reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility

○ Recognizing culture and developing respect

Interesting in incorporating Big Australia as a module in your Geography class for 2020? Contact a PBL Program Coordinator here

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