Funded Research Projects for 2016

"To support academic, professional and public debate through public lectures and the publication of research that can beneficially transform current practice and encourage inspirational thinking about how to better manage urban and regional development."


Including health and health equity in strategic land use planning in the Sydney area ($27,640)

Dr Patrick Harris,Dr Jennifer Kent, Professor Peter Sainsbury, Associate Professor Elizabeth Harris
Including health within strategic land use planning is under-researched, despite an unequivocal evidence base linking health outcomes with the built environment. This partnership project investigates the inclusion of health and health equity in three 'district' plans being developed and implemented under Sydney's metropolitan strategic planning framework. We will use established social science methods to unpack the ways in which the plans are made and developed, including collaboration between the planning and health systems arising through this process. The project provides a unique opportunity to further develop a translational partnership and interdisciplinary approach to policy research to inform future partnership projects


Urban design and health: A large scale natural experiment of residential relocation ($18,605)

Dr Klaus Gebel, Dr Melody Ding, Dr Liang Ma, Associate Professor Geoff Morgan
Aspects of urban design, such as walkability, greenspace, and access to infrastructure and facilities, are believed to have profound effects on health. However, almost all the evidence comes from cross-sectional studies, which are potentially subject to reverse causality. Using the largest cohort study in the Southern Hemisphere, this project analyses urban design impacts on health through a natural experiment of residential relocation to provide early causal evidence in this area. Identifying environmental determinants of population health will inform policy and interventions that could result in health, economic, environmental and social benefits for Australia and elsewhere.

Mass-movements: what are the impacts of rapid greenfield development on wellbeing, connection and crime? ($24,396)

Dr Garner Clancey, Dr Jennifer Kent
The population of Camden local government area (LGA), part of the South-West Growth Corridor, is projected to increase by 192.67% between 2015 and 2036 (.id, 2014). This is the largest forecasted percentage increase in any LGA in Australia. Available data suggests that new residents moving to this growth corridor are likely to experience lengthy commutes to work and higher than average mortgage and financial stress. This project will explore the impacts of these conditions on social connections, guardianship, supervision of children and crime.

Nature in cities: can urban planners enhance human wellbeing using biodiversity? ($23,465)

Assoc. Prof. Dieter Hochuli, Dr Caragh Threlfall, Dr David Kendal
In a rapidly urbanizing world, the conservation and promotion of nature when planning cities is often overlooked. However, the recognition that nature plays a significant role in human wellbeing is increasingly built into discussions of what our cities should look like in the future. We will identify the specific components of landscapes and biodiversity that are associated with enhancing wellbeing, and create guidelines for promoting evidence-based and ecologically –informed approaches to planning nature in cities.


Organising the 21st Century City: An International Comparison of Urban Alliances as Citizen Engagement

Assoc Prof Kurt Iveson, Prof John Keane, Dr Madeleine Pill, Dr Adrienne Keane, Prof Helga Leitner, Assoc Prof Mark Davidson, Prof Jane Wills, Prof Romand Coles, Prof Leo Penta
In a growing number of cities, citizens are channeling frustration with existing citizen engagement processes into the creation of urban alliances that bring together diverse civil society actors to articulate and pursue common interests. The intention of such alliances is to enable citizens to play a proactive role in the shaping of their cities, as an alternative to the reactive role they are often ascribed in existing governance and planning frameworks. This will be the first international comparative study of these alliances. Through desk-based mapping and qualitative case studies, the project will examine their global extent, their different forms and activities, their relationship to existing forms of citizen participation in existing structures of urban governance and planning, and their effectiveness as infrastructures for citizen engagement and empowerment. The research will contribute to scholarly understanding of citizen participation in urban governance and planning. It will also make significant practical contributions to the efforts of citizens seeking to build new infrastructures for participating in urban governance, and it will also aid the efforts of those working in planning agencies who are seeking more genuine citizen participation.

Housing for Health: Fixing Infrastructure and Housing Policy in Indigenous Australia and Beyond

Assoc Prof Tess Lea, Prof Allan McConnell, Prof Michael Tawa, Prof Paul Torzillo, Dr Christian Tietz, Mr Adrian Welke
The supply and maintenance of affordable housing and infrastructure remains one of the most vexed issues confronting Indigenous public policy. Houses remain in need of major repair or replacement; and often lack sufficient water supplies, washing facilities, or sewage infrastructure (the 'health hardware') to be functional. As a partial correction, the Housing for Health (HfH) program restores some function by testing and fixing vital health hardware. The greater challenge is ensuring better design, installation and maintenance in the first instance. This Incubator critically examines the policy obstacles to such systemic change while providing practical models for improved housing.