Dr Cecily Maller

Dr Cecily Maller is a Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow in RMIT's Centre for Urban Research (2016–2019).

As co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Programme, she studies human-environment interactions, sustainability and health in the context of everyday life in urban environments.

Cecily is Deputy Theme Leader for Liveability in the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub with colleagues from RMIT and the universities of Melbourne, Wollongong and Western Australia (funded by the National Environmental Sciences Programme until 2020). Recent projects include a five-year project with VicHealth and industry partners exploring how best-practice planning affects residents’ health and wellbeing in a master-planned estate in Melbourne. Previously at RMIT she has researched social practices involving energy and water use in culturally diverse households and studied green renovators and housing sustainability in low-income households.

Cecily has published widely on the health benefits of contact with nature, including as lead author on the Healthy Parks, Healthy People report (Parks Victoria 2002, 2008) and several highly cited journal articles. Recently, she co-edited a book on interventions to improve sustainability titled Social Practices, Interventions and Sustainability: Beyond Behaviour Change (Routledge, 2014).

Before joining RMIT, Cecily was a social scientist for the Australian Department of Agriculture where she managed research projects commissioned by policymakers on change in rural industries and communities. She has conducted social and environmental research for Australian universities and governments since 1998. Cecily has a BSc Hons in Environmental Studies (Behavioural Ecology) and a PhD in Health Promotion on contact with nature and children’s mental, emotional and social health (funded by VicHealth).

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People-environment relationships, theories of social practice, sustainability and everyday life, housing and health and wellbeing, qualitative research.

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Network of Integrated Study Sites

This project aims to establish a network of integrated urban greening study sites to understand, quantify and qualify the multiple benefits of urban greening, including for biodiversity outcomes and for human health and wellbeing.

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Improved Urban Systems for Liveability

This project investigates how major cities function and the effects of their land-use, housing and infrastructure systems on the humans that live in them.

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Constructions and practices of ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ meat: implications for meat consumption and the treatment of animals

Reflecting the ethical turn in consumption, meat promoted and labeled as ethical, humane and/or sustainable has emerged as an apparent solution to increasing concerns.

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The globalisation of comfort practices: A study of international students

This project sought to understand the carriage, (dis)integration and transferral of international students’ comfort practices on arrival to Australia.

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Exploring the influence of cultural background on first and second generation migrants’ use of energy and water in the home

This project explored how established migrant families in Melbourne and Sydney conceptualise waste, energy and water consumption in the context of their everyday lives.

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Selandra Rise: Researching planning for health and wellbeing

This project explored how the planning and design of a new residential community can influence the health and wellbeing of future residents.

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News & Blog

How do we turn a drain into valued green space? First, ask the resident

The green infrastructure of our cities includes both publicly owned, designed and delineated areas and less formal, unplanned areas of vegetation — informal green spaces.

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New bus route improves well-being and social connection in Melbourne’s new communities

Research exploring the impact of a bus route a new housing development on Melbourne’s south-east growth corridor has revealed the positive effects on community well being with the early delivery of bus services in new greenfield developments.

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Writing retreats: Academic indulgence or scholarly necessity?

It’s not uncommon for academics to attend conferences that cost thousands of dollars and require time away from our usual place of work.

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Hot dogs and cool cats: keeping pets cool without blowing your energy bill

As the weather heats up, Australian households won’t just be cranking up the air conditioning for themselves. Some households will be turning it on for their dogs or cats.

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Sustainable housing’s expensive, right? Not when you look at the whole equation

Sustainable housing can also have important benefits for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, as the report released this week shows.

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Researchers on journey to new discoveries with $2.3m ARC grants

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Reducing commute times integral to the health of outer surburban residential communities

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Citizen scientists blitz Melbourne’s public spaces

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Strengthening Wellbeing in Urban Communities Through Wildlife Gardening

We investigate a municipal wildlife gardening program run by a community group-local government partnership in Melbourne, Australia whose purpose is to conserve the municipality’s indigenous biodiversity.

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How to gain traction? From theoretical scholarship to applied outcomes in energy demand research and housing research

This collection advances our understanding of the ethics, values, opportunities and challenges that emerge in the making of engaged and interdisciplinary scholarship.

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Studying social practices and global practice change using scrapbooks as a cultural probe

Our goal in this paper is to contribute to the growing field of social practice research, specifically in regard to studies of globalisation and change.

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Social transit as mass transit in Australian suburban greenfield development

Alexa Delbosc, Graham Currie, Dr Larissa Nicholls, Dr Cecily Maller

This study explored the impact of a new bus service on a new development on the fringe of Melbourne, Australia: Selandra Rise in Clyde North.

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Adapting to ‘extreme’ weather: mobile practice memories of keeping warm and cool as a climate change adaptation strategy

In this paper, we are interested in reconceptualising adaptation as a series of everyday and remembered experiences with weather, which are situated within and carried by bodily social practices that contribute to keeping warm and cool.

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Horsham Catalyst Research and Evaluation Final Report

This study led by RMIT's Centre for Urban Research and funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, investigates the economic, social and environmental performance of low-carbon houses in comparison with 'standard' residences in Horsham, Victoria.

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Planning for Community:

Understanding Diversity in Resident Experiences and Expectations of Social Connections in a New Urban Fringe Housing Estate, Australia. Community, Work and Family

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Dwelling performance and adaptive summer comfort in low-income Australian households

This paper aims to address these gaps, reporting on a study combining in-home temperature monitoring and qualitative interviews with householders.

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Utilising Mixed Methods Research to Inform Low-carbon Social Housing Performance Policy

Moore, T, Strengers, Y and Maller, C 2016, 'Utilising mixed methods research to inform low-carbon social housing performance policy', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 240-255.

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Understanding health through social practices: performance and materiality in everyday life

Maller, C 2015, 'Understanding health through social practices: performance and materiality in everyday life', The Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 52-66.

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Social practices, Intervention and Sustainability: Beyond Behaviour Change

Strengers, Y and Maller, C 2015, 'Introduction: Social practices, intervention and sustainability: Beyond behaviour change' in Yolande Strengers, Cecily Maller (ed.) Social practices, intervention and sustainability: Beyond behaviour change, Routledge, Oxon, United Kingdom, pp. 1-12.

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Low carbon, water-efficient house retrofits: an emergent niche?

Horne, R, Maller, C and Dalton, T 2014, 'Low-carbon, water-efficient house renovations: an emergent niche?', Building Research and Information, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 539-548.

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The Great Australian Nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change

Maller, C, Strengers, Y, Moloney, S and Nicholls, L 2013, 'The great Australian nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change', in Nick Osbaldiston, Catherine Strong and Helen Forbes-Mewett (ed.) 2013 Conference Proceedings: Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations 50 years of Australian Sociology, Hawthorn, Australia, 25-28 November 2013, pp. 1-13.

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‘Housing renovations and energy efficiency: insights from homeowners’ practices, Building Research and Information

Judson, E and Maller, C 2014, 'Housing renovations and energy efficiency: insights from homeowners' practices', Building Research & Information, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 501-511.

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Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice

Strengers, Y, Maller, C and Nicholls, L 2014, 'Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice', Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. online, pp. 1-20.

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