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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Projects

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

Informal greenspaces: Values, perceptions and use

Apart from formal parks and gardens, street verges and other planned greenspaces, most cities have pockets of unplanned vegetation and leftover open spaces, including vacant lots, railway verges and drainage channels.

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August 2018 edition of The Urban Observer out now

With Australia’s population reaching 25 million this month, the liveability of our cities has become critically important for our national prosperity and sustainability.

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Embracing the chaos

By transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations. Issues of the scale of mass species extinctions or climate change are never going to be solved by a single discipline acting alone. 

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New book calls for policy to branch out to nature for healthier cities

Dr Cecily Maller’s new book challenges how we create healthy liveable cities and calls for planners and urban policymakers to integrate ways for humans to live better with nature and other life forms.

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CUR academic joins editorial board of new international journal

Senior Research Fellow at the RMIT Centre for Urban Research Dr Cecily Maller has been selected as a lead editor for the new international journal People and Nature.

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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

Researchers from RMIT received funding to deliver innovative, impact-associated research from the latest round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects scheme.

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

Providing good public transport links with job opportunities near affordable housing is crucial to improving the health and wellbeing of residential communities in outer suburban growth areas, according to new research.

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Citizen scientists blitz Melbourne’s public spaces

Ecological gems have been uncovered in Melbourne’s parks during a campaign that involved “citizen scientists” capturing and recording the city’s biodiversity.

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Publications