With the start of the new year, we are welcoming a new Director to the Centre for Urban Research, Professor Libby Porter.
In November 2023, after nine years, Professor Jago Dodson stepped down as CUR Director into a new role as Director of the Urban Futures Enabling Impact Platform Director. Now, nearly 10 years after joining the Centre, Professor Libby Porter has taken on the Director role.
Porter brings a wealth of expertise and research leadership to the role, having led multiple international research projects on Indigenous rights in urban and environmental planning, gentrification and displacement through urban renewal, the impact of mega-events on cities, and urban sustainability.
Prof Porter said she was thrilled to be taking on the role of Director, “CUR has been an enormously important place for me as a scholar. It has been not just an intellectual home, but has a convivial spirit of intellectual exchange and development that really supports its researchers.”
Before taking on the role of Director, Porter was a co-convenor of the Critical Urban Governance program, with a particular focus on the role of planning in delivering land justice for Indigenous communities.
Porter’s current ARC-funded Discovery Project, Precarious Dwelling: Encounters with Housing Crisis, takes a novel approach to understanding precarious living situations through the concept of dwelling – an idea that considers not just shelter or physical place, but encompassing stability, safety, belonging and relationship. Considering precarious dwelling in relation to both housing and belonging to Country helps bring the intertwined questions of housing and land justice into view.
Alongside her scholarship, Porter is also an activist. In 2022, she co-organised the Forum for Dwelling Justice, with Dr David Kelly, which brought together more than 600 scholars, grassroots campaigners, activists, people with lived experience, and practitioners to identify the radical potential for resistance to dispossession, displacement and precarity around housing and land. In response to the 2023 Victoria Housing Statement, Porter and Kelly were among a group of researchers that co-authored Victoria’s Housing Statement: A critical explainer along with CUR’s Dr Priya Kunjan, Dr Iris Levin, and Dr Liam Davies and Kate Shaw from the University of Melbourne.
“The work, of individual researchers and as a collective through the Centre, is vital in what are increasingly challenging times,” Porter said, “My intention is to continue our mission as a leading urban research Centre grounded in real-world questions that matter, critical in theoretical and political orientation and emancipatory in our practices.”
Porter’s other current project’s include the ARC-funded Deep Timetable: A Noongar Rail History, and the AHURI-funded Understanding the impacts of public housing relocation and Voicing First Nations Country, Culture and Community in urban policy