Professor Cecily Maller

Professor Cecily Maller is a Professor of human geography and Associate Dean, Research and Innovation (ADRI) in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

Cecily is a Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and Centre for Urban Research where she co-leads the People and Environment Research Program.

Since 2008, Cecily has held three consecutive research fellowships, including a five-year Research Practice Fellowship funded by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

Her research focuses on human-environment interactions in urban settings in the context of everyday life. She is particularly interested in how people interact with animals and plants in homes and neighbourhoods, how these interactions affect health and wellbeing, and the implications for making cities greener and more biodiverse. Cecily explored some of these ideas in her book ‘Healthy urban environments: More-than-human theories’ (2018, Routledge).

Cecily has been interested in the health benefits of contact with nature since working on the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative in the early 2000s and I am a lead investigator for the Australian Government’s Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub (funded by the National Environmental Sciences Program).

Previously, she conducted interdisciplinary research in social science and ecology with a broad range of government and industry partners since 1999, including the widely cited ‘Healthy Parks Healthy People’ report for Parks Victoria. Although an interdisciplinary scholar, my work is broadly situated in human geography, specialising in post-humanist approaches and qualitative methods

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 established 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.

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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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.

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.

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.

Selandra Rise: Researching planning for health and wellbeing


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News & Blog


Rewilding cities: How bringing nature back to cities is good for our health

27 January 2020

The rise around the globe to bring nature back into cities has clear links to individual and community health and wellbeing, according to RMIT researchers at the Centre for Urban Research.


Living ‘liveable’: this is what residents have to say about life on the urban fringe

20 February 2019

Recent studies show Melbourne’s and Sydney’s fast-growing outer suburbs lag behind other parts of the city in access to urban design, employment and amenities and services that foster liveability.


Informal greenspaces: Values, perceptions and use

10 August 2018

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.


August 2018 edition of The Urban Observer out now

09 August 2018

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


Embracing the chaos

06 August 2018

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. 


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

28 June 2018

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.


CUR academic joins editorial board of new international journal

13 May 2018

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.


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

10 November 2017

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


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

18 August 2017

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.


Writing retreats: Academic indulgence or scholarly necessity?

28 April 2017

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


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

16 January 2017

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.


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

25 August 2016

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


Conserving urban biodiversity: Current practice, barriers, and enablers

Kylie Soanes, Lucy Taylor , Cristina E. Ramalho, Professor Cecily Maller, Kirsten Parris, et al.

Conservation Letters

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Enablers and challenges when engaging local communities for urban biodiversity conservation in Australian cities

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