Associate Professor Lauren Rickards

Lauren is a critical human geographer currently working as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global Urban and Social Studies.

Lauren is co-leader of CUR’s Climate Change and Resilience research program, and a Senior Lecturer in the Sustainability and Urban Planning area of the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

Further afield, she is Deputy Chair of the federal Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, an Associate of both the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (University of Melbourne), and the Institute of Livelihood and Environment (Charles Darwin University), and co-convenor of the Institute of Australian Geographers’ Hazards, Risk and Disasters study group.

With a background in human geography and ecology, Lauren researches and teaches about a wide range of “environmental” issues. Subjects she coordinates and delivers include Environmental Ideas – Thought and Action (undergraduate) and Climate Change Responses (undergrad. and postrgrad.). In terms of research students, Lauren currently has seven PhD students and one Honours student.

Lauren’s research uses qualitative approaches to unpick the bio-politics and environmental justice implications of climate change, the Anthropocene and responses to them, including the rise of resilience thinking. Projects include analyses of the official and unofficial narratives about the Hazelwood coal mine fire, how scenario planning is perceived and used for climate change adaptation within government, rural communities’ experiences of the Millennium Drought and subsequent floods, challenges raised by the implementation of resilience agendas, and questions prompted by the Tasmanian bushfires about which life forms we value in the Anthropocene and why.

Lauren has also empirically investigated the philosophical, political and practical challenges of doing interdisciplinary research, particularly for qualitative researchers. She has an extensive range of collaborators within and beyond Australia and was a contributing author to the 2014 IPCC Working Group Two Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

Before joining RMIT as a Senior Lecturer, Lauren was a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, a Senior Consultant and Associate Partner at RM Consulting Group, where she consulted mainly to government on sustainability and rural issues, and Vice-Principal of University of Melbourne academic college Janet Clark Hall. Lauren studied for a D.Phil. and MSc. at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

View Full profile

Related Content

Projects

Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

2018–2020

We are working with RMIT scientists and engineers to help water utilities, the Environment Protection Authority and the Victorian Government reduce climate change risks and produce new resources.

Rethinking Research Impact

2019–2020

This research project contributes towards a more sophisticated, reflexive and contextualised understanding of research impact.

News & Blog

Media

Climate action plans must include threats on research, warn academics

24 February 2020

Research is not immune from the effects of climate change warns a new paper, urging the higher education sector to adapt their climate action plans to include the threats on research.

HDR Blog series

Becoming a writer

22 January 2020

This blog is written for HDR students in GUSS and beyond. The aim is to offer reflections, tips and tricks on various aspects of doing a PhD to help you with your thesis journey.

News

Seven ways climate change affects key Federal Election issues

06 May 2019

Climate action is rated as a top priority among voters in the lead up to this year’s Federal Election. How does it affect other key campaign issues?

News

A sustainable future is in our hands

14 March 2019

From climate science to agricultural upcycling, and food packaging to urban farming, meet four researchers from around the world working towards a sustainable future.

Blog

Business as usual? The Sustainable Development Goals apply to Australian cities too

19 September 2018

We are still settling Australian cities on unceded Aboriginal lands. With the global agreement on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, development has finally come home to the developed world.

Blog

Water or coal? The increasingly clear choice

31 October 2017

Questions about the future of coal are often presented as a rational choice between energy sources with different economic costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and levels of reliability.

Blog

Climate change – an opportunity to rethink, restore and reboot

16 June 2017

While climatic changes can be hard to put a finger on, many farmers agree that their rules of thumb for how weather behaves and seasons unfold increasingly feels a bit wobbly.

News

Global Forum for Urban and Regional Resilience

18 October 2016

Lauren Rickards, co-leader of the Climate Change and Resilience (CCR) research program, and Raven Cretney, PhD student, represented the CUR at a recent workshop at the Global Forum for Urban and Regional Resilience (GFURR) at Virginia Tech, in Arlington, Virginia.

Blog

Re-imagining Cities

12 August 2016

Pushing up through the Earth, out through the dirt of the lower strata towards the bright stratosphere, cities are emerging out of the Earth’s surface like a voracious vine.

Blog

Darebin Climate Forum 15 June 2016

07 July 2016

In Darebin, for World Environment Day 2016, a panel of prominent climate change experts discussed the current climate situation, why we should be taking action, and what local governments, other levels of government and individuals can do to address climate change.

Blog

‘The urban’: a concept under stress in an interconnected world

27 June 2016

Are humans now an “urban species”? Do we now live in an “Urban Age”?

Blog

World Environment Day in a shifting ‘environment’

06 June 2016

What does World Environment Day mean in a world in which we are no longer sure what ‘environment’ means?

Publications

Interventions on design and political geography

Kevin Grove, Maros Krivy, Associate Professor Lauren Rickards, Gabriele Schliwa, Stephen Collier, Savannah Cox, Matthew Gandy

Elsevier

View Publication

The possibilities and limits to dialogue

Reuben Rose-Redwood, Rob Kitchin, Associate Professor Lauren Rickards, Ugo Rossi, Ayona Datta, Jeremy Crampton
View Publication