Professor Ralph Horne

Ralph Horne is the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation for the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University, supporting research performance and providing strategic leadership.

He has research expertise in urban social and policy change for sustainable design and development. He has extensive experience in environmental techniques and sustainability appraisal and has a specific research interest in low carbon urban transitions.

Ralph combines research leadership and participation in projects concerning the environmental, social and policy context of production and consumption in the urban environment.

Ralph is a registered research supervisor in the following areas:

  • Low carbon urban transitions, retrofitting and compact cities.
  • Housing and households, zero emission affordable and quality housing design and production, and the lived experience of households, including in indigenous Australia and Latin America.
  • Resilient urban futures, including socio-technical change, climate action planning and sustainability appraisal, in Australia, UK and South East Asian contexts.

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Investigating energy efficiency retrofit for post-carbon and equitable housing

This project aims to provide an analysis of housing retrofit and its links with household energy costs.

Buildings and precincts adapted for future climate change

User perspectives in purpose built low energy housing

Infill Developments: Housing Outcomes Metrics and Evaluation (Project HOME)

The project links housing outcomes to metrics and evaluation of housing design in the rapidly growing infill multi-residential sector.

EPA approaches to behaviour change

In partnership with BehaviourWorks at Monash University, Beyond Behaviour Change researchers conducted interviews and site visits with EPA field officers.

Assessing resilient urban systems to support long term adaptation to climate change

The Resilient Urban Systems project aimed to assess the capacity of community-level urban energy and water systems to support long term adaptation to climate change.

Towards Carbon Neutral Communities: Making the Transition

This project focused on the role of behaviour change initiatives and other non-technical interventions in transitioning towards carbon neutrality.

Lifetime Affordable and Tenable City Housing

Research into homebuyer decision making and lived experience of households.

News & Blog

How do we make ethical cities?

As cities around world transition to a low carbon future, how do we ensure our places and communities remain fair for all?​ Experts in Australia, Europe and the UK share their insights on how cities can approach a decarbonised future in an ethically informed way.

Moving towards a circular economy for more sustainable housing

RMIT urban researchers will lead a pioneering project examining how Australia’s housing sector can transition to a circular economy for more sustainable homes.

Report shows our homes must change for better health and living

A new study examining Victorians’ lived experience during COVID-19 points to the design and quality of homes and neighbourhoods as a key mitigating factor in people’s capacity to cope with disasters.

Stimulus that retrofits housing can reduce energy bills and inequity too

Stay-at-home orders and the economic crisis have increased the burden of energy costs on lower-income Australians. Poor housing quality and unequal access to home energy efficiency are hurting our most vulnerable households.

New project investigates how COVID-19 impacts housing stress

RMIT urban researchers have received funding from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute to investigate COVID-19’s impact on housing stress in Melbourne.

Canberra model the key to creating successful new cities

It often gets a bad rap, but Canberra could hold the secret to planning for Australia’s growing population and successfully decentralising our major cities, researchers say.

How can we improve our homes to be energy efficient?

With rising energy bills the new normal, we need to focus on improving Victoria’s housing stock to help householders adapt. New research in Moreland is exploring the barriers and opportunities householders face in improving their homes.

How can high-density living house Victoria’s growing population?

As our state’s numbers grow, we need plan how we accommodate every person. Here, our experts provide their insights on the critical challenges facing Melbourne’s housing needs.

Sharing economy sounds caring, but let’s put it to the ethical city test

More than ever, cities face multiple crises posing paradoxical opportunities. Key challenges for cities in the urban century are climate change, inequality and governance.

What can the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals do for cities?

Our cities are increasingly beset by a lack of affordable housing, inequality, lagging infrastructure – the list goes on.

Fuzzy households in an era of urban growth

Housing affordability stress is acute for both low-income households and a growing number of middle-income households, and with housing increasingly commodified and financialised, and as affordability reaches crisis levels, owner-occupation models are also being challenged.

Thinking about a sustainable retrofit? Here are three things to consider

Sitting at home in the summer heat, your mind may start to wander to that fancy new air conditioner. But when it comes to making your house comfortable and sustainable, prevention is better than cure.

RMIT shapes UN’s New Urban Agenda with Massive Open Online Course

RMIT University today launches a first-of-its-kind Ethical Cities open online course at the UN’s global cities summit to connect people around the world with ethical concept and practice for cities.

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.

New book explores the rise of green spirited citizenship

A new book edited and authored by RMIT urban experts examines the rise of the “sustainability citizens” movement and how it’s inspiring a new perception of citizenship for the better.

Our cities will stop working without a decent national housing policy

We have to move the housing conversation beyond a game of political football about negative-gearing winners and losers. Australia needs a bipartisan, long-term, housing policy.

Locking in liveability: The city we need is the city that cares

How can we lock liveability into our cities in coming decades? That is one of the questions posed for this week’s Australian Urban Thinkers Campus at RMIT University.

RMIT wins $1.8million in ARC linkage funding

RMIT University has been awarded more than $1.8million in Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project Grants.


Building circular economy housing: An Australian story

Dr Louise Dorignon, Professor Ralph Horne, Adjunct Professor Julie Lawson, Hazel Easthope, Stefanie Dühr, Trivess Moore, Emma Baker, Professor Tony Dalton, Illustrated by Zhen Xiong

Visual summary

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Informing a strategy for circular economy housing in Australia

Professor Ralph Horne, Dr Louise Dorignon, Dr Louise Dorignon, Hazel Easthope, Stefanie Dühr, Trivess Moore, Emma Baker, Professor Tony Dalton, Hal Pawson, Peter Fairbrother

AHURI report

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Higher Density Living Critical Policy Brief

This briefing draws upon the expertise of RMIT’s housing research community to inform policy makers and the wider community on critical challenges in addressing Melbourne’s housing needs

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The ethical city: A rationale for an urgent new urban agenda

Brendan Barrett, Professor Ralph Horne, John Fien

This article draws on examples of existing practices in cities that reflect a principled and ethical approach to leadership, governance, planning, economic development, sustainability and citizen engagement.

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