Rachel Iampolski

Rachel is an urban geographer investigating informal, citizen-led reclamation and re-purposing of public space and the urban built form through the lens of cultural heritage.

Rachel is interested in the tension between the formal and informal city, (more specifically, the formal management of informal socio-spatial culture) and the implications this has on a city’s atmosphere, liveability and on the spatial and cultural democratisation of public space. Her research aims to identify and understand if an inherently informal and reactive way of adapting public space can be preserved or better facilitated through urban cultural policy and place-based management.

Fascinated by liminal, ‘ordinary’, transient, reactive, and occasionally deviant spaces, Rachel aims to better understand their underrepresented contribution to our urban experience and to the democratisation of public space. Her research is interested in the historic and living legacy of place, and how different actors shape and lay claim to the geography.

Through ethnography and arts-practice-based research methods, her research more broadly situates the various reactive, power tensions that exist in cities and the unique urban cultural heritage that it spurs.

Rachel has a Masters in Arts and Cultural Management and B.Arts (Anthropology and Sociology) from the University of Melbourne, and is currently a research assistant in the centre and a tutor in Planning Theory. She works also as a creative producer and is interested in alternative ways of translating research via praxis, community building and the creative realm.

Rachel is currently the Victorian co-chair of the Australasian Early Career Urban Research Network (AECURN) and an Early Career Advisor for Public Space at City Space Architecture.

Research interests: cultural geography; cultural anthropology; urban design and policy; cultural heritage; urban design; place-making; socially engaged and public art; child-friendly cities; urban identity; rights to the city; DIY and tactical urbanism; feminist urban theory


Dr Ian McShane

Associated Professor Wendy Steele

Dr Marnie Badham

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The Living Pavilion Research Report

Tanja Beer, Cristina Hernandez-Santin, Zena Cumpston, Rimi Khan, Dr Luis Mata, Kirsten Parris, Christina Renowden, Rachel Iampolski, Dominique Hes, Blythe Vogel

The University of Melbourne

View Publication