The People and Environment research program focuses on urban human-environment relationships, how these are understood, and their impacts on people and sustainability. In particular it seeks to develop, sustain and promote impactful research on the complexities of achieving the goals of sustainability and human flourishing in cities. This interest encapsulates urban greening, placemaking, consumption, and settler-colonial studies, amongst a range of other interests. People and Environment takes a broad definition of what environment(s) and associated representations encompass, including ecosystems, air, soil, infrastructures, technologies, water, waste and fire. People and Environment will seek to strengthen the research capacity for exploring these topics from an environmentally-engaged social science perspective.

The People and Environment program creates a dedicated hub for research and engagement on the relations and interactions that constitute the urban. As well as an emphasis on relations, People and Environment will encourage and draw on a range of theories and approaches that give light to novel perspectives on urban environmental issues, to understand and document human-nonhuman interactions over space and time. Through a focus on the diversity of ‘more-than-human’ dimensions (both living and non-living) that are enrolled in the production of urban places, People and Environment brings together multiple disciplines interested in these topics, including planning, urban design, geography, the humanities, environmental studies, and ecology.

 

Aims

Connect People and Environment with a growing national and international research agenda on human-environment relations in a range of disciplines including planning, geography and environmental studies

Develop theoretically informed yet empirically grounded applied research, with a key objective to translate new theoretical insights on changing urban human-environment relations into practical solutions, and think through the governance and policy implications for urban and urbanising environments

Provide an opportunity to connect current and emerging activity into a coherent form that would enable interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, mutually beneficial sharing and growing of resources and knowledge across research, community, industry and government


Acknowledgement of Country

In the People and Environment research program, our focus is on human-nature relationships, how these are understood, and their impacts on biodiversity, people and sustainability. As scholars and educators, we commit to learn from and acknowledge First Nations ontologies and relational theories as the original scholars and educators of people-place relations.

We respectfully acknowledge that we conduct much of our research and teaching on Boon wurrung and Woiwurrung land, as well as other places sustained by people-place relations over millennia, and that sovereignty over these lands and waters was never ceded. We are deeply thankful for First Nations peoples’ care of Country which has created the rich and unique biodiversity of the places we are privileged to be part of and that we also commit to care for.

We recognise the uniqueness of the biodiversity, other non-humans and social-ecological systems that were flourishing before European invasion, including those that have been lost, and those that continue to thrive. Our goal is to collectively work towards a healing of human-nature relations to sustain people and places through everyday urban practices and care for Country.

Projects

Tarnagulla Community Resilience Action Plan

2018–2020

This project aims to develop a Resilience Action Plan with and for the Tarnagulla community.

Network of Integrated Study Sites

2018 (ongoing)

This project aims to establish 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.

Key People

Lead researchers

Associate Professor Cecily Maller

Associate Professor Cecily Maller

Convener of People, Nature, Place Program

Dr Benjamin Cooke

Dr Benjamin Cooke

Convener of People, Nature, Place Program

Program Researchers

Higher Degree Research Students

Related Content

News & Blog

News

Fostering biodiversity on World Environment Day

04 June 2020

Can fostering native plants and animals in our neighbourhoods help stem the loss of biodiversity? Is sustainable fashion achievable? Our experts examine the possibilities ahead of World Environment Day.

News

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.

News

What’s your favourite animal? Researchers want to know

28 May 2019

As part of efforts to bring back nature into our cities, researchers are asking people across the globe about their favourite animals to determine which creature is ahead of the pack.

News

Meet the women helping plan the cities of tomorrow

05 March 2019

As Melbourne grows, we need to better plan how we build healthy, equitable and liveable cities. Here four RMIT researchers talk about how their work is helping deliver better cities.

Blog

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.

Blog

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. 

News

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.

News

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.

Blog

How tree bonds can help preserve the urban forest

20 March 2018

Great cities need trees to be great places, but urban changes put pressure on the existing trees as cities develop. As a result, our rapidly growing cities are losing trees at a worrying rate. So how can we grow our cities and save our city trees?

Blog

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.

Blog

We’re investing heavily in urban greening, so how are our cities doing?

28 September 2017

Governments at all levels invest a lot in greening Australian suburbs. Yet, in a recent report, we show that the greening efforts of most of our metropolitan local governments are actually going backwards.

News

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.