The People, Nature, Place (PNP) research program focuses on urban human-nature 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 tri-fold goals of sustainability, nature protection and human flourishing in cities. This interest encapsulates urban greening, placemaking, edible cities, and other enhancements. PNP takes a broad definition of what nature(s) and associated representations encompass, including plants, animals, ecosystems, air, soil, water and fire. PNP will seek to strengthen the research capacity for exploring these topics from an environmentally-engaged social science perspective.
As greening and placemaking activity multiplies globally, and is supported through initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals and nature-based solutions, the PNP program creates a dedicated hub on urban human-nature relations. As well as an emphasis on relations, PNP will draw on theories and approaches of placemaking, and incorporate innovative mapping and spatial technologies to understand and document human-nonhuman interactions over space and time. Through a focus on the diversity of ‘non-humans’ like animals and plants that are enrolled in the making and planning of cities and the human-environmental relations that produce urban places, PNP brings together multiple disciplines interested in these topics, including planning, urban design, geography, the humanities, environmental studies, and ecology.
In the People, Nature, Place (PNP) 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.