Project Team

This project  builds on work that the project team have been developing over a number of years – collectively and separately – in the fields of environmental action, geography, urban planning and place-based social innovation analysis.

Jean Hillier

Chief Investigator

The project is co-led by Emeritus Professor Jean Hillier, from RMIT University. Jean is an internationally experienced researcher with expertise in urban planning theory and development of innovative strategic navigation methodology for strategic practice, political and cultural aspects of governance activity, questions of procedural justice, social justice, social exclusion and ethics and citizen participation in government decision-making. Jean’s recent research projects on issues of power and justice include spatial planning with non-human animals and planning dark cultural heritage in Australia and China.

Wendy Steele

Chief Investigator

The project is co-led by Associate Professor Wendy Steele, from RMIT University Centre for Urban Research, and the School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT. She is an urban scholar with a focus on cities in a climate of change including dimensions of  critical governance, planning and policy. Wendy’s contribution relates to the multi-scalar dimensions of governance in scholarship and practice; climate security and justice, rethinking critical infrastructure and metropolitan planning. Wendy brings to the project a strong conceptual and theoretical dialogue around everyday forms of planning and governance practices and the implications of this for addressing CVC at the local scale within the Australian context. Wendy led the fieldwork in Victoria and participated in peer-reviewed publications and conferences.

Diana MacCallum

Chief Investigator

Dr Diana MacCallum, from Curtin University, teaches urban and regional planning at Curtin University. Her research focuses on understanding the potential of community development and governance practices to shape conditions for a more socially, environmentally and ecologically just society.  She uses her skills in critical discourse analysis and focused ethnography to oversee the text and interaction analyses for all case studies. She manages and participates in the fieldwork (including recruitment of case studies, interviews, quality control and budget) in WA.

Jason Byrne

Chief Investigator

Professor Jason Byrne, from University of Tasmania, is an urban geographer and environmental planner with expertise in political ecologies of green-space and climate change. Drawing upon his scholarship examining how constellations of actors and axes of difference shape environmental practices, Jason assisted in the conceptual and theoretical framing of the research. Jason is the lead researcher for Queensland and will participated in the production and distribution of issues/discussion papers from the project.

Donna Houston

Chief Investigator

Associate Professor Donna Houston, from Macquarie University Department of Geography and Planning is, a cultural/urban geographer with expertise in nature-society theory and cultural methods for addressing social and environmental change. She draws on previous research about how governments and  communities (including Indigenous communities) understand and respond to environmental injustice and climate change. She contributed to the development of a research framework that identifies formal and informal practices by local governments and communities. Donna led the fieldwork in NSW and peer-reviewed publications.

Katelyn Samson

Project Manager

Katelyn Samson, from RMIT University Centre for Urban Research, is a social scientist whose work revolves around the social dimensions of environmental and natural resource governance issues. She has worked on a range of research and consultancy projects related to institutional and cultural change in the University, corporate and government sectors. She has also co-founded and directed independent projects, including project otherWISE and Better than TV. As the Research Associate for this project, Katelyn managed the project process, including this website.

Lisa de Kleyn

PhD Candidate

Lisa is currently undertaking a PhD on environmental justice in Australia and its application to native forest logging at Toolangi State Forest, Victoria. Her project is linked to this ARC research through a PhD scholarship.

Tom Overton- Skinner

Research Associate

Thomas Overton-Skinner is a graduate from the University of Melbourne’s Geography and French faculties. He currently works in research and tutoring at RMIT University and the University of Melbourne. He has also been involved in a number of research projects in Australia and China, including being awarded the prestigious Miegunyah Student Project Award from the Ian Potter Museum of Art. Having worked, studied and volunteered in Australia, France, and China, Thomas brings a variety of skills and experiences to his work, as well as a strong interest in learning more about the world. His research interests include the nexus of environmental and social justice, activism and social change, and French and Australian politics. In his free time, Thomas listens to too many podcasts and works with a team of dedicated volunteers to build impactful events at the Environmental Film Festival Australia.

Jayden Holmes

Research Associate

Jayden is an urban planner with experience in environmental policy, research and communications. Through his career, Jayden has worked with various levels of government (national to local), educational institutions and not-for-profit groups to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and its impacts. This includes his work at the Victorian State Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Jayden holds a Master of Urban Planning and Environment from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Science with Honours (First Class) in Geography from the University of Melbourne.

Ryan Quinn

Research Associate

Ryan has recently completed his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at Curtin University, and has a strong interest in environmental and conservation issues. His research sought to investigate how the interests of nonhuman flora and fauna can be represented and elevated by environmental activists within land use planning processes and decision making, and how such representations may result in the dominant anthropocentric ethical position of decision makers shifting more towards a less-anthropocentric stance. In a period of time characterised by multiple environmental crises, urban planning and the process of urban development remains relatively anthropocentric in its scope. Accordingly, the research not only sought to encourage a discussion of environmental ethics in the discipline of planning, it also examined how to actively include other-than-human actors in land use planning processes more generally.

Mary O’Halloran

Research Associate

Mary O’Halloran is undertaking her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at Curtin University examining the sustainability of volunteer fire brigades in rural Western Australia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Geography and attained First Class Honours in Geography at Curtin University. Her primary area of focus is on the dynamics and demographics of rural communities, with particular focus on their future viability.

The Reference Group—


Professor Robyn Dowling, Head of Department, Geography and Planning
Macquarie University

Doug Purdie
Urban Beehive


Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor
Australian Earth Laws Alliance

Huxley Lawler, Executive Coordinator – Environment, City Planning
Gold Coast City Council


Brendan Sydes, CEO and Lawyer
Environmental Justice Australia

Campbell Watts, Business Development

Western Australia

Melanie Bainbridge, Sustainability (Strategic) Officer
City of Fremantle

Irina Cattalini, CEO
WA Council of Social Services (WACOSS)