Design and the Built Environment

The School of Design and the Built Environment leads in high-quality and globally significant research across the fields of digital and creative design, architecture and interior architecture, urban and regional planning and policy, construction and building information modelling, project management, geography and spatial analysis. Students conduct research that addresses high-impact societal needs, critical technologies, the transformation of industry and evidence-based policy.

Photo taken inside a dome shaped glass building

Institutes

Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute

Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute was established in January 2008. The idea of “sustainability” in a wide range of human endeavour is a relatively new concept, but is rapidly becoming a key issue in public policy theory and practice.

Learn more

Centres

Australasian Joint Research Centre for Building Information Modelling

The Centre focuses on developing leading research that integrates BIM with other advanced concepts and technologies to improve the performance and productivity of building projects in the energy, mineral and construction industries worldwide.

Learn more

Groups

Research Unit for the Study of Societies in Change (RUSSIC)

A multidisciplinary cluster examining processes of social and cultural transformation.

Learn more

Research

Student Research Projects

A-M

Housing location decisions and home ownership determinants for immigrants in a multicultural societal context (2016-2021)

Sabrina Ahmed

The aim of this study is to demonstrate housing preferences of immigrants from South Asian countries (who are currently renting) with respect to both demographic and neighbourhood (built environment) characteristics. The study seeks to map the distribution of housing aspirations of such group of immigrants to better inform future government strategies and facilitate housing market analysis to enable the housing industry to better attract potential buyers. The South Asian immigrant communities represent relatively similar socio-economic, and cultural make up which may indicate a particular pattern of preferences, while they also cover a range of political and religious beliefs. On the one hand it is an easily identifiable group to study against other segments of the population, and on the other it has differences within that help to isolate the influences of certain specific factors on the group’s overall housing preferences.

 

How does benthic topography affect the accumulation of microplastics in riverine sediments? (2015-2022)

James A Atkinson

Microplastics are generally considered to be plastics between 1μm to 5mm in their largest dimension and they are present in all aquatic environmental matrices (Cole et al 2009, Hidalgo-Ruz 2012 Li et al 2018, Lusher et al 2019).  Despite a growing body of literature, the extent of impacts of microplastics on biota is not well known, however it is widely accepted that their presence in aquatic environments has adverse impacts on organisms mainly when ingested directly or through trophic transfer to larger organisms. The accumulation of microplastics in freshwater systems has not been fully addressed.  My research tests the hypothesis that these sediment-associated microplastics tend to accumulate in areas of high benthic topographic change. Initially, this research concerns the collection (and analysis) of data across the Swan River system (Western Australia).

 

Towards an integrated asset management system for water utilities: centralised data access, analysis and visualisation (2020-2023)

Chunjiang Chen

The robustness, reliability and resiliency of water infrastructure are vital to the economy, security and wellbeing of a country. In the operation phase, maintaining the operability of the water services infrastructure requires constant repair, renewal and replacement, and the attaining and maintaining sufficient investment is thus challenging. This study aims to develop an integrated data-driven approach for achieving higher efficiency, sustainability and resilience in asset maintenance for water utilities. It includes three objectives. First, a methodology will be developed to assist asset managers to transit the existing isolated asset information into structured, integrated and shared asset data repositories for effectiveness. Second, a real-time monitoring system will be studied to track asset status and access necessary insights, in order to improve operational performance and avoid unplanned downtime. Third, Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm will be explored for many-objective optimization of asset maintenance.

 

Enhancing Local Government’s Capacity of Climate Change Adaptability in the Asia-Pacific (2017-2021)

Mohammad Barad Hossain Chowdhury 

It has been evident that the local governments (LGs) in the Asia Pacific are suffering from adaptation deficit to manage the future uncertainties of climate change. This study aims to understand the dimensions and underpinnings of adaptation deficit. Findings will substantially help identifying the areas of immediate planning and policy intervention to reduce climate change adaptation deficit of LGs.

 

Shifting neighbourhood dynamics and everyday experiences of displacement in Kreuzberg, Berlin (2016-2021)

Adam Crowe 

This thesis explores the socio-spatial impacts of shifting housing and neighbourhood dynamics in the gentrifying neighbourhoods of Kreuzberg, Berlin. Using a multi-method approach, the qualitative-driven inquiry illuminates a range of shelter and non-shelter aspects of displacement impacting on long-standing residents’ relationships to the place they call home. The conceptual framework incorporates a respatialised theory of displacement to consider the material, temporal and sensory dimensions of the process and to identify the various ways displacement can be experienced beyond the momentary event of spatial expulsion. At its core, this research contributes to emerging scholarship calling for urban displacement to be understood beyond the spatial practice of out-migration, and as nuanced, multidimensional process of material and psychosocial impacts rupturing between people and place across varying scales, contexts and temporalities.

 

‘Settlement Fabrics and Regenerative Food Supply – New Ways for Cities to Nourish People, Community and the Countryside’ (2021-2025)

Roger Erith 

This research seeks to determine whether it’s viable to weave scalable soil-based controlled environment agriculture (CAE), biophilia and waste mitigating energy production within a fabric of poetic and uplifting residential architectural programming. It’s envisaged such a system might help address challenges associated with human health, wellbeing and social connection, as well as help regenerate impoverished soils and biodiversity.  

 

Sustainability transitions in tourism in the Margaret River region (WA, Australia)

David Flood

The project is an outcome of collaborative research between Curtin University and the University of Aberdeen (Scotland). The research aims to determine the suitability of two sustainability transitions frameworks in the tourism sector. Those frameworks are the Multilevel Perspective and Evolutionary Economic Geography (mainly the Path Dependence theory). To carry out that research, a qualitative case study has been selected including semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. In that sense, the research aims to recruit relevant stakeholders involved in the tourism sector in the region including authorities, firms, local organisations, and members of the academia. 

 

How are sea/tree change rural communities sustained? Exploring how place attachment is formed and how community is performed (2020-2024)

Connor Goddard 

This project seeks to identify elements of place and local community key in developing and sustaining attachments to place within rural and remote areas. Through conducting research within two case study locations in Western Australia, Hopetoun and Kalbarri, data will be collected to extend current theoretical understandings of key concepts within the field of human/rural geography. These include; place attachment, belonging, post-productivism, community, and path dependence. Personal narratives, experiences and life-course transitions will subsequently be explored through the use of qualitative research methods. These methods, including semi-structured interviews, will provide the research scope to understand factors influencing counter-urbanisation flows and the development of prolonged attachments to place. Through extending existing research surrounding rural migratory patterns and broader life-course transitions, the research will provide a nuanced examination of the processes at play within sea and tree change communities.  

 

Home and Technology: Understanding designing for simultaneous occupation of multiple realities (2021-2023)

Tina Grimwade 

We find ourselves immersed in data flow – in and out. The house, once idealized as a place of retreat and recuperation, a private place away from public view has become a place of surveillance. As Space Cavier wrote in sqm the quantified home back in 2014, ‘You can shut the front door […] but, really, the wolf is [already] in the living room.’ Thanks to our intimate relationship with our devices, our situation is transactional. Bots listening in to our devices respond with unsolicited personalised feed including real and fake news, social media and advertisements. This research aims to explore the impact of technology on the concept and construct of home in relation to self; what and where is home? Do we expect beds, rooms, shelves and cupboards? What now does it mean to be ‘home’? As we discovered during COVID, in 2021 much of what we do is unrelated to our physical body or our physical location. Directed by these questions, the Practice-Based Methodology (P-BM) will draw on qualitative and quantitative data from mixed methods including a literature review, interviews, surveys and precedent studies informing a series of design propositions articulating ‘the house of the future’, which will be exhibited.

 

The Impact of Locally Organised Music Festivals on Community Resilience of Small, Remote Communities in Australia (2017-2025)

Shane Hennessy

A mixed methods analysis of 8 festivals across 4 states with interviews with both residents and visitors aimed at showing gains in social capital and by implication resilience

 

The Industrial Village Energy Approach: A Cost-Effective Approach To Balance Interests and Collaboratively Harness Onsite Solar Energy (2016-2020)

Lionel ‘Lio’ Hebert

While the residential sector has seen a strong and rapid uptake of photovoltaic panels on rooftops in the last decade, especially in Australia, the uptake has been much slower on commercial and industrial roofs. This research focuses on how commercial and industrial precincts fitted with an embedded electricity network can transition to cost-effective long-term onsite solar energy generation in a manner that creates multiple benefits. The thesis uses key lessons learned from a case study of the Perth Airport Industrial Precinct to present and develop a new concept called the ‘Industrial Village Energy Approach’. This approach aims at balancing the interests of energy customers and that of the embedded network operator. It also proposes a new arrangement of roles and functions for the embedded network operator and increased participation from the customers. Furthermore, the thesis presents a new governance framework designed to make these transitions efficient and cost-effective. 

 

Smart City: The Local Landscape
An integrative framework for supporting wellbeing, ethics and good governance in Local Government Smart City projects (2021-2023)

Belinda House

Local Governments are well positioned to implement Smart City projects that are responsive to real needs in the community and to test out new digital technology and spatial intelligence structures (Dowling 2019, Cowley et al. 2017, Komninos 2014). However, the opportunistic and entrepreneurial aspects of Smart Cities that can reshape notions of public life has led to an underlying tension with traditional approaches and values associated with strategic urban planning (Barns, 2016; Cowley et al., 2017; Hollands, 2008). The intent of this PhD by Compilation is to step through the Smart Cities paradigms from the global perspective, through the Australian digital ecosystem to the inner workings of “actually existing” (Shelton et al., 2015) local Smart City projects. A set of 5 scholarly articles will present the findings of each stage of inquiry and propose an integrated spatial framework to support sustainable strategic planning grounded in local issues, place and design culture that in turn can support ethics, wellbeing and good governance (Komninos et al., 2019; Marshall & Toffel, 2005; Newman, 2020; Zygiaris, 2013).

 

Chinese Investment in the Australian Housing Market and its Impacts (2019-2023)

Chenyu Huang

This study aims to understand the nature and the impact of Chinese investment in Australian housing; what the pull and push factors are, how these relate to policy shifts, and the overall impact on the Australia housing market. How Chinese investment in Australian housing reflects the tensions with neoliberalism in Australia and the relationship between foreign housing investment and capital switching theory is also a focus. Using a multi-method approach, the research will investigate Australia foreign housing investment, housing data, housing reports and policies. The findings of this study will contribute to understanding the nature of foreign investment in housing and the characteristics of the Australia political economy, as well as to inform an improved property market and investment environment in Australia.

 

The Role of Cultural Memory in Achieving Psychosocial Well-being in Historic Urban Landscape Conservation (2016-2020)

Fatmaelzahraa Hussein

What is the role of cultural memory in achieving human well-being? Do the current historic urban landscape (HUL) conservation practices maintain cultural memory and human psychosocial well-being? This PhD thesis by publication will answer these questions by exploring current practices in the conservation of historic urban landscapes. People form relationships to a place through acts of memory and there are linkages between cultural memory, urban landscapes and psychosocial well-being. This research aims to study the role of cultural memory in achieving psychosocial well-being in HUL conservation. The output from this study can be used as a case model to improve future HUL conservation plans.

 

Estimating and Reducing Road Carbon Emissions through Hybrid Life Cycle Assessment and Decomposition Analysis (2018-2021)

Rui Jiang

This research aims to estimate and explore strategies to reduce carbon emissions from the use and maintenance and rehabilitation (M&R) phases of roads. Four research objectives are achieved to tackle both infrastructure- and vehicle-related emissions in these two phases. First, an extensive literature review is conducted on studies related to emissions estimation and reduction of the use and M&R phases of roads, including the ones which adopt the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. Second, a structured hybrid LCA approach is proposed for road agencies to accurately estimate carbon emissions from the use and M&R of road infrastructures. A path exchange LCA method and a Tiered hybrid LCA method are integrated to improve accuracy. Third, the proposed hybrid LCA approach is embedded into a multi-attribute decision making framework to road agencies evaluate and select the most sustainable network-level pavement maintenance plan. The proposed hybrid LCA approach and decision making framework are both demonstrated with case studies in Western Australia. In addition, vehicle-related emissions during road use from 2009-2017 in Australia are also investigated by the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) approach to identify driving factors of the changes of emissions so as to establish appropriate emissions reduction strategies.

 

Sound in Urban Public Open Space: A Study of Human Activity, Sense of Place and Soundscapes (2017-2021)

Anthony Karro

The research is cross-disciplinary, drawing from social geography, urban design, and planning methodologies to explore the amenity of sound in public space. The research project harnesses GIS mapping technology as; an archival base for site-specific sound observations, in-field audio recordings, and geotagged public sound surveys. The outcomes seek to contribute to social-geography and sense of place research through applied listening methodologies. It also contributes to urban planning and design practice with an urban sound evaluation toolkit that assists practitioners evaluate, strategically plan, and design site-specific soundscapes. 

 

Stopped Down Cities: The Ethical Worlds of Street Photography on and off the Street (2019-2022) 

Adam Keen

The candid style of street photography is such that negotiations of ethics are indivisible from the practices that constitute the genre. Yet, in the social sciences, the ethics of street photography is in most cases reduced to normative, judicial, or urban rights frameworks. Such frameworks ignore how understandings of ethicality emerge through material arrangements, practice, and discourse. This research imagines the ethical world of street photography, following Kathleen Stewart and others, as an always-unfinished stabilisation of practice-discourse that emerges in the form of a recursive pattern of ethical enactment. The research focuses on the sites, claims, and creative expressions of this enactment. I work with representational materials (videos, texts, ethical events) and more-than-representational modes of ethnographic co-encounter towards an account of the ethical world of street photography. Producing a theoretical statement and empirical description on the social production of ethics in street photography is significant because it engages in philosophically challenging areas and concepts of flat ontological thinking such as agency, affect, and subjectivity, which sit at the cutting edge of anti-anthropocentric research.

 

Household and Institutional attitudes to emerging mobility technologies (2018-2022)

Ferenc Stephen Kovacs

Urban transportation is being ‘disrupted’ by innovative new ‘sharing economy’ applications such as car sharing, carpooling and ridesourcing (e.g. Uber). Road vehicle technologies are also undergoing some of the most far reaching changes since the invention of the internal combustion engine, including electrification and automation (i.e. self-driving cars). The research is predicated on the hypothesis that shared use of existing (and future) on-demand shared mobility services, when used in conjunction with traditional public transport, have the potential to ‘disrupt’ the car culture. This will result in a major reduction in the size of the private vehicle fleet allowing for re-purposing of parking related land. The aim of the research is to develop a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the uptake and use of the new shared mobility applications by the traveling public and their attitudes towards autonomous vehicles. The research also aims to understand the factors shaping institutional-level decision-making. 

 

Interior MARSitecture: Designing for Isolation and Confinement (2018-2022)

Jennifer Lane

Within decades we may see the first humans on Mars, with both public and private entities competing to get the first humans on its surface. The planet’s incompatibility with human life requires a habitat that is self-sufficient and contains all the amenities necessary to sustain humans both physiologically and psychologically. Beyond the physiological concerns of inhabiting Mars, a growing body of research aims to understand the psychological problems of occupying such a space. This knowledge is emerging from studies undertaken within ICE (Isolated, Confined and Extreme) environments and ‘Mars Analogues’, where the human experience is thought to be analogous with inhabiting Mars. These include, for example, Antarctic Stations, Mars Simulation missions & the International Space Station. ‘Interior MARSitecture’ aims to understand how the interior architecture of habitats on Mars can contribute to the psychological wellbeing of astronauts. 

 

Developing an ontology-based road asset management framework through Linked Data (2019-2022)

Xiang Lei

This study aims to establish a novel ontology model through Linked Data and Neo4j in the road asset management process in order to improve informed decision making in real-life road asset management practices.

 

Identifying the potentials of Business Intelligence (BI) systems in promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns – the concept of a Sustainable Business Intelligence System (SBIS) (2015-2023)

Molla E Majid

Sustainable development is an important consideration nowadays due to global warming and the continuing depletion of natural resources. Introducing sustainable consumption and production patterns is central to achieving sustainability. Many countries together with the United Nations have reiterated this fact in multiple global forums and platforms, including the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, promoting responsible consumption. Science and technology have proven to be effective in fighting poverty and transitioning to cleaner energy sources, they also have an influence in encouraging sustainable patterns of consumption and production. This research explores the potential of information technology to achieve one of the targets of SDG12, which is to use technology in promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns. The concept of a Sustainable Business Intelligence System (SBIS) is developed as a tool for transitioning towards sustainable practices.

 

Sustainable Mobility framework for Road Safety in mixed use development (2017-2025)

Shariful Alam Malik 

The trend of the current planning approach towards more infill mixed use development to combat wider urban sprawling is expected to put substantial pressure on transport sector. It contributes to a new dimension of complexity and challenges in urban mobility due to new technologies, increasing travel demand, shared space, multi-modal users and their preferences. Australian road design largely includes the role of traffic designers and auditors, however; little attention has been posed on community preference and knowledge as a component of a greater road safety issue. A sustainable mobility framework perspective to road safety strategies suggests shared responsibility, inclusive design process to reduce fatalities and developing priorities and improving public support, trust and motivation of the stakeholders, which defines the characteristics of mixed-use development. The proposed research aims to develop a road safety strategy that takes into account users’ need and expectation to formulate efficient road design within nixed use areas of the Cockburn City of Western Australia. 

 

An improved model for assessing the viability of small property developers during lending applications (2017-2021)

Monica Martin

Small property developers in Australia find it increasingly challenging to access finance for their property developments. The loan application viability assessment process is onerous and requires extensive financial literacy and industry experience on the part of the small property developer. This study examines how banks view and assess the viability of this group’s credit applications. Evidence and findings from the Financial Services Royal Commission is considered and weighed against industry practices and perceptions. The aim of this research is to assist small property developers to improve their applications for finance through a comprehensive model which indicates red flags as perceived by lenders.

 

Gender relations in agranian communities in Eastern Highlands Province, PNG (2019-2023)

Jennifer McKellar

This project examines how a shift from coffee to food production in parts of Eastern Highlands Province affects gender relations. A move to commercial fresh food production has the potential to empower women through greater access to economic benefits and control over income allocation. The research has value in identifying pathways and challenges to women’s empowerment in a country which ranks poorly in gender equality. A mixed methods approach, which draws on feminist geography and theories of social embeddedness, is being utilised. Furthermore, the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 have engendered novel forms of ethnographic data collection using technology which is in itself transforming PNG society.

 

Creating an effective meeting point between ‘induced’ and ‘organic’ public participation in Pune, India through high quality public deliberation coordinated by an independent third party (2014-2021)

Sanskriti Menon

The objective of the research is to introduce high quality deliberation to existing public participation initiatives and opportunities in Pune, India, coordinated by an independent third party, and examine its effectiveness as a meeting point between ‘induced’ (top down) and ‘organic’ (bottom up) public participation in urban areas in India, and more broadly. The initiatives include street design and participatory budgeting. This research seeks to understand whether high quality deliberation, coordinated by an independent third party, can effectively fill the gap between induced and organic forms of participation by providing structures and procedures to enable equitable, inclusive and effective participation in a democratic, developing country context.  

 

Circular Economy of Prefabricated Buildings and Life Cycle Assessment (2016-2020)

Roberto Minunno

https://l3.curtin.edu.au/ 

The building sector has a significant impact globally on the environment and includes depletion of natural resources, waste production causing pressure on landfills, greenhouse gas emissions resulting in global warming, embodiment of substantial amounts of energy. These environmental consequences are observed during the life cycle of buildings. The materials and components that result from decommissioned buildings could either be disposed to landfill, or recycled, remanufactured and reused in their second life. The circular economy approach aims to turn waste construction materials into new resources. This concept has been successfully applied to many industry sectors, but research reported for buildings and empirical studies have been relatively limited. To investigate possible solutions to this issue, this PhD mixes theory and practice by building a circular economy prototype as a case study and exploring the related empirical implications. By applying these strategies to a modular building, a prototype of a disassemblable and reusable building, namely the Legacy Living Lab was manufactured. Further, a life cycle assessment method was adopted to calculate the environmental benefits of applying the circular economy to buildings. This PhD concludes with the creation of the Curtin University asset, the Legacy Living Lab. This movable research facility is meant to be the breeding ground for further research on the circular economy of buildings. Its success depends on networking strategies between research institutes or universities, creating new knowledge; industry partners, pushing the boundaries of new product development; and society, influencing the market and policies. It was proved that, in so doing, up to 88% of greenhouse gas equivalent emissions could be avoided for Legacy Living Lab.

N-Z

Smart active transportation infrastructure to achieve sustainable mobility (2018-2022)

Negar Nili

This research study intends to investigate how technology can be used to improve active mobility in Australian cities. It focuses on Active Transportation Infrastructure (ATI) elements as one of the main factors of transportation system. The ATI is the physical features of active transportation mode (e.g., width and quality of pathway, cycle track, bike lane) and the social and behavioural aspects of this mode of transportation. The research approach uses mix-methods to explore the potential for smart technology to support active transportation and to inform a concept of Smart Active Transportation Infrastructure (SmATI). This research takes into account the individuals (experts, general people) understanding and priorities in terms of using technology to improve active transportation system. The findings will provide new and updated knowledge for designers, urban planners, and decision-makers on the design system to use technology for future SmATI. 

 

Dynamic Capabilities in Multicultural Project Teams (2019-2024)

Ephraim Osaghae

This research examines the significance of cultural diversity in project management teams and the impact on project outcomes. It will also involve the development and testing of a structural model from identified variables with a view to enhancing the benefits of multicultural teams to projects and organisations. A mixed-method research design is used for the investigation. The study combines qualitative analysis of experiences of culturally diverse members of project management executives and professionals in the initial phase followed by quantitative modelling of key relationships in the context of dynamic capabilities in multicultural teams and based on findings from the first phase. 

 

Homeowner’s perspective on heating and cooling methods in new housing in Perth (2014-2021)

Srimin Perera

The increase of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere is rapidly changing the climate leading to extinction of species, rising sea levels and expanding deserts. In Australia, a considerable portion of these emissions comes from energy used for heating and cooling the households. There is an urgent need to take action towards reducing emissions, and there is also a great body of knowledge existing on ways to design and build that use very little or no energy to heat and cool, however, homes are still using large amounts of energy to operate. This study investigates the influencing factors for homeowner-occupiers which led to the space conditioning features in the design of the new home. 

 

Identifying and Incorporating Community Coastal Values in Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Planning: A Case Study of the South West of Western Australia (2017-2021)

Craig Perry

This research is a community focused coastal climate change study; it will show how community coastal values can be identified and incorporated into coastal hazard risk management and adaptation planning in Western Australia. Coastal hazard risk management and adaptation planning are often undertaken from an engineering perspective. However, because sustainability deals with social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of the coast, it is important that technical information supports, and is supported by, clear understanding of how the community interprets and values the coast. The research aims to gain a better understanding of what communities currently value on the coast and how these values may be impacted as a result of climate change. The research also aims to explore how social learning can enhance understanding and knowledge uptake of coastal climate change in the community. The research results will then be used to inform the development of a coastal hazard risk management and adaptation planning framework to better plan and manage current and future coastal risks. These processes in turn help support coastal sustainability. 

 

World Heritage Buffer Zone as a Liminal Place: A Study of Pasargadae and Sheikh Safi-ad-din (Iran) (2015-2020)

Parisa Pourhosseini

The World Heritage Buffer zones are a valuable tool for the conservation of properties on the World Heritage List. Throughout the history of the World Heritage Convention, the protection of the ‘surroundings’ of listed properties was considered an essential component of the conservation strategy, for cultural and natural sites alike. This thesis is an investigation of the social process of construction of place in two buffer zones: Pasargadae and Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble. This thesis explores buffer zones as liminal spaces – the transitory spaces – where different actors have inscribed parallel personal and communal spaces within them by reproducing patterns of usage and movement that reflect their daily lives, including conflict, rather than allowing them to be fully transformed into a general protected

area. 

 

Narrating woven textile construction: identifying and amplifying traces of hand weaving in Perth, Dhaka and Rajshahi (2014-2021)

Jessica Priemus

www.jessicapriemus.com

In the past three decades, global shifts in cloth and garment production have resulted in the typical person in Australia having low levels of exposure to textile weaving processes. To counteract the implications of a disconnect between consumption and production, the fashion industry has made movements towards greater transparency and traceability using a variety of technologies and media. The intention of my research is not to disregard the role of this additional media, but to explore the potential for the textile itself to serve as the site for further user engagement. In light of this, this thesis poses the question: how can the temporal, spatial and personal qualities of a textile be aesthetically amplified to further express the fundamentals of weaving? This research is drawn from the literature of a diverse range of fields, including textiles, architecture and practice-led research knowledge. It was conducted across Australia, my country of residence, and Bangladesh, a country known for its high level of garment and textile production for export. By recording the materialisation of processes in cloth and analysing participant reactions to that materialisation, the weaving act is revealed as a sometimes flawed explicit and implicit marker of space, time, and the person behind it. 

 

It’s all about food
What is the contribution of food production and consumption to the sustainability of the Lower Blackwood catchment area historically and what are future opportunities? (2017-2023)

Angela Rooney

This doctoral research will examine the local food system in the Lower Blackwood catchment area in the southwest of Western Australia through investigating the question, “What is the contribution of food production and consumption of the Lower Blackwood catchment area historically and what are future opportunities?” This doctoral research will investigate the linkages between food production and consumption, community and history of the area, examining the influence of both local and global trends. Based on landholder and other stakeholder(s) interviews, research of archival material, mapping workshops and focus groups, stories of local food in the context of the social history of the area will be documented and presented in a creative production. 

 

Preserving cultural heritage in informal settlements through placemaking; the case of Islamabad, Pakistan (2015-2021)

Ramisa Shafqat

This study argues that enhanced liveability requires safeguarding the cultural heritage of a place. It investigates the process of indigenous concepts permeating into informal settlements as rural migrants transport intangible cultural heritage from the regions into the city. Socio-cultural and spatial dimensions of informal settlements are investigated from a sustainability lens, using informal settlements in Islamabad, Pakistan, as case studies. The research finds that placemaking preserves cultural heritage and could be used as an alternative approach towards improving liveability in informal settlements.  

 

Making a difference to primary education in rural India: A case study of a non-resident association (2013-2020)

Sandeep Sharma

India is a signatory to the United Nations’ programs, accepting to implement the Millennium Development Goals and their successor, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While progress on universal primary education has been made since 2000, attaining equitable education for all (SDG4), remains a challenge in rural India. Given India’s large diaspora, this thesis analyses the impact of a new model of educational support through the work of a non-resident expatriate association, India Rural Education and Development Inc. (IREAD). It uses a 2011–2019 longitudinal case study of a government school in the village of Lakhnu, Uttar Pradesh. The research concludes that a major shift is difficult to achieve but IREAD’s contribution delivers small steps in the right direction to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children in rural India.

 

Integrating Folk values in primary education in Bangladesh: Sustainability Perspective (2015-2022)

Saria Tasnim

Integration of folklore in primary education would particularly help rediscover the roots of regaining the degrading self-reliance through reviving traditional lifestyle and stewardship for achieving UN declared Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh. Thus, the study stresses to reinstate folklore education right from the primary level as the best means of learning and acquiring sustainability management values such as simplicity, self-reliance, respecting nature, resilience etc. The main objective of the study is to highlight the aspects of folklore that are profoundly related to primary education and practices in Bangladesh. The complementary objectives are: where to find the traditional folklore; how to integrate folklore into formal or informal educational system at foundation level; and what policy initiatives could be undertaken for achieving the SDGs.

 

Improving Dhaka’s Livability through Sustainable Architecture (2017-2021)

Shagufta Munir Trishna

The study will investigate safety issues underlying within the built environment of Dhaka, Bangladesh, particularly its industrial buildings, where garments manufacturing factories have momentously contributed to the economy. It will identify the principal causes of past building tragedies within the garment industry, investigate the allocation of responsibility for ensuring safety accountability of those incidents and how/if Dhaka is progressing towards a sustainable and livable future. It also studies whether Dhaka endeavours the practice of sustainable architecture and acknowledges the significance of “safety” within built environment, specifically within commercial workplaces. The research will examine practicality and magnitude of “safety” in the context of Dhaka’s workplace environment and its interrelation with sustainability and livability. It will identify how negligence of safety, could raise risk of any possible future building casualties. 

 

Land Use Planning in New Town Development from A Sustainability Perspective – A Case Study of Ningbo Eastern New Town of China (2016-2021)

Liang Wen

Using Ningbo Eastern New Town as a case study, this research explores how sustainability requirements can increase the value of land in new town development. 

 

Increasing Political Trust through Deliberative Mini-Publics: The Role of Public Participation Partnerships Required for Sustainability (2014-2020)

Robert Weymouth

The ideal approach to “wicked” problems, such as those associated with the implementation of sustainability, requires cooperative, deliberative and adaptive tactics. A social technology called deliberative democracy shows great promise as a tool to address these types of problems.  This thesis by publication consisting of two refereed book chapters and four refereed journal articles, presents evidence to support such a contention. It makes practical recommendations about how to use public participation through deliberative mini-publics to increase political trust and scale these successful experiments to assist the current global sustainability agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals. The thesis describes the dynamics that have brought trust to this low point and outlines alternatives that can improve the situation. The suite of six published refereed papers helps develop the argument that it is possible to increase political trust by using deliberative mini-publics, and to orient the City’s full budgets towards sustainability. They demonstrate and reflect on the role of public participation in actioning the transition towards sustainability. 

 

Navigating the transition to rooftop solar in an islanded electricity system (2016-2021)

Sam Wilkinson

This thesis by compilation focuses on navigating the energy transition occurring in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) in southern Western Australia to accommodate very high levels of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The SWIS is an islanded electricity system that has some of the highest global installation rates of rooftop solar, which together with its aging coal generation fleet provides insight into transition issues to be navigated by other electricity systems in coming years. The multi-level perspective (MLP) of transition theory is used to frame the research and understand the transition dynamics occurring within the SWIS and its supporting socio-technical environment. 

 

How city planning can contribute towards making urban environments more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable: a case study of Quezon City, Philippines (2017-2021)

Jerome B. Zayas

The Sustainable Development Goals call for a concerted effort by all countries to leave no one behind, especially the poor and vulnerable sectors, who have been left out of the gains of development and who remain marginalised in decision-making. This situation has created a new focus on a complementary effort at locally-driven development led by cities.  Using a Case Study Research of Quezon City, Philippines, this study investigates how city planning can contribute towards making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by understanding the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in city planning and suggesting a framework to improve future practices in city planning.