University of Sydney Handbooks - 2017 Archive

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Research centres and areas of interest – Urbanism

Urban and regional planning research has been established in the school since the late 1940s, covering a wide range of subject areas, including international studies with a focus on Southeast Asia and the Pacific; metropolitan planning; housing studies; regional policy and many other fields of policy and development.

A recently established urban design program provides additional opportunities to conduct research into the design dimensions of urban form.

The School is also home to the Cities Network and Urban Housing Lab, and has strong links with the Festival of Urbanism, Henry Halloran Trust

For further information contact Professor Nicole Gurran (

) or any member of the research group.

Research centres

Ian Buchan Fell Housing Research Centre

Ian Buchan Fell, who died in 1961, left the income from his estate to the University for the promotion and encouragement of education and research on housing. The centre is concerned with the needs of people relative to their housing. These needs are related to the complex interactions between people, their housing and other aspects of the built environment.

Planning Research Centre

The Planning Research Centre's main purpose is to further fundamental research into physical planning and development. It also sponsors seminars in specialised fields, undertakes research and consultancy projects, runs professional development courses and promotes the publication of research material. It has an active membership comprised of members of government and industry.

Areas of research interest

  • urban planning and regional comparative planning system
  • collaborative environmental planning and management
  • planning for environmental sustainability
  • planning for housing accessibility, diversity and affordability
  • coastal protection and growth
  • informal urbanism
  • social and environmental justice
  • community forestry
  • political ecology
  • natural resource management
  • sustainable development and climate change
  • urban policy and planning locally and internationally
  • suburban economic development
  • poverty and inequality
  • rural communities
  • community development and sustainable planning
  • urban planning research and education
  • gated communities
  • tourism development in Pacific urban planning
    development aid policy
  • environmental impact assessments
  • housing policy in developing countries
  • Indigenous settlement and land tenure issues
  • geographic information systems
  • economic development
  • planning support systems
  • visualisation
  • commuting behaviour
  • spatial decision making.