Research

  • The Centre for Geography and Environmental Science’s research efforts are inherently interdisciplinary and illuminate changes in human behaviour and the physical environment on a wide range of spatial scales from the local to global. In 2013, the Centre was 23rd in the QS World University Rankings, 1st among equivalent units at Australia’s major research universities (the Group of Eight), and rated 4 (‘above world standard’) in the following Australian government (ANZSIC) Fields of Research: Atmospheric Science (0401), Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience (0406), Human Geography (1604); and Archaeology (2101). An overview of our primary research themes and associated people, centres, and programs is presented below.

    Urban and Regional Development

    Most of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and the challenges to which this shift gives rise are immense. This research group works at the interface of these challenges, focusing on the economic drivers of development, outcomes around social justice and displacement, governance practices and urban policy, labour market shifts, and diverse cultural understandings of place. Our research contributes directly to urban and regional development policy.

    People:

    Environmental Governance, Business and Society

    We seek ways to govern the environment more sustainably. We investigate significant global issues such as overconsumption of environmental resources and related environmental degradation through focusing on the nexus between transformations in business practice and broader societal change. We also use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to design and implement environmental and spatial decision support systems and spatial analysis for environmental management applications.

    People:

    Political Ecology and International Development

    Environments around the world are changing rapidly in ways that are highly contested, particularly in developing countries. Issues like biodiversity conservation, agricultural intensification, and sustainable development gain global attention but have local impacts, and are shaped as much by political, economic, and cultural forces as by the ecology of the resource in question. We address these issues in Australia and in developing countries around the Indian Ocean historically and in the present, and with a view towards future solutions.

    People :

    Centres:

    Physical Geography

    We study soils, vegetation, water, landforms and climate. Our work has improved the understanding of key environmental processes and their management, as well as providing benefits to human health and the economy. For example, we have developed a heat wave alert system for Victoria and systems to predict seasonal bushfire activity. Our research on hydrology, ecosystems and soils has led to improved sustainable land and water management policies and practices. We study the causes and predictability of drought and the way extreme weather and climate events are changing as the world warms. Our expertise in reconstructing and understanding past variations in vegetation and climate is globally recognized. This knowledge is key to understanding and managing present landscapes and for the prediction of future environmental change. Our research provides the basis for frequent advice to governments and other decision-makers, within Australia and internationally.

    People:

    Centres:

    Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing

    GIS is concerned with the acquisition, management, analysis, integration and communication of spatial data and information; remote sensing refers to the collection of spatial data from satellites and airplanes. We apply GIS and remote sensing in climatology, geomorphology, hydrology, archaeology, land resource management, demographic analysis and urban studies. We are involved in developing new GIS-based tools to help understand complex spatial data, communicate and deliver spatial data, and support decision and policymaking.

    People: