Research

Human Geographers at Monash are engaged in empirically driven, social science explorations across different facets of geographical studies. Our researchers explore aspects of environmental, urban, and development geography – building a rich understanding of societal interactions within and over space, place and time. The interdisciplinary nature of Geography helps foster strong working relationships with engineers, climate scientists, economists and biological scientists, among others. Across Australia and within the Asian-Pacific region, our researchers have fostered strong connections with leading international Universities and organisations.

Human Geographers currently lead projects within two key interdisciplinary flagship research programs: Wealth from Waste and the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. With environment and resource issues at their core, each research program examines contemporary challenges with an eye to revealing future pathways towards delivering more sustainable, resilient urban and regional environments, within Australia and abroad.

Our research strengths include:

  • Environmental governance (with expertise in both waste and water governance)
  • Urban sustainability transitions (understanding pathways for change)
  • Green infrastructure and landscapes
  • Processes and practices to transform waste products (reuse, recycling)
  • Liveable, productive and resilient urban environments
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Political Ecology

Key Research Programs

The Wealth from Waste program is led by Dr Ruth Lane, and is an international collaboration among four Australian universities, CSIRO and Yale University in the United States. This Program conceives of the contemporary cities as ‘urban mines’, and maps and evaluates the potential resources of recyclable metal within Australian cities, focusing on household electronics and scrap metal from buildings.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities is a research-industry partnership with over 80 partners from across Australia and International countries (i.e. the Netherlands, China and Singapore), undertaking over 34 discrete research projects exploring how to reconsider what we think of as ‘urban water’ and the way it is managed. For example, Dr Megan Farrelly leads research examining urban water governance to understand how alternative water sources, such as stormwater, can be utilised as a resource for improving waterway health, increasing green spaces and improving urban liveability. Dr Farrelly also examines how the broader research outcomes of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities is translated into practical change. Dr Ruth Lane also works with a team exploring improved regulatory practices for adopting alternative water sources.

Our research and academic staff are also heavily involved in supervising postgraduate students. We have a rich and diverse PhD student cohort, studying a variety of topics. If you are interested in exploring opportunities for undertaking PhD studies, then please click here to find out more about the School of Social Sciences program. Examples of contemporary research projects being supervised within Geography include:

  • The role of trans-national linkages in fostering innovation to deliver sustainable sanitation systems in Indonesia
  • The adaptive capacity of urban water governance in Bangladesh.
  • Can urban agriculture assist in delivering water sensitive cities?
  • Multi-level Water Governance: reflections from Johor, Malaysia
  • The acquisition, use and disposal of portable electronic devices in Australian households.
  • The role of social entrepreneurs in advancing water sensitive cities.

We also provide supervision for Masters by Coursework Students. Examples of current research topics are listed below:

  1. What is required for a ‘just’ and sustainable energy transition within Australia?
  2. Biodiversity conservation initiatives on indigenous lands 
  3. Changing discourse around municipal solid waste management in Melbourne – a historical analysis
  4. What are the economic and social barriers to longer-lasting product use and the purchase of used products? How can they be overcome?
  5. Rethinking our drinking water: The role of recycled water in a Water Sensitive City