Wikke Novalia



Wikke started her PhD with the Monash Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Programme (GRIP) in Water and Sustainability in Asia in early 2015. She had previously worked as a project engineer handling several water infrastructure design projects in Indonesia. An engineer by training, she holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. The unique interdisciplinary research opportunity offered by Monash speaks to her enduring passion for understanding broader sustainability transformations in the infrastructure sectors, in particular in developing countries. Her past research experiences include an investigation into the quality of household drinking water in remote communities in Thailand and Laos. Currently, her research investigates the interrelationships of agency and structure that shape and reshape contemporary infrastructure programs in Indonesian cities. Since 2015 Wikke also co-delivered the Water Sensitive module at the International Water Centre Masters program.

Research Topic

Diagnosing strategic actions and opportunities for urban transformations in developing cities

Research Interests

sustainability, urban transformation, agency, practice theory, institutional work

Project Summary

Wikke’s project focuses on understanding strategic actions and opportunities for facilitating sustainability transformations through infrastructure programs in developing cities. Her research is designed around two qualitative case studies of public infrastructure initiatives in Jakarta and Surabaya. Her objective is to provide insights into agent-based mechanisms that strategically influence and steer the next big infrastructure commitments and investments being made in these cities. She draws extensively from social practice theory and institutional work perspectives in generating a diagnostic framework of strategic agency. This approach allows her to unpack the different ways in which actors exploit windows of opportunities for enacting change. The goal is to contribute to the emerging debate that developing cities–being less technologically entrenched than developed cities as they are–may, hypothetically speaking, escape lock-in conditions more readily.


Prof Rebekah Brown
Dr Briony Rogers
Dr Joanette Bos