Re-imagining People

The Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project is a result of the collaborative effort of many dedicated researchers, academic staff and our industry partners. Short biographies of our team are presented here in research groups:

Biodiversity Planning

EcoFootprint of Aurora & Sustainable Urban Water Systems

EcoHome – Sustainability and innovation in housing developments

Ecological Sustainability and Urban Development

Local Governance and Community Building in Urban Planning

Project Coordinator

Image of Margaret

Margaret Lee

Position: Project Coordinator

Qualifications: B.Des (Industrial) RMIT

Contact Margaret:

Margaret is the coordinator of the Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project. Margaret works with the researchers to identify opportunities for the project’s development and growth as well as organize conferences and general administration. Margaret’s background is in Industrial Design, which fostered her interest in sustainable design. She has worked as an intern for the National Australia Bank, helping to co-ordinate the organisation’s green office program and is currently undertaking her Masters in Sociology, specialising in International Urban and Environmental Management.

Biodiversity Planning

Image of Sarah

Dr. Sarah Bekessy

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: Bsc (Hons) University of QLD, PhD Melbourne

Contact Sarah:

Sarah currently supervises many of the researchers involved in the Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project. She also teaches environmental studies and sustainability at RMIT University.

For further information on Sarah’s experience and publications.

Image of Mick

Dr. Michael McCarthy

Position: Project Supervisor

Qualifications: BForSci (hons) Melbourne, PhD Melbourne

Contact Mick:

Mick conducts research on ecological risk assessment and how to make management decisions in the face of uncertainty. His undergraduate background was forest science, while his PhD considered the use of population models in wildlife management. Prior to his current position as Senior Ecologist with the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Mick was employed by The University of Melbourne, UC Santa Barbara, Adelaide University and The Australian National University.


Harper, M.J., McCarthy, M.A., and van der Ree, R. (2005). The abundance of hollow-bearing trees in urban dry sclerophyll forest and the effect of wind on hollow development. Biological Conservation 122: 181-192.

McCarthy M.A., Thompson C.J. and Possingham H.P. (2005). Theory for designing nature reserves for single species. American Naturalist 165: 250-257.

McCarthy, M.A., Parris, K.M., van der Ree, R., McDonnell, M.J., Burgman, M.A., Williams, N.S.G., McLean, N., Harper, M., Meyer, R., Hahs A., and Coates, T. (2004). The habitat hectares approach to vegetation assessment: an evaluation and suggestions for improvement. Ecological Management and Restoration 5: 24-27.

For further information on Mick’s experience and work.

Dr. Brendan Wintle

Position: Project Supervisor

Qualifications: PhD, B.For.Sci (Hons)


Brendan trained in Forest Science and Ecology at the University of Melbourne, worked in Forest Policy for the Queensland State Government for 2 years before commencing a PhD in Ecological Modelling at the University of Melbourne under Professor Mark Burgman. His PhD focused on improving statistical and mathematical methods for predicting the distribution of wildlife. Since completing his PhD, Brendan has worked as a Post Doctoral Researcher in Melbourne and Canada, applying statistical and mathematical tools in environmental decision making and monitoring. He has collaborated with state and local governments on several habitat mapping and management consultancies, including the NSW large owl recovery team. He is particularly interested in the application of mathematical and statistical tools in decision making with the goals of improving transparency and accountability and incorporating risk and uncertainty in decisions in a coherent manner. Brendan also sits on the Australian Forest Certification reference panel and takes a keen interest in all conservation issues.


Wintle, B. A., and D. B. Bardos. 2005. Modelling species habitat relationships with spatially autocorrelated observation data. Ecological Applications. In press.

Wintle, B. A., J. Elith, and J. Potts. 2005. Fauna habitat modelling and mapping; A review and case study in the Lower Hunter Central Coast region of NSW. Austral Ecology. In press.

Wintle, B. A., M. A. McCarthy, C. T. Volinsky, and R. P. Kavanagh. 2003. The use of Bayesian Model Averaging to better represent the uncertainty in ecological models. Conservation Biology 17:1579-1590.

Wintle, B. A., M. A. McCarthy, K. P. Parris, and M. A. Burgman. 2004. Precision and bias of methods for estimating point survey detection probabilities. Ecological Applications 14:703-712.

Wintle, B. A., R. P. Kavanagh, M. A. McCarthy, and M. A. Burgman. 2005. Estimating and dealing with detectability in occupancy surveys for forest owls and arboreal marsupials. Journal of Wildlife Management. In press.

For further information on Brendan’s experience.

Image of Ascelin

Dr. Ascelin Gordon

Position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Project: Frameworks for assessing the persistence of biodiversity in urban fringe areas

Qualifications: B.Sc (Hons) UniMelb, PhD (Physics) Melbourne

Contact Ascelin:

Ascelin works as a Post Doc on the Biodiversity Planning in Urban Fringe Landscapes project. The aim is to develop a more strategic approach to conservation planning in urban environments using recent advancements in ecological modelling and mathematical optimisation. Ascelin has a background in physics, and completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in early 2004. His PhD research was in the field of Experimental Particle Physics and now applying his skills in statistical data analysis, programming and modelling to the field of ecology and biological conservation.

Image of Bill

Dr. Bill Langford

Position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Project: Prioritizing actions within offset/mitigation policies through credit assignment under uncertainty

Qualifications: BS (Math.) Univ. Oregon, PhD (Computer Science) Oregon State Univ.


Bill does research in biological applications of machine learning, graph theory, and optimization. Before coming to RMIT, he worked as a systems analyst at an environmental engineering company, did a Masters on machine learning in protein secondary structure prediction, and a PhD on image segmentation. He also did a postdoc at NCEAS at UC Santa Barbara working on a variety of topics including cost-sensitive learning in fluvial geomorphology, graph theory in ecology, spatial accuracy in landscape ecology, and self-organizing behavior in fish schooling.


Langford, W.T., S. Gergel, T.G. Dietterich, and W. Cohen. Map misclassification can cause large errors in landscape pattern indices: Examples from habitat fragmentation. Ecosystems. In press.

Moret, S.L., W.T. Langford., and D.D. Margineantu. 2006. Learning to Predict Channel Stability using Biogeomorphic Features. Ecological Modelling 191(1):47-57.

Regan, H., Y. Ben-Haim, B. Langford, Y., W. Wilson, P. Lundberg, S. Andelman and M. Burgman. 2005. Robust decision making under severe uncertainty for conservation management. Ecological Applications 15(4): 1471–1477.

Image of Georgia

Georgia Garrard

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:Issues of Imperfect Detectability in Plant Conservation

Qualifications: BA (Hons), BSc (Env. Sci) Melbourne


Since completing Honours in Geography in 2002, Georgia has worked for two years in environmental consulting and spent 6 months running an ecolodge in Tasmania's Freycinet National Park.

[return to the top of the page]

EcoFootprint of Aurora & Sustainable Urban Water Systems

Image of Tim

Tim Grant

Position: Chief Investigator

Project:Sustainable Urban Water Systems

EcoFootprint of Aurora Residential Development


Tim has been working with the Centre for Design at RMIT University since 1996, focusing on Life Cycle Assessment and EcoDesign projects, and has been the Assistant Director of the Centre for Design since June 2003. Tim's primary role is to develop and manage the LCA program.

For further information on Tim’s experience.

Image of Lisa

Lisa Opray

Position: Research Consultant

Qualifications: B. Eng RMIT

Project:Sustainable Urban Water Systems


Lisa studied a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at RMIT University before being employed at a large engineering consultancy where she specialised in hydrogeology. Lisa is now working as a Research Consultant at the Centre for Design and undertaking a Masters in Engineering (Sustainable Energy) at RMIT University part time.

[return to the top of the page]

EcoHome – Sustainability and innovation in housing developments

Prof. Michael Berry

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: BEc(Hons) Sydney, BA, MEc New England, Grad Dip UrbRegSt Birmingham, PhD Melbourne


Mike is a leading scholar of urban studies and public policy. His research role at the RMIT-AHURI/NATSEM research centre has focused on urban development processes, urban social theory, economics and policy, and housing markets and policy. Professor Berry has been carrying out research of national significance and international reach into alternative financing approaches for affordable housing.

For further information on Mike’s experience and publications.

Image of Indu

Dr. IndubhushanPatnaikuni

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: B.Eng, M.Tech., Ph. D


Indubhushan is a senior lecturer at RMIT University. His research interests include High Performance Concrete, Sustainability, Composite Structures and Infrastructure Management.

For further information on Indubhushan’s experience and publications.

Image of Saman

Dr. Saman De Silva

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: B.Eng (Civil)University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka, PhD (Structures) Melbourne

Contact Saman:saman de

Saman is a senior lecturer at RMIT University. His research interests include Structural dynamics, performance based earthquake engineering and fire engineering, numerical methods in prediction modelling, advanced structural modelling and analysis, computational mechanics and decision support in sustainable civil infrastructure development and management.

For further information on Saman’s experience and publications.

Helen Lewis

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: B.Ec ANU, Grad Dip Swinburne, M.Sc Monash

Helen Lewis is a Research Consultant with the Centre for Design at RMIT University. She has spent over 15 years in the environmental field, working with industry, government and academia on programs to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption. This has included 7 years at the Centre for Design (including over 3 years as Director) and positions with EcoRecycle Victoria and the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association. Helen’s particular areas of interest include sustainable packaging and product stewardship.

Graham Treloar

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: PhD, M.Arch., B.Arch (Hons)

Dr Treloar is an expert in embodied energy, embodied water, Life Cycle Inventory Assessment and sustainable construction. He is currently employed as a senior lecturer at Deakin University.

Image of Shafiq

Syed Mohammed ShafiqurRahman

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:Assessing the long term environmental performance of the EcoHome

Qualifications: BSc Eng (Civil), MEng (Env), GradIEAust


Completed BSc in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 1999; Completed Master of Environmental Engineering in 2002 (University of Melbourne); Engineer (civil) at Nortask Pty Ltd, Dalby and Mt Isa, Queensland from Jan 2005 – Feb 2005. PhD Student at RMIT from March 2004-current; Graduate member (Engineers Australia) and Member (American Concrete Institute-ACI).


Syed M S Rahman, Tom C K Molyneaux and Indubhushan Patnaikuni “Compressive Strength of Modified Reactive Powder Concrete”, Proceedings of the ICACC 2004, 16-18 Dec 2004, Hyderabad, India, pp 999-1008.

Syed M S Rahman, Tom C K Molyneaux and Indubhushan Patnaikuni “Development of Modified Reactive Powder Concrete with Compressive Strength of 110-120 MPa”, (Accepted for the ISEC-03 conference in Sept 2005, Japan).

Syed M S Rahman, Tom C K Molyneaux and Indubhushan Patnaikuni “Ultra High Performance Concrete: Recent Applications and Research”, Australian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol 2, No 1, 2005. (Article in press).

Syed M S Rahman, Saman de Silva and Indubhushan Patnaikuni “Instrumentation and Monitoring Strategies in Measuring the Performance of Sustainable Housing”, (Accepted for the ISEC-03 conference in Sept 2005, Japan).

Fiona Martin

Position: PhD Candidate

[return to the top of the page]

Ecological Sustainability and Urban Development

Image of Dave

Assoc Professor David Mercer

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: BA (Hons) Camb, Dip Ed Camb, PhD Monash


Dave currently supervises two of the research clusters involved in the Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project (see also Local Government and Community Building below). He also teaches environmental studies and sustainability at RMIT University. Dave’s main research interests are in the areas of natural resource management and environmental policy and politics at the local, national and international scales.

For further information on Dave’s experience and publications.

Professor Tony Dalton

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: FelDipArch RMIT, GradDipPubPol Melbourne, MsocSc Birmingham, PhD RMIT


Tony currently supervises two students involved in the Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project and is Dean of Research and Innovation here at RMIT. He has a strong background in housing policy issues.

For further information on Tony’s experience and publications.

Dr. Richard Hyde

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: BSc(Hons) Aston, DipArch Birm. Poly., PhD CNAA, RAIA

Richard is a registered architect who has been working in the field of environmental architectural design and evaluation, and sustainable innovative structural and construction building systems. He has a national and international reputation in the area of environmental design through work with the Martin Centre, University of Cambridge, UK and Institute of Wood Science, USA. He was instrumental the development of the TBL methodology for the AHURI project (Blair et al 2003). He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland.

Image of Ralph

Dr. Ralph Horne

Position: Supervisor

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Univ of Plymouth, MSc Univ of Salford, PhD Sheffield Hallam Univ


Ralph Horne is a specialist in environmental management tools and sustainable development initiatives, and has extensive experience in Environmental Impact Assessment, Life Cycle Analysis, and Environmental Management Systems and auditing. He has developed his interests through commercial consultancy, academic research and teaching. His recent research interests include sustainable production and consumption, quality of life, eco-design, green buildings and environmental impact evaluation. He is recently appointed Director of the Centre for Design at RMIT, and has moved there from his recent UK posts in the Resources Research Unit at Sheffield Hallam University, as Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, and as an Associate of North Energy Associates, which specialises in sustainability research related to energy services.


Horne, R. E. (2002) Costs and Benefits of Electricity Production. The Resource, 10, 5, pp.23-24.

Horne, R. E. Mortimer, N D and Elsayed, M A. (2003) Energy and Carbon balances of Biofuels Production: Biodiesel and Bioethanol. Proceedings No. 510, International Fertiliser Society, York, UK. 55 pages.

Horne, R. E., Hes, D., Jacobs, M., Terry, A., Wakefield, R. and Walker-Morison, A. (2005) Holistic residential building performance indicators, benchmarks & standards. Discussion paper for the Building Commission. July.

Horne, R. E., Grant, T., and Opray, L. (2005) Life cycle and embodied energy impacts of housing options. Discussion paper for the Building Commission. July.

Dr. Robin Goodman

Position: Supervisor

Qualifications: BA (Hons) La Trobe, MUrbPlan Melbourne, PhD Melbourne

For further information on Robins’s experience and publications

Image of Joe

Joe Hurley

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:Evaluating the performance of ecologically sustainable fringe developments

Qualifications: BEng (Civil) (Hons) Melbourne


Prior to commencing at RMIT, Joe spent three years project managing the development of the award winning “Urban Water Conservation Demonstration and Research Facility” at CERES Environment Park. His other work experience includes work at the Victorian EPA in operational and education roles, and teaching snowboarding.

Image of Geoff

Geoffrey Binder

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:From grand narrative to individual action: How sustainability gets implemented

Qualifications: BArch (Hons) RMIT, BA (Hons) La Trobe

Contact Geoffrey:

Geoffrey has had a varied working life starting at 15 as an apprentice panel beater. Since then he has worked as a factory hand, sold cars, worked as an advocate and in management of a student union. He was a student activist and member of the SRC whilst at LaTrobe.He has written for a zine (Subaud) on Architecture pedagogy and the “problem” where architecture foregrounds aesthetics at the cost of political, social and environmental concerns, that can even ignore the wishes of the client.

More information on Geoff’s current work can be found at:

[return to the top of the page]

Local Governance and Community Building

Image of John

Assoc. Prof. John Jackson

Position: Chief Investigator

Qualifications: BA (Hons) Oxon, MA WOut, PhD Liverpool

Contact John:

John supervises many of the students involved in the Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project and also lectures in planning. His research interests include strategic planning issues at the metropolitan fringe and labour and housing market restructuring.

For further information on John’s experience and publications.

Assoc Professor David Mercer

See above section in Ecological Sustainability and Urban Development

Image of

Dr. Jago Dodson

Position: Supervisor

Qualifications: BA , MRRP Otago, PhD Melbourne


Jago is currently supervising students involved in the Re-imagining the Australian Suburb project from his current position as a research fellow at Griffith University in Brisbane, Queensland. Research interests include multiple aspects of urbanisation and urban change including housing, transport, employment and governance. Jago's current research examines such issues as the links between social status and transport disadvantage; the impact of urban environments on the health of urban populations; attempts to achieve sustainable transport planning in Auckland, New Zealand; the use of GIS for assessing urban transport systems; the effect of corruption on the land development process; and patterns of peri-urban change in Melbourne and Brisbane. Jago holds grants from the Australian Research Council and Land & Water Australia, and is currently writing a book on public housing policy in Australia and New Zealand. His research interests include strategic planning issues at the metropolitan fringe and labour and housing market restructuring.


2004 (with Mike Berry) ‘Economic ‘revolution’ in Melbourne’s west?’ Urban Policy and Research, 22(2).

2003 ‘Visions for 2030: Housing, Transport and Labor’s Metropolitan Strategy’, chapter in: Hayward, D and Ewer, P. (eds) Visions for Victoria: a progressive blueprint for public sector renewal in Victoria’. (forthcoming).

2003 (with Paul Mees) ‘Realistic sustainability?: Urban transport planning in Wellington, New Zealand’. New Zealand Geographer, 59(2).

2003 (with Brendan Gleeson) New Planning Governance for Regional Sydney: lessons from other contexts. Australian Planner, March.

More information on Jago’s work can be found at:

Griffith University’s Urban Research Program

Image of Annette

Annette Kroen

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:Collaborative Implementation Of Transit-Oriented Development in Urban Regions

Qualifications: Diploma of town and country planning (Graduate Engineer) University of Dortmund, Germany


Annette is a regional planner from Dortmund, Germany and is currently undertaking her PhD at RMIT in Melbourne. She has a strong background in urban and communicative planning, with academic placements with universities in Europe, including the University of Dortmund and in France, with the Aix-en-Provence Institute for Regional Planning. Her international experience will be an asset to her research topic on transit-oriented development and she plans to carry out research in North America, Europe and Australia.

Image of Anthony

Anthony Kent

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:The Spatial Economy of Melbourne’s North

Qualifications: BA (Monash), Bachelor of Letters (Hons) Human Geography (Monash), Grad Dip (Environment and Planning) (RMIT), Master of Environmental Science (Monash)

Contact Anthony:

Anthony Kent was born in Perth, Western Australia and educated at Syndal High School in what was then an outer suburb of Melbourne. Anthony completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology at Monash University while working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and later the Commonwealth Department of Veterans' Affairs. He resigned from the public service in the early nineties and returned to Monash University to study geography and history. This culminated in a First Class Honours degree on sustainable cities. He then took a year off to travel overland from Australia to London via South East Asia, Eastern Europe, Italy, Austria, Germany and Netherlands. On the return home he spent three months in northern India. In the late 90s he completed a Master of Environmental Science, again at Monash University, to further develop his interest in sustainable cities. This included work for the City of Casey on 'urban villages'. More recently he completed a Graduate Diploma in Environment and Planning at RMIT University. His recent employment includes pro bono research for Environment Victoria and tutoring and consultancy with RMIT's School of Social Science and Planning. Recent consultancy has been on Australia's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, the planning decisions behind the Portland Wind Energy Project and the adequacy of land use zones for the environmentally sensitive Goulburn-Broken Catchment. His other research interests are the environment and planning of Asian mega cities and postcolonial studies. He is a member of the Institute of Australian Geographers, the Environment Institute of Australia and the Victorian Environmental Planning Law Association. Anthony is Production Coordinator and on the Board of Urban Policy and Research.


Anthony Kent, 'Labour Market Disadvantage in Melbourne's North', State of Australian Cities Conference, Brisbane, 30 November- 2 December 2005.

Caroline Speed

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:Sustainable Urban Design at the Melbourne Metropolitan Fringe

Nicole Pepperell

Position: PhD Candidate

Project:Images of Redemption: Planning for Sustainability in Outer Suburban Melbourne

Qualifications: BA (Gen & Dept Hons) European & Islamic History, Grad Cert Environment & Planning, MA Social Science

Nicole has worked for private developers, social service providers, and government agencies in the US and Australia. In her professional work, she has specialised in conflict resolution and community consultation, strategic analysis of long-term demographic, social and economic trends, and negotiating partnerships between government and private industry. Academically, she focusses on the historical analysis of social and intellectual trends, the project of critical social theory, and the relationship between epistemology and ethics. Her work with the Re-imagining project focusses on the process of planning for sustainable urban developments. She seeks to understand how different stakeholders - in industry, government, and the community - engage with the planning process, and to document how various stakeholders seek to work around bottlenecks and resolve challenges that impede sustainable outcomes in the planning process.

[return to the top of the page]