Mittul Vahanvati

Dr Mittul Vahanvati

Lecturer

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Profile photo of Mittul Vahanvati. Photo is in black an white. Background is out of focus, but people can be seen standing around. Mittul is looking slightly off from where the camera is and smiling.

Contact details

DSCSchool of Global, Urban and Social Studies


Centre for Urban Research

Climate Change Transformations Research group

Future Urban Researchers Network

Circular Economy Hub


Emailmittul.vahanvati@rmit.edu.au


 

Campus: Melbourne City


Programs

More information

Profile photo of Mittul Vahanvati. Photo is in black an white. Background is out of focus, but people can be seen standing around. Mittul is looking slightly off from where the camera is and smiling.

Contact details

DSCSchool of Global, Urban and Social Studies


Centre for Urban Research

Climate Change Transformations Research group

Future Urban Researchers Network

Circular Economy Hub


Emailmittul.vahanvati@rmit.edu.au


 

Campus: Melbourne City


Programs

More information

Mittul is a lecturer in sustainability and urban planning discipline. Her research focuses on resilience to disasters and climate change, of housing and communities in Asia-Pacific.

Overview

Mittul's research focuses on informal settlements or vulnerable communities, for real-world impacts. She engages with UN-bodies, including UN-Habitat, UNEP, UNFCCC, national and local government in Australia and the Pacific as well as non-government organisations. She is one of the lead members in a large multidisciplinary action-research project titled 'Climate Resilient Honiara' (since 2018), funded by the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund and administered by UN-Habitat. She has worked with regional and rural communities in Victoria (Australia) to co-produce their own climate resilience action plan. Currently, she is the Chief Investigator for 'Solomon Islands Shelter Guide' project.

Mittul has over 10 years of industry experience, being trained as an architect. She moved into academia in 2012, when she started PhD at RMIT. She is also a co-founder of a social enterprise - Giant Grass.

At RMIT, Mittul leads the design and development of a suit of Urban Design courses, core to Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) accreditation. She co-leads two research groups within RMIT - Climate Change Transformations Research Group and Future Urban Researchers Network.

The impact of her research partnerships, industry engagement and agile dissemination of research findings in the field of disaster/climate change resilience has led to enhancement of her her emerging external profile as a researcher and a public intellectual.

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Industry experience

  • Working with UN bodies, including UNFCCC, UN-Habitat and UNEP.
  • Engagement with national (e.g. DELWP, MLHS) and local Government (e.g. HCC, Loddon Shire)
  • Engagement with industry (e.g. Habitat for Humanity)
  • Collaboration with international universities. E.g. SINU
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Research

Mittul's research focuses on resilience to disasters and climate change, of housing and communities, in context of Australasia and the Pacific.

She adopts a co-design of nature-based solutions, community-led approach and knowledge co-production approach. Her field of research sits at the intersection of built environment, disasters + climate change and sustainable design.

Research keywords

Disasters, Climate Change, Resilience, Shelter and Settlements, Build Back Safer, Community-led, Co-design and Systems thinking

Research output summary

12

Publications

8

Projects

3

Awards

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Supervisor interest areas

  • Disaster resilience of housing and communities
  • Climate change resilience of housing and communities
  • Nature-based solutions to Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Build Back Safer Shelter and Settlements

Supervisor projects

Current:

  • Elia Hauge; "Climate adaptation in regional water systems: participation for a shared future."

Feature publications

A new model for effective post-disaster housing reconstruction: Lessons from Gujarat and Bihar in India

International Journal of Project Management, 35, 802-817

Vahanvati, M. & Mulligan, M. (2017).

A novel framework for owner driven reconstruction projects to enhance disaster resilience in the long term

Disaster Prevention and Management, 27, 421-446

Vahanvati, M. (2018).

An owner-driven reconstruction in Bihar

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 8, 306-319

Vahanvati, M. & Beza, B. (2017).

Key publications by year

  • Vahanvati, M. (2022, in press), ‘Housing continuum: key determinants linking post-disaster reconstruction to resilience in the long term’, in James, H., Shaw, R., Sharma, V. and Lukasiewicz, A. (eds.), Disaster Risk, Resilience, Reconstruction and Recovery Book Series, Palgrave MacMillan, United Kingdom.
  • Vincente et. Al. (2022, forthcoming), ‘The role of public and private sectors in disaster capitalism: An international overview’ in the UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • Gupta, R., Vahanvati, M., Häggström, J. & Halcomb, J. S. (2021). Practical Guide to Climate-resilient Buildings & Communities. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme.
  • Iyer-Raniga, U. & Vahanvati, M. (2020). Resilience of poor and vulnerable against disasters and associated economic shock. In: Leal Filho, W., Azul, A. M., Brandli, L., Lange Salvia, A., Özuyar, P. G. & Wall, T. (eds.) No Poverty: Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 1 ed. Switzerland: Springer, 1-13.
  • Vahanvati, M. (2020). Unpacking the meaning of resilience: the Tarnagulla community definition comparing to the literature. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 35, 29-37.
  • Vahanvati, M. & Rafliana, I. (2019). Reliability of Build Back Better at enhancing resilience of communities. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 10, 208-221.
  • Vahanvati, M. (2018). A novel framework for owner driven reconstruction projects to enhance disaster resilience in the long term. Disaster Prevention and Management, 27, 421-446.
  • Vahanvati, M. (2018). Participation for disaster resilience: A life cycle approach to reconstruction projects in India. In: Marsh, G., Ahmed, I., Mulligan, M., Donovan, J. & Barton, S. (eds.) Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery. Abingdon, UK: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
  • Vahanvati, M. & Mulligan, M. (2017). A new model for effective post-disaster housing reconstruction: Lessons from Gujarat and Bihar in India. International Journal of Project Management, 35, 802-817.
  • Vahanvati, M. & Beza, B. (2017). An owner-driven reconstruction in Bihar. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 8, 306-319.
  • Vahanvati, M. & Beza, B. (2016). Rural housing resilience in India: Is it reliant on appropriate technology or labour skills? Sustainable Futures Conference, 30 Aug-2 Sept, 2016 2016 Nairobi, Kenya. SFC2016, 305-313.
  • Vahanvati, M. & Vahanvati, M. (2015). Co-Building with Bamboo, Melbourne, Australia, Giant Grass
  • Vahanvati, M. (2015). Reviving people’s trust in Bamboo technology: A case-study of Orlaha settlement reconstruction in Bihar, after the 2008 Kosi floods. 2015 World Bamboo Congress, 17-21 Sept, 2015 2015 Damyang, South Korea. WBC2015.
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Feature projects

Solomon Islands Shelter Guide

$42,866; Category 2 grant

Dr Mittul Vahanvati, Prof Darryn McEvoy, Prof Usha Iyer-Raniga and Deb Kuh

2021

Climate Resilient Honiara, Solomon Island (Phase 1)

Funded by UNFCCC administered by UN-Habitat - 630,000 with $65,000 allocated to Mittul's team NbS, Category 3 grant

Prof Darryn McEvoy, A.Prof David Mitchell, Dr Serene Ho, Prof Usha Iyer-Raniga, Dr Muhammad Yazid Bin Ninsalam, Dr Ata Tara, Dr Mittul Vahanvati, Dr Tariq Maqsood

2019 - 2020

Tarnagulla Community Resilience Action Plan

Funded by the Victorian Government DELWP to the Tarnagulla Alternative Energy Group - $40,000, Category 2 grant

Dr Mittul Vahanvati

2018 - 2019

Key projects by year

International funding:

  • Solomon Islands Shelter Guide
    Dr Mittul Vahanvati, Prof Darryn McEvoy, Prof Usha Iyer-Raniga and Deb Kuh
    $42,866; Category 2 grant
    2021

International funding:

  • Climate Resilient Honiara, Solomon Island (Phase 1)
    Prof Darryn McEvoy, A.Prof David Mitchell, Dr Serene Ho, Prof Usha Iyer-Raniga, Dr Muhammad Yazid Bin Ninsalam, Dr Ata Tara, Dr Mittul Vahanvati, Dr Tariq Maqsood
    $630,000 with $65,000 allocated to my team NbS, Category 3 grant, funded by UNFCCC administered by UN-Habitat
    2019-2020
  • Climate Resilient Honiara, Solomon Islands (Phase 2)
    Prof Darryn McEvoy, A.Prof David Mitchell, Dr Serene Ho, Prof Usha Iyer-Raniga, Dr Muhammad Yazid Bin Ninsalam, Dr Ata Tara, Dr Mittul Vahanvati, Dr Tariq Maqsood
    $615,000 with $200,000 allocated to my team - Nature based Solutions (NbS), Category 3 grant, funded by UNFCCC administered by UN-Habitat
    2019-2020

State or local government funded projects:

  • Tarnagulla Community Resilience Action Plan
    Dr Mittul Vahanvati, funded by the Victorian Government DELWP to the Tarnagulla Alternative Energy Group
    $40,000, Category 2 grant
    2018-2019
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Awards

Mittul Vahanvati award photo

Best PhD research paper award at the 5th International Conference on Building Resilience at Newcastle

Award date: 16th July 2015

Recipients: Mittul Vahanvati


The winning student team for the C40 international competition

Made up of fourth year urban planning students, as part of Urban Design Project course, coordinated by Dr. Mittul Vahanvati

Award date: 2021

Recipients: Mittul Vahanvati

Key awards by year

  • Granted RMIT scholarship for PhD research, 2012
  • Granted scholarship and stipend from Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) for an exchange program at ZHW, Switzerland, 1999
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Grants

RMIT Internal funding

  • Relaunch Future Urban Researcher network, funded by RMIT Urban Futures ECP Capability Development fund, Dr. Mittul Vahanvati, Dr. Afshin Jafari, Dr. Stephanie Roland, Dr. Serene Ho, Rachael Iampolski, Dr. Nick Brown, $1,500, 2021.
  • Top-up to Tarnagulla project, by RMIT Research & Innovation, $15,000 , 2018
  • Establish an Urban Future ECR and HDR multi-disciplinary and trans-sectorial network, funded RMIT Urban Futures ECP Capability Development, $1,500, 2018
  • HDR Research support fund by Climate Change Resilience research group, 2019 and 2018
  • Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Publication grant, 2018
  • Participation at the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur, funded by RMIT CUR, 2017

Industry funding

  • Participate at the international Emergent Risks and Extreme Events - Reducing Disaster Risks Scoping workshop at United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNI_IAS), Tokyo, funded by the Future Earth and RMIT GUSS Professional Development Committee, 2017
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Public and media engagements

Mittul actively shares her knowledge with public, outside academia and disseminates research findings through the Conversation, public lectures, panel discussions, events (e.g. Sustainable Living Festival), podcast (e.g. Climactic Collective’ podcast) and other Media outlets, both nationally and internationally. These agile modes of communication has enhanced Mittul's international recognition as an expert in disaster resilience and community-led or bottom-up approaches.

So far she has written 11 media publications and undertook five media interviews, including one recognised by RMIT Research in Q1 media for its pathway to, for the Conversation titled, 'Disaster season is here — do you have a Resilience Action Plan? Here’s how the small town of Tarnagulla built theirs' (2020). These opinion pieces have led to two radio interviews, with ABC Radio National and 3CR Community Radio. These opinion pieces haveled to her being invited by a community group – Neighbours United for Climate Action - to lead Citizen Assembly.

She has delivered ten public presentations, including three keynotes and two event proposals. Selected highlights include:

Within RMIT, she actively engages with colleagues by:

  • co-convener or two RMIT research groups, i) Climate Change Transformations and Future Urban Researchers Network
  • board member of one a non-profit organisation, the Newlands and East Coburg Community Hub Inc
  • a core member of five RMIT internal committees - i) Deputy on Student Staff Consultative Committee at RMIT SUP and ii) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a learning and teaching working group at RMIT GUSS, iii) Circular Economy Hub, iv) Women Researchers Network and v) Disaster Resilience Researchers Network

External engagement is Mittul's core strength. She is:

  • collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey (MLHS), Honiara City Council (HCC) and the Solomon Island National University (SINU), being a a lead member in a large multidisciplinary team working in Honiara
  • a core member of four international groups, including i) Disaster Capitalism, ii) the Global Urban Settlements Working Group, previously known as Shelter and Settlements working group, iii) the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Urban Community of Practice (CoP), and the iv) Australasian women in Emergencies Network (AWE))
  • Editor of one book of Conference Abstracts, conference organising committee member and a track chair at the 8th International Conference on Building Resilience conference in Lisbon
  • review panel member for national and international organisations including, an international organisation Z Zurich Foundation and Zurich Insurance Company, and a National organisation – Victorian Council for Social Services.
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torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.