Environmental Social Science

Understanding interactions between human and biophysical elements of urban, rural and wildland ecosystems and landscapes.

Academic staff

The following staff are available to supervise honours and masters research in the field of environmental social science.

Professor Kathryn Williams

Psychological relationships between people and environments; the ways people value, connect and benefit from natural environments; integrating psychological knowledge in environmental management.

Project topics:

  • How do people connect with urban nature?
  • Understanding conflict over forest and fire management
  • Psychological benefits of urban greening/green infrastructure
  • Social and psychological outcomes of visiting botanic gardens

Email: kjhw@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Rebecca Ford

Studies in the underlying basis for public views about forest management in people’s aesthetic responses and their cognitive attitudes.

Email: fordr@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Andrea Rawluk

Interdisciplinary research in complex social ecological challenges, including bushfire management and community engagement, social memory, landscape transformation, power.

Email: andrea.rawluk@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Kate Lee

Research combining environmental, organisation and cognitive psychology to investigate the links between nature and wellbeing in cities and workplaces.

Email: kate.lee@unimelb.edu.au

Professor Ruth Beilin

Studies on everyday landscapes and ‘ordinary’ people in relation to policy, planning institutions and resource use in a landscape context centred on human interaction with ‘space’ and ‘place’.

Project topics:

  • Narratives of Local Food Insecurity
  • Living Shorelines
  • Citizen science and visual representation
  • Coastal and Marine Sea-Country Governance

Email: rbeilin@unimelb.edu.au

Professor Rod Keenan

Research in forests and climate change (mitigation and adaptation), the role of forests in providing ecosystem services and in forest and climate policy.

Project topics:

  • Investment models for trees on farms in southern Australia
  • Quantifying on-farm and environmental benefits of timber trees
  • Blended finance models for forest landscape restoration in SE Asia
  • Climate change adaptation in plantation forest management

Email: rkeenan@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Stephanie Lavau

Research on socio-cultural dimensions of environmental management and biodiversity conservation in urban and rural contexts

Project topics:

  • Experiences of environmental volunteers and citizen scientists
  • Community engagement with urban waterways and their management
  • Politics of expertise in environmental management
  • Biodiversity conservation as socio-material practice

Email: stephanie.lavau@unimelb.edu.au

Dr. Danny Spring

Assessing projects and programs that affect the environment and improving incentives to protect the environment.

Project topics:

  • Urban and peri-urban waterway protection
  • Biodiversity offsets
  • Urban greening

Email: daniel.spring@unimelb.edu.au