University of Canberra
Researcher profiles
Professor Barbara Norman
CURF Director; Theme Leader, Settlements and Infrastructure

Professor Barbara Norman is the Foundation Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Canberra. Professor Norman is Director of Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) and an Adjunct Professor with The Australian National University. She is a Life Fellow and past national president of the Planning Institute of Australia and Life Honorary Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (UK). Barbara’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Town & Regional Planning, Masters of Environmental Law and a PhD on sustainable coastal planning. She has a substantial professional background having worked at all levels of government and run her own practice for over 20 years. Her current research and teaching interests include sustainable cities and regions, coastal planning, climate change adaptation and urban governance. Barbara was a contributing author to IPCC 5 WG 2 report on Impacts 2014. Barbara advises the public and private sector in Australia and has strong international linkages within Asia, Europe and the United States. Barbara was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through urban and regional planning

Barbara was Chief Investigator of the recent report South East Coastal Adaptation (SECA): Coastal urban climate futures in SE Australia from Wollongong to Lakes Entrance. She is a contributing author to the IPCC report on Climate Impacts (March 2014). Barbara has extensive experience in the public sector at all levels of government including senior executive roles in the ACT Government. Professor Norman advises the public and private sector in Australia and has strong international linkages within Asia, Europe and the United States. Barbara was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through urban and regional planning.

Research projects
Professor Will Steffen
Theme Leader, Climate Change and Sustainability

Professor Will Steffen is a Councillor on the publicly-funded Climate Council of Australia that delivers independent expert information about climate change, and is a global change researcher at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. From 1998 to mid-2004, Steffen served as Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, based in Stockholm, Sweden, and is currently a guest researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. His research interests span a broad range within the fields of climate and Earth System science, with an emphasis on incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis; and on sustainability and climate change, with an emphasis on urban areas.

Research projects
Associate Professor Hitomi Nakanishi
Theme Leader, Settlements and Infrastructure

Hitomi Nakanishi is an associate professor in Urban and Regional Planning, course convener of the Master of urban and regional planning and Bachelor of Civil Engineering Technology at University of Canberra. From 2002 to 2005 (October), she was at Kagawa University as a Research Assistant as well as PhD Candidate, before moving to Toyohashi University of Technology in November 2005 where she was Research Associate in Transport Planning (appointed as Assistant Professor in 2007). In 2008, she moved to Australia to join CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) as a Research Scientist of Transport Accessibility to lead the transport module of the Urban Systems Program of National Climate Adaptation Flagship. She has been at University of Canberra since 2011 where she was appointed as a course convener of newly established Master of Urban and Regional Planning, which is accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia. She is a member of the academic secretariat of the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS) Special Interest Group 1 (SIG1) Transport and Spatial Development. She is certified as the Australian Civil-Military Centre Research Multi-Use List participant. She is a member of Planning Institute of Australia ACT Committee. Her work is often highlighted by the media both nationally and internationally, including the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Japan Times.

Dr Nakanishi’s research involves using multidisciplinary approaches to assessing impacts on quality of life issues from the perspectives of land use, urban form and infrastructure planning. She has developed an evaluation system of urban/regional policy and infrastructure development from the viewpoint of social and environmental sustainability. This new evaluation system, and its unique methodology (mixed quantitative modelling and qualitative method), was applied to three cities in Japan and two national government policies (Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) for urban and regional planning.

Her current research contribution is in the post-disaster area in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, where she was invited to bring innovation to the transport planning of devastated areas. She is recognised internationally as a leading expert in community disaster risk management with invitations to the United Nations Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2013, as an academic delegate from Australia; to the UN conference on disaster risk reduction held on 14-18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, as an accredited member of the major group of the Scientific and Technological Community; to the development of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 which was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. She is currently working on a project representing the urban/transportation dynamics of a post-disaster community by using agent-based modelling and GIS-based visualisation.

Dr Anthony Burton
Theme Leader, Health and Wellbeing

Dr Anthony Burton has a PhD in Public Health from the Western Sydney University School of Medicine. He has published in Climate Change, Public Health, Urban & Health Planning.  

His current research interests include implementing healthy active living and travel into planning policy as well as understanding the knowledge and awareness of the health impacts of climate change within planning professions.  He was a primary author of the Health Synthesis Report for Towards a Resilient Sydney (2012) and has been a primary driver in implementing current active living research into ACT planning policy and projects.

Anthony has significant experience in recreation planning and has been involved in the development several significant recreational facilities and plans including the Canberra Centenary Trail, the Majura Pines Recreational Park and the Warburton Mountain Bike Master Plan.

Dr Bob Webb
Theme Leader, Green Growth

Dr Bob Webb came to the ANU Climate Change Institute in 2009 after a senior executive career in the public and private sectors including Deputy Commissioner roles in the ATO, and General Manager positions in the Australian Trade Commission and in the national and international resource and manufacturing sectors. His initial education and postgraduate research was in physics and he has had a long standing interest in global and local sustainability issues and strategies.

With the Climate Change Institute he has focused on climate adaptation issues, including leading a project on climate change vulnerability for the ACT and Region on behalf of the ACT government (in collaboration with the NSW government), and several more specific local issues, including most recently a report on Canberra's Nature Reserves. He has also initiated work (jointly with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility) to distil adaptation experience from a wide range of urban and regional adaptation projects being progressed around Australia, in order to develop and communicate key learnings, issues and best practices.

Research projects
Mr Hamish Sinclair
Research Fellow

Hamish is a Director of the Planning Institute of Australia, a Certified Planning Practitioner, and a researcher with Canberra Urban and Regional Futures. 

With over twenty years of international experience in statutory and strategic planning and land development, policy formulation and administration at all levels of Government and for the private sector, Hamish has extensive experience in planning system reform, estate development and planning processes. His technical interests include: urban and regional policy development, city and master planning, urban design, sustainability and urban adaptation, and strategic environmental and statutory assessments. He lectures on Development Control and guest lectures on European spatial planning as part of the Urban and Regional Planning undergraduate program at the University of Canberra.

He was a researcher on the Coastal Urban Climate Futures in South East Australia (SECA) project. Hamish has won PIA awards for excellence for his work on SECA (2013), the Griffin Legacy Amendments (2007) and National Capital Authority Consultation Protocol (2007). 

Hamish is currently undertaking a PhD with the Institute of Government, Policy and Analysis. His PhD aims to evaluate strategic planning frameworks through social and power networks that inform and divert the process and content of plan making. It also seeks to offer insights for the future of strategic planning for capital cities. In his spare time he owns a 1,000 acre equestrian facility in the ACT and rides a Ducati superbike. 

Research projects
Mr Viv Straw
Research Fellow

Viv has worked for many years in planning and local government including as General Manager of Snowy River Shire Council. Viv's professional background is as urban geographer specialising in urban and regional planning. 

Viv is currently President of the ACT Planning Institute and works as a sessional lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Canberra. He commenced his Professional Doctorate in 2014.

Research projects
Mr David Flannery
Research Fellow

David is a practising architect who started his professional career with the NSW Government Architect’s office, then with Lawrence Nield & Partners (Associate), May Flannery Architects (Managing Director), BVN Architecture (Practice Director) and a Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Canberra between 2010-2012.  David continues to practise architecture and heritage conservation as Managing Director of David Flannery Architect and is the Chair of the ACT Heritage Council.

His architectural project experience includes design and construction phase roles with numerous Canberra buildings including the heritage refurbishment of East Block for the National Archives of Australia; education projects at Amaroo, Palmerston, Ngunnawal, Marist College Canberra and the ANU Medical School at The Canberra Hospital (Canberra Medallion 2007 Australian Institute of Architects); and public buildings including the Canberra Library and Link at Civic Square and The Q Performing Arts Centre at Queanbeyan.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, a Member of the Planning Institute of Australia and a former ACT Chapter President of the Australian Institute of Architects.  David is also a keen photographer with a passion for wildlife photography.

Research projects
Mr Brian Weir
Lecturer, University of Canberra

Brian Weir is a lecturer in tourism and a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra.  His PhD topic concerns policy responses to climate change in the Canberra tourism industry. 

Previously, Brian worked in the ACT Parks and Conservation Service on nature based tourism strategy and development, and in other areas of government on tourism policy and business development and extension.

Research projects
Professor Tony Capon
Affiliate Partner, United Nations University

Professor Tony Capon directs the global health institute at United Nations University and is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra.

 Tony is a public health physician and an authority on environmental health and health promotion.  He has more than two decades of senior leadership and management experience in public health research, education and policy, and has consulted in many countries and for a wide variety of organizations.  

Since 2008, he has been advising the International Council for Science in the development of their new global interdisciplinary science programme on health and well-being in the changing urban environment using systems approaches.  

Tony has held prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) and World Health Organization fellowships, as well as leadership roles with the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians), the International Society for Urban Health and the Frank Fenner Foundation: For healthy people on a healthy planet."


Professor Rob Tanton

Professor Robert Tanton is a Professor at NATSEM at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra. He has a PhD in Economics from the University of Canberra.

Professor Tanton’s main interest is spatial disadvantage and inequality, and he is a recognised Australian and international expert on spatial disadvantage. His research covers areas such as spatial housing disadvantage, economic disadvantage (poverty), income inequality and wellbeing.He leads work using a spatial microsimulation technique to derive small area estimates of many indicators of disadvantage and wellbeing. So far, this technique has been used to derive small area estimates of poverty, housing stress, subjective wellbeing and indigenous disadvantage. Robert is one of the world leaders in this area, and recently edited a book on spatial microsimulation, published by Springer.

His recent research has included extending this spatial microsimulation model by linking CGE and Microsimulation models to derive small area estimates of a macro-economic shock; and work on linking environmental models into the spatial economic and social models. He has also been working closely with demographers, sociologists and community engagement experts to help identify futures for rural towns in Australia.

Robert led the demographic analysis for CURF’s SECA project, which won a major national planning award; has been involved in CURF since it started; and has been involved in many other CURF projects and meetings. As someone who was born in and grew up in Canberra and explored the Canberra region (from Kosciouszko to the Coast) on pushbike as a teenager, he is passionate about the city and regions around Canberra and their future.

Prior to joining NATSEM, Robert worked in the Australian Public Service, with five years at the Department of Finance, researching and modelling staffing statistics; further five years at the Commonwealth Grants Commission modelling police expenditure; and six years at the Australian Bureau of Statistics modelling small area crime rates and leading the team calculating the ABS 2001 Socio-Economic Index For Areas (SEIFA).

Professor Robert Costanza
Professor and Chair at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Professor Robert Costanza is a Chair in Public Policy at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Professor Costanza’s transdisciplinary research integrates the study of humans and the rest of nature to address research, policy and management issues at multiple time and space scales, from small watersheds to the global system.

Professor Costanza is co-founder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics, and was chief editor of the society’s journal, Ecological Economics from its inception in 1989 until 2002. He is founding co-editor (with Karin Limburg and Ida Kubiszewski) of Reviews in Ecological Economics. He currently serves on the editorial board of ten other international academic journals.

He is also founding editor in chief of Solutions ( a unique hybrid academic/popular journal. He is the author or co-author of over 500 scientific papers and 23 books. His work has been cited in more than 11,000 scientific articles and he has been named as one of ISI’s Highly Cited Researchers since 2004. More than 200 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various popular media.

Dr. Ida Kubiszewski
Senior Lecturer at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Dr Ida Kubiszewski is a Senior Lecturer at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.  Prior to this she was an Assistant Research Professor and Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, at Portland State University. She is also a UN negotiator on climate change, following adaptation and loss & damage, for the country of the Dominican Republic at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Warsaw, Poland in November 2013 and in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

She is the author or co-author of over a dozen scientific papers and 5 books. She is a Fellow at the National Council for Science and the Environment, on the board of the Veblen institute (Institut Veblen), and sits on the steering committees or advisory boards of various organizations including the Ecosystem Service Partnership, and the Environmental Information Coalition.”

Dr Lance Heath

Dr Lance Heath is Project and Business Development Manager for the ANU Climate Change Institute.  Lance has 15 years experience in water resource management, international research collaboration and technology commercialisation. He was Technical Manager for the Environment Industry Development Network (administered by the former CRC for Waste Management and Pollution Control) from 1994 to 2000. From 2004 to 2006 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the ANU and Project Officer for the ANU Institute for Environment from 2006 to 2008.

Lance has extensive experience in hydrological modelling and in the development of decision support systems for policy makers.  He is also a leading specialist on Australian Environmental Technologies with particular emphasis on developing international links between Australia and other Asia-Pacific economies in the area of environmental technology exchange.  He has managed numerous aid and economic development programs for several developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.