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.

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
Mr David Flannery
Research Fellow

David Flannery is a practising architect and is Chair of the ACT Heritage Council.

David 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.

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
Ms Colette Gilmour
Executive Manager

Colette Gilmour has extensive experience in policy and project management at the Federal Government level and more recently at the Australian National University, at the Climate Change Institute and Humanities Research Centre. Colette has managed a number of high level international conferences and workshops both within Australia and China and Nepal. Colette was on the original development team for the CURF initiative and has joined CURF at University of Canberra in 2015.

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
Ms Jo Mummery
Research Fellow

Jo Mummery is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (UC) with research interests in how science can contribute to transformative decision-making for adaptation in corporate Australia.

Jo has previously been in senior executive positions in Australian Government Departments with responsibilities for managing Australia’s national investment in climate change science, adaptation programs in the Pacific, and domestic adaptation initiatives such as the first robust national assessment of coastal risks from sea level rise, and establishment of the National Elevation Data Framework. She participated in an expert committee for Engineers Australia which developed interim guidance for engineers to consider climate change impacts on the risks of heavy rainfall and flooding in construction.

Jo is an independent member of the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub Steering Committee under the National Environmental Science Programme, and the National Benefit Assessment Panel of the Marine National Facility. She is also General Manager of the Open Digital Earth Foundation which aims to harness the growing power spatial globes and satellites for social benefit.

Adjunct Professor Dorte Ekelund
Adjunct Professor

Dorte Ekelund is an urban and regional planner with extensive experience in most facets of strategic and statutory land use and infrastructure planning across all levels of government and across various jurisdictions. She also has considerable experience in environmental policies and management, including water policies and programs; climate change mitigation and adaptation action; and ecological preservation and management. Her experience in energy includes membership of the COAG Energy Senior Officials and delivery of significant policy initiatives and investment in renewables.

Dorte has held the roles of Director-General in the ACT Environment and Planning portfolio, and was head of the Major Cities Unit in the Australian Government. She is currently Principal Advisor Smart Cities with SMEC, is a Commissioner on the Northern Territory Planning Commission, an Independent Director on the Boards of ICON Water and the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, and is on the University of Wollongong's Smart Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council. She is also an Adjunct Professor in planning at the University of Canberra.

Dorte has qualifications in planning and in management and is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia.

Adjunct Professor Simon Corbell
Adjunct Professor

Simon Corbell was appointed the Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate in 2016.  He previously held the office of Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Energy and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change of the Australian Capital Territory from 2008-2016. He has two decades of senior experience in public policy leadership and delivery, including as the longest serving member of the COAG Energy Council.

Simon’s advocacy for a strong climate change policy saw the Australian Capital Territory achieve national and international recognition as a best practice jurisdiction in climate change and renewable energy policy.  He successfully implemented programs to deliver 100% renewable energy for the ACT and was responsible for the implementation of Australia’s first reverse auction program awarding contracts for difference for large scale renewable energy development.

Simon has been recognized by the Clean Energy Council and the Climate Alliance for his work in championing the clean energy transition in the ACT and nationally.  He is also a Patron of the Australian Solar Council and a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Australian Advisory Board.

In 2017 Simon was appointed an Honorary Associate Professor of the Australian National University College of Engineering and the ANU Energy Change Institute. He also holds the role of Adjunct Professor of the University of Canberra - Canberra and Urban Regional Futures Program.

Dr Maxine Cooper
Research Fellow

Dr Maxine Cooper is the former Auditor-General for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).  Prior to being appointed as the ACT Auditor-General, Dr Cooper was the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and the Head of the ACT Water Security Taskforce.  Dr Cooper has held many senior executive roles in the ACT Government as well as other Australian jurisdictions and private practice. 

Dr Cooper has a PhD (Melbourne University); Masters of Environmental Science (Calgary University, Canada); Bachelor of Arts - Urban & Regional Planning from the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) (now Curtin University), Western Australia.  She is a Fulbright Fellow (USA) and Commonwealth Scholarship holder (Canada) and is a Fellow of the Planning Institute and the Australian and New Zealand Environment Institute.

Dr Cooper’s career has been as a senior executive in a wide range of government areas both in the ACT and in other Australian jurisdictions.  In her early career she worked in private practice. She retired earlier this year as  ACT Auditor-General having held that role since 2011.  She was previously Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, and prior to that, Head of the ACT Water Security Taskforce.

Dr Cooper has been a Senior Executive in the ACT Government managing roles in a wide range of areas including urban and regional planning; environmental management, heritage, land management to business (ACTION Buses, cemeteries, the ACT Nursery, Capital Linen, major venues, and tourism).

Jason Alexandra

Jason Alexandra is a consultant and researcher working on climate adaptation and water governance. Jason has held senior roles in national and international organisations including the Murray Darling Basin Authority where his responsibilities included climate science and ecosystem management. He has coordinated national R&D programs on climate, water, vegetation and biodiversity and initiated the citizen science program ClimateWatch.

Jason is currently involved in research how climate change is influencing water governance. As Managing Director of Alexandra & Associates Jason has completed over 120 research and consulting projects including on green infrastructure and climate adaptation. He is currently developing concept of ecological design and designer ecologies in both urban and rural settings including growing landscape carbon.  

His recent work with CURF includes. Planning and Implementing Living Infrastructure in the Australian Capital Territory–Final Report available at and also O’Donnell, T. and Alexandra, J. (2018) Regulatory Boundaries and Climate Adapted Futures in the Australian Capital Region). Most of his other papers and reports are available at


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
Ms Jill Grant
Research Fellow

Jill Grant is a sessional lecturer and tutor in: Climate Change and Sustainable Business Futures; Tourism and Events Management; Business Ethics; and Strategic Management in the School of Management at University of Canberra and has a background in agriculture, natural resource management, renewable energy, environmental technologies and sustainable tourism. She has extensive experience in Government and non-government organisations at national and international levels including: stakeholder consultations; strategy development; policy negotiations and program implementation. Jill was a member of the team that conducted the CURF “Climate Change Adaptation in the Australian Capital Region” project (2017) and assists with the regular CURF Seminar series and Annual Forums since 2014.


Mr Hamish Sinclair
Research Fellow

Hamish is 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 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
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.

Associate Professor Michael jasper
Associate Professor of Architecture University of Canberra

Michael Jasper is an architect, educator, and scholar based in Australia. He is currently Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Canberra. Immediately prior to joining the University, Michael was a Partner in Cooper Robertson & Partners (2002-2011), a prominent New York architecture and urban design firm. Michael is deeply engaged with higher education and the architecture profession locally, nationally, and internationally.  He is Deputy Chair of the National Education Committee (2015-) of the Australian Institute of Architects, a peak national advisory body on architecture education policies and accreditation procedures, and a member of the 5-person National Accreditation Management Committee (2017) charged with providing advice to the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia on the implementation of accreditation procedures for Australian and New Zealand schools of architecture. He is an inaugural nominated member (2018) of the National Capital Design Review Panel, the peak advisory group to the Australian Government and ACT Government on major development proposals in areas of significance in Canberra as Australia’s national capital.

Mr Gregor Mews
CURF Affiliate

Gregor H. Mews is the Founding Director of the international "Think and Do" Tank Urban Synergies Group (USG) committed to shaping healthy communities worldwide. Greg provides strategic policy advice, conducts research, training and knowledge transfer to clients in the international context. He is on the Advisory Board for Research into Action of The International Journal of Public Space and a Steering Committee member of UN-Habitats World Urban Campaign. Greg holds an Honorary Adjunct position at the Centre for Research and Action in Public Health, University of Canberra, and lectures on healthy and sustainable places at Technical University of Berlin (Germany), Yale University (USA), University of Canberra (Australia) and University of Kassel (Germany). He presented at TEDx, EcoMobility World Congress and most recently at the 9th World Urban Forum.

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.