Plant Life Balance Meta-analysis and app process
For over 50 years research has demonstrated that plants deliver benefits for urban citizens by reducing air pollution and supporting well-being. As cities in Australia increase their density it is important to understand how plants can benefit people in denser spaces, such as apartments. A range of research shows the benefits of plants in indoor and outdoor settings for remediating air pollution, improving mental health and concentration. In this project, our aim was to draw on this literature and systematically review and synthesise this knowledge to derive a scale of plant benefits. The intention is a scale optimised for easy…
Restorative Yarra
The issue Contestation in cities is a stubborn and complex problem that both reflects and impacts upon planning and on the lives of those in neighbourhoods. Because “land is central in shaping relations between municipal representatives and citizens” (Hagberg & Körling 2016: 295), contestations over urban territories not only structure and restructure spatial relationships, they also bring people into social conflict with others in community and with government decision-makers and systems. Such contestation “is not about equally strong bodies on a flat ontology but about unequal bodies on a tilted surface” (Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos 2015: 5) and unequal bodies often experience the…
Placemaking Sandbox
Placemaking Sandbox is a collaborative project focused on the theory and practice of placemaking. The project aims to build capacity, test theory, experiment with processes and identify methods to evaluate placemaking decisions in order to to create vibrant, citizen engaged, public spaces and ultimately, better cities. A consortium will co-create a comprehensive suite of placemaking modules and design studios where students engage with, design and/or build real-world placemaking interventions. A yearly summit will showcase best practice examples, student’s studio outcomes, evaluation methods and build procurer’s capacity on placemaking theory and practice. The Placemaking Sandbox Consortium includes 5 universities and 16…
Quantifying indoor airbourne particle exposure through monitoring and modelling
The design of the present study emerged from i) the increased concern related to air pollution events and associated health impacts due to extreme weather conditions (e.g. thunderstorm particulates and bush fire smoke); and ii) the influence of buildings on its occupants during the air pollution event are not well characterized for the Australian context. To contribute new knowledge and inform building operations, we propose a pilot investigation which involves both field monitoring and numerical modelling approaches.
Living Well – Apartments, Comfort and Resilience in Climate Change
Everyone has the right to live well, living in a place that is safe and comfortable. As we move into the uncertainty of climate change the increase in weather extremes, especially heat in Melbourne, is expected to have significant negative impacts on comfort for existing apartments. For these homes to be able to stay comfortable, without significant cooling energy, will be a challenge. This means that people in homes that do not have cooling systems are facing potentially higher health risks. Further, if there are infrastructure failures and there is absence of energy for cooling even more people will be…
The Value of Energy Efficiency: Empirical Evidence from the ACT Housing Market
This study investigates the effect of the mandatory Energy Efficiency Ratings (EER) on property rental prices and sales prices in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).  The data collected from AllHomes through Australian Property Monitor comprises residential sales and rentals from the ACT from January 2011 to December 2016, comprising a total dataset of 62,000 rental transactions and 42,000 sales transactions. This study uses a comprehensive hedonic model to estimate the effect of the EER, which is mandatory for properties for sale in the ACT for properties. Initial findings suggest a premium is evident in both rental and sales prices for…
Advancing new home sustainability through demand-side empowerment: investigating home buyer decision-making
This research will provide a unique understanding of how the new home volume builders' operate as a market, acting effectively as a demand-side stakeholder, changing the concept of who is the empowered consumer in the new housing sector. This research demonstrates the power wielded by the volume builders through their interactions with the supply chain and customers (new homebuyers), which could be channeled to create industry change through competitive marketing.  This research also investigates new homebuyers’ experiences in the home building process, in particular explore the transparency of sustainability discussion, knowledge sharing, documentation provided during the new home purchasing process.…
Living Shorelines: Innovative Design Topologies for Coastal Landscapes
This project challenges current ‘adaptation measures’ and planning strategies for sea-level rise, inundation and coastal erosion. The site of focus is the Bellarine Peninsula, stretching from Point Henry East of Geelong to Port Arlington, In Victoria, Australia. Just in the last few months a number of Coastal Management Strategy plans and Hazard Assessment reports were published for this area; yet there are limited on-the-ground actions that address issues of erosion and ecosystem degradation. This project particularly investigates how much of a role landscape-based and ecologically-driven solutions play in planning processes for vulnerable areas. To date, current strategies and infrastructures suggest a great…
Smart Villages Assam Workshop 1
Cross-cultural analysis and capacity building in construction management practices focusing on housing and infrastructure sectors in Assam and Australia – An initiative of ‘Smart Villages” research While the ‘Smart Villages’ concept generally requires the rural community to be empowered with self-sustained local resources, knowledge, skills, health and wellbeing, a clear body of knowledge for bringing about the transformation is not readily available within the academic context. One of the key enablers in the transformation is the customised “Construction Management Practice” where local resources are utilised through professional education and rigorous community engagement.  The ‘Smart’ concept is a local phenomenon, however,…
Mapping embodied environmental requirements of urban building stocks
The energy associated with the construction and operation of buildings could represent more than 50% of the total energy demand (Anderson et al. 2015) and associated environmental impacts. Reducing building energy use and related environmental impacts is therefore critical in order to mitigate climate change and global warming at both the city and global scales (IPCC 2014). However, current spatial decision support systems often do not consider embodied environmental impacts and focus mostly on building operational energy, e.g. Howard et al. (2012). The aim of this project is to integrate building embodied energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions and materials into…
Bull Street Terraces
Bull Street Terraces by Crosby Architects is a medium density development in the Victorian town of Castlemaine. It has been designed to achieve the Living Building Challenge certification. Thrive is involved through supporting the project in its certification process and following the project as it becomes a Australia's first project to aim to be more like a tree or a flower - non-toxic, healthy, beautiful, contributing to urban agriculture and ecosystems, zero energy and water.  
Co-seeding the future
Co-seeding our future: children’s agency in rewilding urban spaces - a proposed project for 2017 “Young people are rarely invited to have their voice heard on things that matter. We are described as having potential, as though our power to bring about change lies dormant. We are proclaimed as being our world’s future, as though we don’t exist in the present. (Imogen Morrissey, age 21, Plan International Youth Ambassador, Australia). "How can co-creating community green spaces with children enhance wellbeing and generate custodianship?" CoSeeding our future examines the effect that children’s contribution to their local neighbourhoods has on building sustainability…
Smart Villages
Construction of affordable housing and related infrastructure for ‘Smart Villages’ Communities in Assam, India Development of smart villages framework based on a bottom up data-driven approach by keeping the community at the core for policy formulation and decision making. The Melbourne School of Design currently has an exciting opportunity for two Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidates to join an innovative multidisciplinary project working towards supporting Smart Villages research through capacity building in construction management practices for the State of Assam, India.  The project, funded by the State Government of Assam, India to research construction of affordable housing and related infrastructure…
Seacombe West – Australia’s First Regenerative Community
  Site Description Seacombe West, located to the southern edge on Lake Wellington, Gippsland Lakes system, aspires to become a Regenerative Community for all of the future stakeholders of the area. The site, of approximately 680ha, has suffered from significant ecological degradation resulting from the channel between the fresh water lakes and the adjacent estuary. This channel, created in the late 1800s has led to the salinisation of the land and diminished the overall health of the ecosystem. Furthermore, the Gippsland Lakes suffer an overload of phosphorus due to agricultural activities of the area greatly diminishing its water quality and…
Improving the Environmental Performance of Australian Construction Projects
This project aims to investigate the environmental impacts of construction in Australia through the development of a sophisticated hybrid environmental assessment model. The project will assist in identifying the most significant environmental impacts, critical areas for mitigation efforts and informing environmental policy and programs within the Australian construction industry. The development of one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive models for assessing environmental impacts ever produced will enable cost- and time-efficient evaluation of multiple environmental impacts at a high level of detail and completeness. This will lead to considerable improvements to the environmental performance of Australian construction projects.
Running Wild
Running Wild was conducted in collaboration with Polyglot Theatre and Mahogany Rise Primary school to reveal social and ecological narratives of ‘place’. The project culminated in a collaborative and interactive art installation and performance in the children's local reserve and examined how ecological values and stewardship can be communicated through art and science. More broadly, Running Wild blended cultural and scientific methodologies to ask:  ‘How can we reveal urban nature and provoke humanities intrinsic emotional connection with nature?’; ‘How can arts-science collaborations deliver ecological understanding of environmental adaption and resilience?’, and; ‘Can we reverse the perception that new technologies separate youth from nature, and…
Regenerative development in action
Regenerative development creates the capacity within a system for it to be vital, viable and able to constructively adapt to change. Critical to this is the engagement of people. This series of five short videos made by award winning videographer Alexander Melck demonstrates regenerative development in action in design, business and education. Critical to a thriving future is that business begin to see their role as enriching, supporting and benefiting their community, New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins is a wonderful case study. This short video shows how the brewery isn't just sustainable in its water, energy and resource use;…