• The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


My work champions growing and greening democracy by rethinking community and via transformative governance innovation. As a scholar-storyteller for just, care-full, healthy and inclusive cities and places, I am passionate about co-producing feasible and radically-progressive responses to the local and global challenges and crises facing us, our families, and seven million of our closest neighbours. To me, this means understanding the ethics, politics, plans, roadblocks and exploring the various strategies and roadmaps towards the kinds of places where we want to live, work, and play.

Roles and responsibilities

You'll find that I contribute across the university for the benefits of staff, students, community, and society. Currently, I am a Councillor for the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG), an Associate Editor for Geographic Research, on the editorial board for Australian Geographer, a UWA Public Policy Fellow, and serve on the UWA Human Ethics Review Panel. I review for the Australian Research Council and international journals in planning, geography, and urban studies. I am affiliated with the UWA Centre for Regional Development, Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products; UWA International Space Centre; UWA Social Care and Social Ageing Living Lab. I am an active participant in the UWA Communities of Practice: Restorative Justice; Research-led Curriculum; Employability (previously the Faculty of Science workplace-integrated learning taskforce). I am an Academic Member of the Planning Institute of Australia and Chair of the Shire of Chittering Health Advisory Group. 

Previously, I have held roles on PIA WA Award Jury, UWA Academic Board, as the inaugural Master's Student Engagement Co-ordinator for the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment (SAGE), Coordinator for the Undergraduate Human Geography and Planning major and served on the SAGE Executive and various committees (including Postgraduate and Education). 

I have co-convened international conferences on planning, housing and community in Auckland, Melbourne, Perth, Barcelona, and been invited to give a TEDxUWA talk towards growing and greening democracy. I am a graduate of the UWA Leadership Development for Women programme and have been trained as and assess candidates as a nationally-accredited Facilitative Mediator.


My core research and teaching interests focus on political geographies and planning for people and places across the scales of the city, regional, and community development by championing regenerative governance.

Currently, my research in core areas of community, governance and planning inform my regenerative governance agenda. This agenda interweaves research, teaching, and service focussing on governance innovation and rethinking the critical infrastructures of healthy cities and places with a focus on policy translation and transformational learning. Regenerative governance calls for reworking the state-civil and capitalist institutional arrangements of actors, roles, relations, and power based on regenerative sustainability as the next-gen sustainability wave. Regenerative sustainability, following Gibbons,[i] holds ‘…a holistic worldview and paradigm, integrating recent understandings from science and practice, different ways of knowing, and inner and outer dimensions of sustainability necessary for systemic transformation’. A regenerative paradigm recognises critical infrastructures as ‘a multidimensional and lived phenomenon that is as much about people, space, place, ecology and culture, as it is about pipes, scaffolding, wire and concrete’ (Steele, 2017, p. 14)[ii]. The implications for recalibrating our planning and wider governance mechanisms require rethinking our methodologies (in postcolonial and posthuman terms), and our conceptions and practices around critical infrastructures, especially regarding housing and community.

I have developed this regenerative agenda over nearly 20 years of scholarship and community engagement. Over the past decade my primary area of expertise is in governance and planning of contemporary urbanism related to urban intensification and building community in high-rise housing. My work builds from the basis of my award-winning PhD ('Rethinking Community in Planning: A review of the role of planners and citizens in building strong communities') exploring why and how planners and communities need to better understand our interdependence between individuals and collectively. In recent work, I have explored the implications of rethinking community and governance in digital urbanism, super-sizing cities through local government amalgamations, and using conflict productively in planning. My multi-disciplinary research extends from political economies of community development to political ecologies of healthy environments; aiming to manage conflict and generate equitable outcomes where humans and non-humans interact and compete for space and resources. I am a registered bee-keeper and qualified queen-bee breeder interested in the urban wild and post-humanism. I champion political thinking about how we learn to disagree, live harmoniously in high-rise housing, and plan for more or less transformative community governance in smaller and larger cities and communities now and ahead.

Core areas include: (1) Community planning and development; (2) Political and Planning theory and practice; (3) Strategic governance through public policy and law; (4) Transformative change mechanism for just and inclusive cities

Research keywords include: Community wellbeing, health, and development; Community engagement and capacities; Social sustainability; Housing; Urban governance and planning; Conflict; Strategic planning; Participatory planning; Political economy; Political ecology; Mutual learning; Commons; Urban futures.

[i] Gibbons, L. V. (2020). Regenerative—The New Sustainable? Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland), 12(13), 5483.
[ii] Steele, W., Hussey, K., & Dovers, S. (2017). What’s Critical about Critical Infrastructure? Urban Policy and Research, 35(1), 74-86.

Future research

I welcome your conversations about research and supervision opportunities for a wide range of areas especially those related to championing and implementing regenerative governance.

I supervise project including PhDs, Masters, Honours, and internships (including UWA Summer Down Under Research Internships and the WA Parliamentary Research Programme) in disciplines across geography, planning, environmental science, political ecology, law, and many disciplines.

You might discuss research opportunities around the following areas of active research interest or a related topic:
(1) Transformative political economic and ecological approaches to engaging citizens and community in climate-just and equitable urban living
(2) Social sustainability, managing conflict, and the urban commons in high-rise living
(3) Socio-ecological innovation in community-led planning
(4) Ordinary and gentle geographies of urban and regional development
(5) Promoting healthy urban nightscapes by managing the dark and artificial lighting at night
(6) Reinstating kids and seniors in the city via integrated life-course approach and participatory planning
(7) Innovative and transformative methodologies for community-led development and post-human geographies
(8) Posthuman and digital urbanism centred around care, wellbeing, and interdependence
(9) Governance and planning innovations and reform relating to planning systems, housing, and outerspace
(10) Healthy urban futures (living, working, and connecting) 

Funding overview

A select list of Clare's recent team science funding success at Federal and University level includes:
Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme: the CAUL Hub Project 6.2 From footpaths to ecosystems: understanding the role of the verge in delivering urban ecosystem services.
CRC for Honey Bee Products (2017) 3-year international multidisciplinary programme. Project 3.
UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellowship Host (Fellow: M. Holton): “UniverCities and Studentification: investigating the influence of student accommodation experiences on global cities”
WUN Worldwide Universities Network (2017) Research Development Fund: In-Herit: The role of heritage in ontological security and community cohesion during migration and displacement
WUN Worldwide Universities Network (2016) Research Development Fund: Healthy-Polis – Developing Urban Lifecourse Approaches in response to Climate Change
University of Melbourne Engagement Grant (2015) Promoting a new vital link between public health and the built environment improving artificial light at night.
ARC Linkage - LP120100116: Chief Investigator, 3-year multidisciplinary project (2012): “Networks, neighbourhoods and newborns: defining household and local area influences on social connectedness, to understand pathways to health”.
Investigator in Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) ¬Demonstrator Projects for Incorporation into the AURIN e-Infrastructure (2012): “Characterising networks in geographical and social ‘space’ - integrating tools for network analysis”.
Melbourne Research Carlton Connect Initiatives Fund Round 2 (2013) “Building an Evidence Base to Support Planning for Socially Connected, Equitable Communities”.
Research Collaboration Grant, University of Melbourne, (2010) “Sustainability adaptation and mitigation in strategy policy and practice” (Sustainable Streetlighting).

Previous positions

Lecturer, Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Australia (2009-2012).

Lecturer, Urban Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, The University of Auckland, New Zealand (2006-2009).

Industrial relevance

Nationally-accredited Facilitative Mediator
Committee for Perth FACTBase collaborator

Teaching overview

PLNG5403 - Planning and Governance
PARL3399/5599 - West Australian Parliamentary Internship

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Industry keywords

  • Government
  • Built Environment
  • Health
  • Education
  • Space
  • Ageing

Research expertise keywords

  • Community development
  • Planning theory and professional practice
  • Governance and policy
  • Health and well-being
  • Community engagement
  • Post-human geographies
  • Smart Cities and strategic metropolitan planning
  • Human and urban geography
  • Conflict and Consensus
  • Political economy and ecology
  • Green Spaces
  • Governance innovation


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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