This strand focuses on research pertaining to the nexus between human, natural and built environments – and specifically how we can build communities that contribute positively to a more sustainable future. Our group interacts with researchers from both the “Natural Resources and Environmental Regenerative” and “Smart Infrastructure and Built Environments” stands.   The techniques we use in this area of research are diverse and include surveys, interviews, virtual reality, GIS, public participation GIS, remote sensing and community forums. We believe working with people to build capacity and understand barriers to change is vital to solving complex problems.  

The strand leader for Environmentally Sensitive and Regenerative Communities is Professor Delene Weber, Professor of Environmental Science.

We conduct research and provide services in:


  • recycling-water Community attitudes and behaviours minus-thin plus-thin

    Community attitudes and behaviours

    Conservation  |  Pollution  |  Transport  |  Housing choice  |  Recycling  |  Alternative water supplies  |  Sustainability initiatives |  Infrastructure design  | Planning  |  Technology preferences

    Image of person with virtual reality equipment over her eyes and looking up

    PhD Candidate Safa Molan in “Facing Fire” VR scenario, developed to educate people on bushfire preparation. Image credit: Steve Hill

    Our researchers conduct studies understanding the role of values, beliefs, attitudes, and emotion in the context of consumer responsibility and sustainable behaviours. Examples of capacity in this area include:

    • Modelling public transport preferences
    • Understanding the value of wildlife experiences as a catalyst for sustainable behaviours
    • Improving bushfire preparedness through the application of virtual reality
  • plant Community Partnerships and Stewardship minus-thin plus-thin

    Community Partnerships and Stewardship

    Urban agriculture | Marketing conservation initiatives | Citizen science | Environmental education | Volunteer Program Development | Partnership development | Bushfire education

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    ScaRCE researchers have experience in working on a variety of community garden and urban agriculture projects to assess social, environmental and economic benefits. Image credit: Jo Thomas, Christie Walk.

    We conduct research focused on building adaptive and resilient communities and forging sustainable partnerships to create more environmentally sustainable futures.  Work in this area includes.  

    Examples of capacity in this area include:

    • Development of citizen programs such as the Bioblitzes, Operation Outdoors and Living Lightly Locally.
    • Understanding barriers and incentives associated with environmental volunteering amongst millennials.

    Creating regenerative communities through understanding the balance between community initiatives and technological innovation.

  • green-home Human Environment Interactions and Benefits minus-thin plus-thin

    Human Environment Interactions and Benefits

    Health and nature connections | Improving physical and mental health through volunteering | Pro-environmental behaviours | Environmental interpretation

    community houses with group of people sitting on a community outside table

    ScaRCE looks at how we can live more sustainably and appreciate the benefits of nature. Image credit: Ross Chapin Architects.

    We conduct research in the area of public health, population studies, the benefits of green and blue space and how we can facilitate increased connection with nature and appreciation of the environment. Examples of our capacity in this area include:

    • Evaluation of visitor satisfaction, benefits and place attachment
    • Application of virtual reality to assess health outcomes related to exposure to biodiversity
  • shield-secure Policy, Governance and Planning minus-thin plus-thin

    Policy, Governance and Planning

    Environmental policy and regulations | Sustainable tourism management | Development and improvement of governance structures | Urban and landscape planning | Transport planning | Public participation GIS  | Disaster planning

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    ScaRCE works with stakeholders to develop context specific solutions.

    Our research team conduct work focused on policy development and appropriate governance to achieve strategic and sustainability goals.  We also focus on improved planning for a variety of applications such as bushfires, urban design, and land use planning. 

    Examples of capacity include:

    • Sustainable tourism planning
    • Application of public participation GIS to assist protected area planning
    • Improving pathways to tertiary education
    • “Fire-safer” communities