Centre for Regional Development

About us

The Centre for Regional Development was established in 1991 and has since undertaken research for, and disseminated scholarly and applied academic information to, a range of national and government agencies, private sector and community organisations and natural resource management groups.

The Centre will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2021, a testament to our significant and valuable regional work.

Our aims

Current projects

Co-operative Research Centre for Transformation in Mining Economies

The Co-operative Research Centre for Transformation in Mining Economies (2020-2030) – Pillar 1 – Regional Economic Development is led by Professor Fiona McKenzie.

This project will develop participative tools and methodologies that will assist stakeholders to collaboratively build dynamic information systems for shared visions of post-mine options. Specifically, this program addresses fragmented and inflexible policy that blocks mine repurposing, and works to integrate mine closure plans with local and regional strategies.

Built Environments and Child Health in Wales and Australia - BEACHES

National Health & Medical Research Council, Built Environments And Child Health in WalEs and AuStralia (BEACHES). H. Christian, B. Boruff, D. Cross, M. Rosenberg, G. Stratton, P. Gething, S. Trost, J. Schipperijn, B. Beck. (2018-2021).

The BEACHES project is a three-year joint initiative between universities in Australia and Wales. The study will examine how places and spaces created or modified by people, such as buildings, parks and transport systems, influence physical activity and childhood obesity.

Climate-smart landscapes for promoting sustainability of Pacific Island agricultural systems

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Climate-smart landscapes for promoting sustainability of Pacific Island agricultural systems E. Biggs, J. Helsen, E. Bruce, B. Boruff, N. Wales, V. Manu, J. Connell, P. Thu (2017-2021).

This project aims to develop a collaborative geospatial platform that will facilitate identification of climate-smart landscape adaptation responses. Using collaborative mapping approaches, which draw upon principles of participatory mapping, geospatial science and participatory action research, complexities of livelihood-landscape interactions will be captured to empower community members with respect to environmental decision making.

Understanding the environmental drivers of flora distribution honey bee product production and hive management in Western Australian Bee Industry

Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products, Understanding the environmental drivers of flora distribution, honey bee product production, and hive management in Western Australian Bee Industry. B. Boruff, J. Callow, C. Mouat, N. Pauli, E. Biggs, S. Setterfield (2017-2021).

The hive site program is helping protect existing sites, inform bee hive movement and rehabilitate land into new high-value hive sites. Spatial models inform old and new beekeeper migration patterns and the development of enhanced floristic vegetation mapping will support honey bee product development and associated CRCHBP initiatives.

Pollination harmony

Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products, Pollination Harmony B. Boruff, E. Hehre (2017-2021).

The project will identify and quantify honey bee flora activity for nectar and pollen. Using baited remote underwater video (BRUV) technology, at flower activity of honey bees is being examined to better understand how bees interact with floral resources.

Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub - CAUL

National Environmental Science Program Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub. R. Hobbs, B. Boruff, J. Heyworth (2015-2021).

The CAUL Hub is a consortium funded under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program with a mission to provide a holistic view on the sustainability and liveability of urban environments. This program investigates how urban systems interact to define how residents experience major Australian cities, and works to create policy environments that improve these outcomes. In particular, work is underway to investigate and propose pathways to operationalise urban greening in consolidating cities.

Locating loss from climate change in everyday places

This ARC-funded Discovery Project (2018-2021), entitled Locating Loss from Climate Change in Everyday Places, involves Professor Petra Tschakert (main CI), Emeritus Professor Carmen Lawrence, Dr Chantal Bourgault, Dr Karen Paiva Henrique, Professor Paul Plummer, and Pierre Horwitz (ECU) as Co-CIs.

The project aims to advance theory and evidence about social losses from climate change by assessing what rural and urban residents in Western Australia (WA) value about their home places, what they stand to lose from worsening climate risks, and how their efforts to embrace loss and grief may contribute to strengthening community action and social resilience. 

PhD opportunities

Our staff

Professor Fiona M Haslam McKenzie | Co-Director

Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie has expertise in regional economic development with extensive experience in population and socioeconomic change, housing, and analysis of remote, regional and urban socioeconomic indicators. She has published widely and undertaken work for government, the corporate and small business sectors both nationally and in Western Australia. She is a program lead for the Co-operative Research Centre for Transformation in Mining Economies announced earlier this year. She was appointed as member of the Western Australian Environmental Protection Board in 2019 and a member of the International Geography Union Steering Committee in 2020. She is a member of the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia College of Experts.

Fiona is currently researching the socioeconomic impact of different workforce arrangements for the mining industry and uneven economic development in Western Australia, focusing on the key issues of competitiveness, resilience and spatial integration.

Professor Paul Plummer | Co-Director

Prior to his position at UWA, Professor Paul Plummer held positions at the University of Calgary (Canada), University of Bristol (UK), University of Georgia (USA), and University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). He has also held visiting professorships at the University of Tokyo (Japan), University of California-Los Angeles (USA), and Stanford University (USA). He has made foundational contributions to the theory and practice of probabilistic political economy, particularly as it applies to regional economic development. He has expertise in modelling complex dynamic systems and bringing evidence to bear on those models in policy-relevant contexts. He also has extensive experience in both developing and testing models of resilience and competitiveness between people and places.

Associate Professor Bryan Boruff

Associate Professor Bryan Boruff has expertise in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing technologies to the study of environmental hazards. Recent research interests have expanded to encompass a range of environmental management issues including agricultural and renewable energy production, population health, sustainable livelihoods and the development of spatially-enabled eResearch tools. He has extensive experience working in developing nations in multidisciplinary settings with academic, private and government stakeholders, including the Caribbean, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Currently, he is undertaking research for the CRC Honey Bee Products, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, National Health & Medical Research Council and National Environmental Science Program.

Dr Julian Clifton

Dr Julian Clifton is the head of the UWA Department of Geography and Planning. His principal research interests lie in the processes of interaction and conflict between local user groups and conservation policy makers in the marine environment. He has a longstanding focus on marine-protected area institutions and governance in Indonesia, where conservation policy reflects a complex interaction between international NGOs, national and local government and various local stakeholders. His research interests have recently extended to include evaluations of vulnerability to climate change in fishing communities of the Seychelles along with similar studies of adaptation and resilience in Australian coastal communities. He is currently developing a research program focusing on the potential for community-based tourism development in coastal regions of Myanmar.

Professor Amanda Davies

Professor Amanda Davies is Head of UWA’s School of Social Sciences and a lecturer and researcher in human geography. With a disciplinary background in geography, Amanda’s research focuses on examining Australia's population growth, distribution and patterns of demographic change. Her work also focuses on exploring the social, economic and environmental issues related to rural re-population. She is an applied researcher, working closely with industry and government partners to deliver timely and relevant information to inform policy.

Dr Paul Maginn

Dr Paul Maginn is an urban planner/geographer with research interests/expertise in strategic metropolitan planning and planning reform; qualitative methods in urban/housing policy; urban politics and local government; social and cultural aspects of suburbia; geographies and regulation of the sex industry; and online porn consumption. He has recently embarked on an emerging area of research interest: the geographies of retail. He is a founding member of the Urban Broadcast Collective (@UrbanPodcasts), a curated network of podcasts on all things cities and suburbs, set up by a small number of Australian urban studies scholars. Paul is the Editor-in-Chief of Urban Policy and Research; Co-Convenor of the Australian Cities Research Network; a Board Member of Sexual Health Quarters (formerly Family Planning WA); and was Co-Chair of the 2019 State of Australian Cities Conference (Perth, 3–5 Dec).

Dr Clare Mouat

Dr Clare Mouat’s expertise lies in community relations, urban governance, strategic metropolitan planning, political theory and urban futures. Her area of research is the co-production of feasible and radically progressive responses to the local and global challenges and crises in the quest for healthy and inclusive cities and places. Clare is currently collaborating on an ageing in-place research project in regional Western Australia. She is the UWA co-ordinator for the WA Parliamentary Research Program research internships, with oversight of a wide array of student research projects for Western Australian members of parliament.

Dr Natasha Pauli

Dr Natasha Pauli is an experienced interdisciplinary researcher across the ecological, social and geographical sciences, with direct experience of producing evidence-based reports, briefs and presentations to inform policy. Her research expertise is in quantitative and qualitative analysis of social-ecological systems (particularly smallholder agroecosystems), local ecological knowledge, and integrating social and biophysical information into policy and planning approaches. She has led and contributed to several multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research projects investigating biodiversity of agroecosystems, water vulnerability, and integrating local and scientific knowledge of social-ecological systems; emphasising the role of people in environmental decision making under changing conditions. She has extensive experience of field research in Australia, Honduras, Colombia, Timor-Leste, Spain, Fiji, Tonga and Cambodia, speaking fluent Spanish. She has experience in working with and for government, NGOs, consultancies and research institutions, giving clear understanding of the different needs of a range of stakeholders for research outputs to inform policy.

Associate Professor Sarah Prout Quicke

Associate Professor Sarah Prout Quicke’s work focuses on the spatial, temporal, demographic and sociocultural characteristics of Indigenous temporary population movements and indicators of Indigenous well-being for reporting, monitoring and planning purposes. She has expertise in qualitative and community-based research methods and has published widely on the nexus between research, policy and practice, particularly with respect to Indigenous populations. Her research examines population, development and social policy issues in Indigenous Australia and Africa, with particular focus on Indigenous mobility and migration, education and housing policy, and regional development in resource economies. Prior to her appointment at UWA, Sarah led the Indigenous mobilities research subtheme on the MCATSIA Populations Project at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. Sarah teaches in population, migration and social geography.

Dr Linda Robson

Dr Linda Robson is skilled at managing people and resources and ensuring projects get completed on time and on budget. She is responsible for postgraduate teaching and learning and facilitates student mentorships. Her particular ability is to synthesise multi-faceted trends to provide strategic guidance and future projections. Linda assists students to deliver complex ideas and strategies to a wide range of audiences from politicians to the general public. She has extensive operational leadership, human resource and project management experience.

Professor Petra Tschakert

Professor Petra Tschakert is trained as a human-environment geographer and conducts research at the intersection of political ecology, climate change adaptation, environmental justice, and livelihood security. Her current work explores intangible harm in the context of climate change, with particular emphasis on poverty, vulnerability and inequalities. She is the principal investigator on the ARC-funded Discovery Project ‘Locating Loss from Climate Change in Everyday Places’, examining how people across eight communities in urban and rural WA make trade-offs between the many things they value and, collectively, negotiate resilient trajectories through the climate crisis. Petra combines critical social science insights with grounded, participatory methods for collective learning and social change. She played a crucial role as coordinating lead author (CLA) on two major assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Contact Professor Fiona McKenzie