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Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University

As co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Programme in RMIT's Centre for Urban Research, Cecily studies human-environment interactions, sustainability and health in the context of everyday life in urban environments.

Cecily is Deputy Theme Leader for Liveability in the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub with colleagues from RMIT and the universities of Melbourne, Wollongong and Western Australia (funded by the National Environmental Sciences Programme until 2020). Recent projects include a five-year project with VicHealth and industry partners exploring how best-practice planning affects residents’ health and wellbeing in a master-planned estate in Melbourne. Previously at RMIT she has researched social practices involving energy and water use in culturally diverse households and studied green renovators and housing sustainability in low-income households.

Cecily has published widely on the health benefits of contact with nature, including as lead author on the Healthy Parks, Healthy People report (Parks Victoria 2002, 2008) and several highly cited journal articles. Recently, she co-edited a book on interventions to improve sustainability titled Social Practices, Interventions and Sustainability: Beyond Behaviour Change (Routledge, 2014).

Before joining RMIT, Cecily was a social scientist for the Australian Department of Agriculture where she managed research projects commissioned by policymakers on change in rural industries and communities. She has conducted social and environmental research for Australian universities and governments since 1998. Cecily has a BSc Hons in Environmental Studies (Behavioural Ecology) and a PhD in Health Promotion on contact with nature and children’s mental, emotional and social health (funded by VicHealth).


  • 2010–present
    Senior Research Fellow, RMIT University
  • 2008–2010
    Research Fellow, RMIT University, The Global Cities Institute
  • 2006–2008
    Social Scientist, Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • 2001–2006
    Research Assistant/Fellow/Sessional Tutor, Deakin University, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Health and Social Development


  • 2006 
    Deakin University, PhD Public Health (Health and Social Development)
  • 1998 
    GriffithUniversity, Honours (Behavioural Ecology)
  • 1996 
    Griffith University, Bachelor of Science (Australian Environmental Studies)

Research Areas

  • Social Change (160805)
  • Sociology And Social Studies Of Science And Technology (160808)
  • Health Promotion (111712)
  • Urban Design (120508)
  • Environmental Sociology (160802)