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Dr Jonathan Daly

Researcher, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University

My research explores how urban design enables and constrains ethnic cultural differences and intercultural encounter in the urban public spaces of Western cities. The unprecedented growth of ethnic diversity in Western cities raises questions about the role that physical form plays in mediating intercultural relations in the everyday spaces of everyday life. Immigrants from different ethnic groups bring their own habitus to new settings, which manifest in different ways of occupying urban public spaces. While several studies have explored this issue from a sociological and cultural perspective, ie. human-human interactions; whereas the literature on human-nonhuman relations remains largely unexplored. This study draws on assemblage thinking, affordances, habitus and actor-network theory, as a methodology for studying human-nonhuman relations in three civic squares in the cities of Melbourne, Copenhagen and Toronto. Formal and informal spatial practices are identified and investigated through observation, mapping and interviewing. This research seeks to reveal important insights to help governments and designers better align urban design schemes with the increasingly ethnically-diverse everyday life in our cities.

Jonathan is also the founder and director of the Urban Behaviour Lab, a specialist design research practice for the built environment.


  • 2019–present
    Research fellow, RMIT University
  • –present
    PhD Candidate & Casual Lecturer in Urban Design, University of Melbourne


  • 2020 
    University of Melbourne , PhD Urban Design
  • 2000 
    University of Newcastle upon Tyne , MSc Urban Planning & Design


  • 2019
    Superkilen: exploring the human–nonhuman relations of intercultural encounter, Journal of Urban Design
  • 2016
    Measuring human experiences of public spaces: A methodology in the making, Conscious Cities