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Richard Tomlinson

Professor of Urban Planning, The University of Melbourne

Richard Tomlinson is Professor in Urban Planning in the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning. Before coming to Australia he served as an urban policy consultant in Southern Africa and as an academic in South Africa and the USA. His clients included the post-apartheid South African government, and provincial and local governments, The World Bank, USAID, UN HABITAT, international and local NGOs, and also the private sector. As an academic he has served as a Professor and Visiting Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, as a Visiting Scholar and SPURS Fellow at MIT and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. His earlier research addressed international urban policy processes, urban governance, housing and services, local economic development. search engine optimisation and the implications for urban policy, mega-events and their urban legacies, and urban aspects of HIV/AIDS. The relative focus has been Australia, South Africa and India. His current research focus is on metropolitan governance. Related is that in 2012 he edited a book, Australia’s Unintended Cities; and in 2018, as a co-editor, he is publishing a book on a metropolitan reform agenda for Australia.


  • 2016–present
    Professor in Urban Planning, University of Melbourne
  • 2009–2015
    Professor, Chair in Urban Planning, University of Melbourne
  • 1993–2008
    Visiting Professor, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 1993–2008
    Urban policy consultant, Self-employed
  • 2007–2008
    Visiting Professor, Columbia University
  • 1989–1993
    Manager, Planning Unit, Development Bank of Southern Africa
  • 1991–1992
    Guest Scholar, Brookings Institution
  • 1981–1988
    Senior Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 1986–1987
    Guest Scholar, MIT


  • 1981 
    Rutgers University, PhD


e.g. Resident scholar, Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio Center e.g. Guest Scholar, Brooking Institution.