A housing estate expanding towards untouched green land

Centring nature in the transformation of urban spaces

Amidst the growing housing crisis and rising urban heat, prioritising nature in city planning is vital.

As cities grapple with housing shortages and urban heat challenges, it's crucial that nature is centred in the transformation of expanding urban spaces. Our urban planning approaches and regulations often prioritise human needs at the expense of the environment. This oversight in acknowledging the diverse species that cohabit these environments has led to the mismanagement of natural resources, missing the opportunity to enhance human well-being through the creation of vibrant urban spaces.

In partnership with Henry Halloran Trust, an expert panel will discuss how concepts of multispecies justice can inform planning for nature-based solutions, striving to rebalance the relationship between human development and the environment.

This event is the second panel in SEI's four-part  Climate and Biodiversity Crises Series. The panel series brings together those working on climate solutions and nature damage to consider how these two crises can be addressed together.


Nicole Gurran (Chair), urban planning researcher

Nicole Gurran is an urban planning researcher, educator and practitioner, as well as being the Director of the Henry Halloran Research Trust. Housing and housing affordability have been a central focus of Nicole's work, as well as regional migration, environmental planning, and climate change. Her recent research examines digital disruption, platform tourism, and cities, as well as the emergence of new rental markets and housing precarity. Over two decades, Nicole has led and collaborated on a series of studies on urban planning, housing, economic productivity, and policy reform funded by the Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute (AHURI), the Australian Research Council (ARC), governments, and industry.

Gwilym Griffiths, urban greening expert

Gwilym Griffiths is an urban greening expert with a passion for the planning, design, and delivery of effective green and blue infrastructure to create liveable cities. He has extensive experience in aligning urban forest strategy with on ground operational capability. Gwilym is a qualified arborist, landscape designer, horticulturist, and project manager with over 20 years of experience in both government and private sectors. As the founder of Good Canopy Company, Gwilym drives change to enhance urban environments through sustainable urban forest practices. Drawing on his time as the Urban Forest and Ecology Manager at a large Sydney Council he applies deep understanding of urban forest policy implementation, canopy monitoring, asset data management, and operational urban forest management to his practice. 

Adrienne Keane, researcher and urban planner

Adrienne Keane is Deputy Head of School of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney and leading researcher and urban planner. Adrienne’s research interests focus on protecting natural values in cities, in particular on statutory land use planning and the consequences of policies in nature conservation. Adrienne is a member of the Urban Specialist Group, part of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas; an Associate Member with the Planning Institute of Australia; a board member of the International Urban Planning & Environment Association; and the community representative (President), Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre, NSW Department of Education.

Elham Monavari, Green Building Council of Australia

Elham Monavari is Head of Green Star Strategic Delivery at the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Elham is responsible for the strategic delivery of Green Star rating tools through the provision of certification services for all rating tools. She is managing the transformation of the certification process into an online delivery service, including revamping GBCA’s Quality Management System process to suit the new solution. Elham has over 20 years’ of experience leading the development and implementation of sustainability strategies in multiple sectors including not-for-profit, government and the private sector.

Christopher Raymond, University of Helsinki

Chris Raymond is the Director of the “Enabling multispecies transitions of cities and regions (MUST)” Strategic Research Council project, Leader of the Urban Theme at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki, and Executive Director of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources. He has expertise in inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches related to environmental valuation, environmental and multispecies justice, knowledge co-creation, nature-based solutions co-benefit and cost assessment and sustainability transformation. Professor Raymond regularly advises national ministries and the European Commission in these fields. Prior to commencing the MUST project, Professor Raymond was Coordinating Lead Author of the IPBES Values Assessment.

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