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Laura Wynne


Laura's research at the Institute for Sustainable Futures focuses on urban planning, transport, decentralised energy and community engagement for sustainability.

Laura’s primary research interest is in the sustainability of urban systems. Laura has undertaken a range of projects relating to resilience and cities, including:

  • Research funded by the Building Resilience to Climate Change fund investigating the resilience of peri-urban agriculture in the Sydney Basin, including threats and opportunities related to the continued production of local food in Sydney. This project included undertaking modelling of future land-use scenarios to understand their impact upon future food production in the Sydney Basin as part of a Building Resilience to Climate Change funding;
  • Providing guidance to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage on how to improve urban sustainability outcomes through their input into the planning system;
  • Developing a framework for regenerative infill development for UrbanGrowth NSW;
  • Several research projects relating to achieving sustainable transport outcomes through the land-use planning system including for the City of Sydney, specifically using a mechanism called Travel Planning; and
  • A five-year research project investigating societal perceptions and acceptance of remediation technologies for the Collaborative Research Centre for Contaminated and Remediated Environments.

Laura’s role involves contributing to the design and proposal of research projects, managing projects from conception to completion, and undertaking, analysing and reporting on results using a range of methods across a variety of disciplines. Laura is experienced in using and analysing data from a range of research methods, including interviews, surveys, policy analysis, focus groups, observation, data analysis and mapping.

Laura has extensive project management experience, having managed a range of projects including research projects, communications initiatives and large events. Laura has managed two major academic conferences: the ACFID University Network Development Futures Conference, and the Australian Alliance to Save Energy’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency and Decentralised Energy, is responsible for managing research projects valued at a total of around $700,000 per year.

Laura is currently undertaking a PhD in social science with the University of Tasmania, funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award and a scholarship from the Australian Housing Research Institute. Her PhD focuses on the renewal of public housing estates in NSW, with a case study of the planned redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate.

Prior to joining ISF, Laura worked as Leichhardt Council’s Sustainability Engagement Officer, delivering a range of communication and engagement programs and contributing to Council’s sustainability projects. Laura has also worked as a science communicator with CSIRO focusing on climate change research projects. Her work focused on delivering communication projects for the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative, a research project that sought to improve understanding and forecasts of the impacts of climate change on rainfall and runoff in the Murray-Darling Basin and Victoria.

Laura has completed a Master of Planning at UNSW, which included a thesis component. Her thesis examined the effectiveness of a travel planning mechanism within NSW local government land-use planning policy. This work was awarded a distinction and was given a Commendation by the NSW Planning Institute of Australia’s Awards for Planning Excellence 2014. 


Laura is a member of the Planning Institute of Australia. Laura is also an associate editor of New Planner, the journal of the NSW branch of the Planning Institute of Australia. 
Image of Laura Wynne
Senior Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures
Associate Member, ISF - Institute for Sustainable Futures
Bachelor in Arts/Science
+61 2 9514 4399

Research Interests

  • Urban planning, city resilience and sustainability
  • Housing futures
  • Transport planning (especially active transport)
  • Peri-urban agriculture
  • Community engagement for sustainability


Wynne, L.E., McGee, C. & Lehmann, S. 2017, 'Housing innovation for compact, resilient cities' in Growing Compact Urban Form, Density and Sustainability, Routledge.
The book presents contributions from internationally well-known scholars, thinkers and practitioners whose theoretical and practical works address city planning, urban and architectural design for density and sustainability at various ...


Wynne, L.E. 2015, 'Can We Integrate Land-use And Transport Planning? An Investigation Into The Use Of Travel Planning In Regulation', WIT Transactions on The Built Environment, Urban Transport 2015, 21st International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment, Valencia, Spain.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A growing interest regarding the integration of land-use and transport planning has led to the inclusion of transport planning mechanisms within land-use planning policies at the local-government level in New South Wales, Australia. Travel planning is a site-based transport planning methodology that seeks to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicle trips generated by a site or precinct. Many local governments in Sydney are beginning to incorporate a travel planning mechanism, which requires developers to prepare and implement travel plans for new sites, as a condition of development consent. But is this mechanism achieving its intended goal? This research investigated the use of this mechanism in local government Development Control Plans in Sydney to explore whether these controls are effectively delivering an integration of transport outcomes in land-use planning. Through a series of interviews with local government planners from a range of Sydney councils it was found that the current legislative context in NSW is not sufficient to deliver transport outcomes via the land-use planning system. The research found that the land-use planning system is an inappropriate stage at which to include a travel planning mechanism. The paper outlines shortcomings in the use of this transport planning mechanisms in a land-use oriented legislative context, and makes recommendations for improvement of the mechanism.
McGee, C.M. & Wynne, L. 2015, 'Regenerating the Suburbs: A model for compact, resilient cities', Website proceedings of SOAC, State of Australian Cities 2015, SOAC, Gold Coast, pp. 1-10.
Australia's major cities face a number of growing challenges, such as accommodating population growth while containing urban sprawl, catering for an ageing population and keeping housing affordable. Cities must reduce their ecological footprint to remain liveable, resilient and economically competitive. Yet accommodating increased densities in urban areas is a fraught issue that often sees planners, developers and local communities in conflict. Meanwhile, housing affordability is in crisis, fuelled by an inadequate supply of housing close to jobs and a taxation system that favours investors. The Reserve Bank has suggested 'the answer.. lies in more innovative and flexible use of the land that we have so that the marginal cost of adding more stock of dwellings is lower. This paper explores a model for compact urban living that helps to address a range of these challenges. It's a mainstream, small-scale adaptation of the 'co-housing' concept: single-dwelling suburban blocks are adapted to accommodate 2 or 3 smaller dwellings with some shared spaces, reducing the overall physical and environmental footprint per household. Households are likely to come together through their own social networks. This is just one solution in a broader suite of necessary planning approaches, but is affordable, in step with changing household structures and social trends, and may hold a key to 'humanising' density increases in urban/ suburban areas. It may also help to enable an informal 'sharing economy' that could reduce living costs and improve economic resilience. Despite the potential, this model is not well enabled via current regulatory systems. This paper explores the opportunities and barriers, with a focus on the NSW planning system, and recommends greater flexibility in some key planning instruments.
Wynne, L.E. 2015, 'Using the land-use planning system to achieve transport-planning outcomes: Comparing experiences between NSW and the UK', Proceedings of the State of Australian Cities Conference 2015, State of Australian Cities 2015, Gold Coast.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Growing interest in the integration of land-use and transport planning has led to the inclusion of transport planning mechanisms within land-use planning policies by local governments in Australia. Travel planning is a transport planning methodology that seeks to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicle trips generated by a site or precinct. Many local governments are beginning to incorporate a travel planning mechanism as a condition of development consent, requires developers to prepare and implement travel plans. Previous research has found that the implementation of travel plans in land-use planning processes is poorly managed, with no provisions for monitoring, evaluation, compliance or enforcement put in place. This research involved a comparative policy analysis between the UK – where the policy has reportedly been implemented successfully – and in NSW, where implementation of the policy has proved problematic. Drawing on interviews and key policy documents, the review compared key policy mechanisms relating to the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of travel plans, identifying factors in the UK system that were lacking in NSW. This research identified key shortcomings in the NSW system that prevent effective travel planning processes from being undertaken, and explores how the land-use planning system in Australia could be adapted to improve implementation.

Journal articles

Wynne, L.E., Downes, J. & Willetts, J. 2014, 'Development futures: Using futures thinking to re-evaluate the direction of the development sector', Development Bulletin, vol. 26, pp. 10-15.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS


Wynne, L., Cordell, D., Chong, J. & Jacobs, B. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) 2016, Planning tools for strategic management of peri-urban food production, pp. 1-44.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Using Sydney as a case study, this report aims to develop an understanding of what best practice looks for land-use planning on the urban fringe. Peri-urban areas around the world have traditionally been the food bowls of our cities. Increasing urbanisation is threatening the existence of peri-urban agriculture, paving over the soils that have fed global city populations. Increasing conversion to commercial and residential uses, fragmentation, land-use conflicts and global challenges such as climate change pose a threat to the viability of food production in peri-urban areas. This report considers responses that might emerge from the planning system to address threats to peri-urban agriculture. The report focuses on the experience of peri-urban planning and food production in the Sydney Basin, in New South Wales, Australia The report reviews a range of planning responses to managing peri-urban areas for resilience and sustainability. These include strategic planning measures, financial incentives, property rights protections and improved methods for valuing the benefits that peri-urban agriculture provides to cities. For many cities, perhaps including Sydney, a large proportion of peri-urban food production has already been lost, converted to residential use and supporting infrastructure. For that which remains, and for those cities that have sustainably managed their peri-urban agricultural lands, policy and initiatives are required to ensure that food production on the urban fringe can continue to contribute to urban resilience in the future.
Prior, J.H. & Wynne, L. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2015, Societal Perceptions and Acceptability of Remediation Technologies (SPART) Research Project Overall Survey Report (Deliverable 12), Sydney.
Florin, N., Wynne, L.E. & Giurco, D. 2014, Hazardous substances in products: A report on international approaches.
Wynne, L.E. & Zeibots, M.E. 2014, Guidelines for travel planning: A resource for the City of Sydney.
McGee, C.M., Wynne, L.E., Milne, G.R., Dovey, C., Mitchell, C.A., Prior, J.H., Sharpe, S.A. & Wilmot, K. 2014, Guiding World Class Urban Renewal: A Framework for UrbanGrowth NSW.
Berry, F., Wynne, L.E. & Riedy, C. Institute for Sustainable Futures 2014, Changing our Tune: Scoping the potential of the Australian music industry to address climate change, Sydney.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Herriman, J., Mikhailovich, N., Wynne, L.E., Downes, J. & Boyle, T.M. 2014, Leichhardt Council Community Engagement and Participation Plan: Food recycling in multi-unit dwellings, Sydney.
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Ison, N., Ross, K., Cooper, C., Brennan, T., Langham, E., Wynne, L., Riedy, C. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Our energy future: Renewable energy master plan, pp. 1-133, Sydney.
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Ison, N., Wynne, L.E., Rutovitz, J., Jenkins, C., Cruickshank, P. & Luckie, K. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, NSW North Coast bioenergy scoping study, pp. 1-38, Sydney.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Mason, L.M., Unger, C., Lederwasch, A.J., Razian, H., Wynne, L.E. & Giurco, D. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility 2013, Adapting to climate risks and extreme weather: a guide for mining and minerals industry professionals, Gold Coast.
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Abstract Extreme weather events in Australia over recent years have highlighted the costs for Australian mining and mineral processing operations of being under-prepared for adapting to climate risk. For example, the 2010/2011 Queensland floods closed or restricted production of about forty out of Queenslands fifty coal mines costing more than $2 billion in lost production. Whilst mining and mineral professionals have experience with risk management and managing workplace health and safety, changes to patterns of extreme weather events and future climate impacts are unpredictable. Responding to these challenges requires planning and preparation for events that many people have never experienced before. With increasing investor and public concern for the impact of such events, this guide is aimed at assisting a wide range of mining and mineral industry professionals to incorporate planning and management of extreme weather events and impacts from climate change into pre-development, development and construction, mining and processing operations and post-mining phases. The guide should be read in conjunction with the research final report which describes the research process for developing the guide and reflects on challenges and lessons for adaptation research from the project. The Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) led the development of the guide with input from the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation, University of Queensland and a Steering Committee from the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgys Sustainability Committee and individual AusIMM members, who volunteered their time and experience. As the situation of every mining and mineral production operation is going to be different, this guide has been designed to provide general information about the nature of extreme weather events, and some specific examples of how unexpectedly severe flooding, storm, drought, high temperature and bushfire events have...