Laura's research at the Institute for Sustainable Futures focuses on urban transitions 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;
- Scoping research into opportunities for cohousing for seniors in NSW;
- 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.
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 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, and a member of the editorial collective of the Radical Housing Journal.
- Urban planning, city resilience and sustainability
- Housing futures
- Peri-urban agriculture
- Community engagement for sustainability
Wynne, L 2020, 'Empowerment and the individualisation of resistance: A Foucauldian perspective on Theatre of the Oppressed', Critical Social Policy, pp. 026101831983930-026101831983930.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chatterjee, P, Condie, J, Sisson, A & Wynne, L 2019, 'Imploding activism: challenges and possibilities of housing scholar-activism', Radical Housing Journal, no. 1, pp. 189-204.
This paper traces our scholar-activist work with resident groups that
arose in response to the redevelopment of a public housing estate in
Sydney, Australia. Over the two-year period of our involvement, the
groups’ capacities to contest the redevelopment were gradually
destabilised and neutralised by pressure from state actors and through
intra-group tensions. In other words, the activism imploded and we were
imbricated in that process. In this paper, we apply an autoethnographic
method of ‘writing-as-inquiry’, which draws upon our correspondence
with one another as data, to chart the challenges and possibilities for
academics working within urban activism. Firstly, we are critical of
ourselves for treading (too) carefully, which meant that we failed to
challenge gendered, racialized and classed group hierarchies, and failed to
support more radical and resistant positions to state authorities.
Secondly, we highlight the power that individual actors can have to derail
an activist group. Place-based activism necessarily means that people of
varied political leanings and ideological dispositions will come together.
It also means that people of diverse, and sometimes antagonistic
personalities, will encounter one another. Thirdly, we point to the hostile
and destructive context provided by the neoliberal city and, increasingly,
the neoliberal university. We propose that when engaging in activism,
academics should determinedly de-centre the self and centralise activist
aims as they work to balance the objectives on both sides of the scholar-activist hyphen. We deliberate the role academics can play in mediating
the conflicts that arise in activism, and the repercussions of such a
direction, which inevitably means accepting the messiness of activism,
and as Haraway has put it, ‘staying with the trouble’.
Riedy, C, Wynne, L, McKenna, K & Daly, M 2019, '“It’s a Great Idea for Other People”: Cohousing as a Housing Option for Older Australians', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 227-242.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018, © 2018 Editorial Board, Urban Policy and Research. Older Australians face housing challenges including supply, accessibility, affordability, security of tenure and isolation. This article examines the potential for cohousing to address these challenges. In interviews, professionals indicated that cohousing promises benefits for older people, but identified financial and planning barriers. In contrast, focus groups with older people found significant resistance to the concept of shared living; many participants did not see value in cohousing. Resistance stemmed from negative associations with cohousing and cultural lack of familiarity with shared living arrangements. Cohousing has an image problem in Australia that needs to be overcome if it is to thrive.
Wynne, L & Riedy, C 2018, 'Precinct‐scale Innovation and the Sharing Paradigm' in Wilkinson, S & remoy, H (eds), Building Urban Resilience Through Change of Use, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Hoboken, New Jersey, pp. 21-37.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Urban infill development provides high‐density housing on former industrial precincts in well‐serviced areas of many cities over the past few years. This chapter focuses on how urban infill developments can support one particular set of social innovations‐the emergence of a sharing paradigm. Sharing resources, goods and services can enhance urban resilience by reducing demand for new materials and infrastructure, supporting local economies, and enhancing social networks. One of the most obvious intersections between the sharing paradigm and urban resilience is in development of cohousing. Current urban form is biased towards provision of private dwelling spaces. By sharing spaces such as communal kitchens, living areas, laundries and gardens, cohousing developments make more efficient use of space and materials. At the same time, they provide spaces in which social interaction is actively nurtured.
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 2018, 'Housing as right, home as privilege: Social housing reform, redevelopment and the denial of ‘home’', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Auckland.
Wynne, L 2017, 'Trying to stay local in Sydney's 'global arc': social housing tenant perspectives', 8th State of Australian Cities National Conference, State of Australian Cities National Conference, APO, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 1-11.View/Download from: Publisher's site
To become a ‘global city’ is nowadays an almost-ubiquitous aspiration among the world’s major metropolises. Generally, municipalities approach the ‘global city’ ambition by opening up real estate markets for global investment and large-scale development, and shifting towards a tourism and service-focused economy. But what does living in a ‘global’ city entail for those who are not connected in to global financial markets? The low-income and vulnerable residents of inner cities around the world have been disproportionately affected by global city transformations—key examples are Delhi and Rio's efforts to transform for major international events and China’s rapid modernisation and urbanisation. In Sydney, inner-city public housing residents are aware that they, too, are seen as being in the way of the city’s transformation—an anachronism that must be cleared to make way for ‘globally oriented’ development. Situated within Sydney’s ‘global arc’—a corridor of the city targeted for economic and real estate development—the residents of the Waterloo public housing estate have found themselves to be in the sights of politicians and developers intent on ‘renewal’ of the area into a mixed-use, high-density apartment development. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted with community members as they confront the redevelopment plans, this paper explores the impacts of ‘global Sydney’ upon Waterloo residents, looking at resistance to renewal, meanings of and attachment to place, displacement and how it feels to be seen merely as a nuisance to a vast city-building agenda.
Wynne, LE 2017, 'Waiting to be Suburbanised? Urban Planning Governmentalities and the Loss of Peri-Urban Regions in the Sydney Basin', Brisbane.
Presentation to the Institute of Australian Geographers
Wynne, LE 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, International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment, WIT Press, València, Spain.View/Download from: 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.
Wynne, LE 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 (SOAC) Conference, Gold Coast.
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.
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.
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, JH & Wynne, L 2015, Overall Survey Report: Societal Perceptions and Acceptability of Remediation Technologies Research Project, no. 12, prepared for CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, by Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, Australia.
Herriman, J, Mikhailovich, N, Wynne, LE, Downes, J & Boyle, TM 2014, Leichhardt Council Community Engagement and Participation Plan: Food recycling in multi-unit dwellings, Sydney.
This report summarises the results of a Climate Action and Engagement Scoping Study conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures for Green Music Australia. The research provides a snapshot of the Australian music industry's impact, level of awareness and opportunities for improvement with regards to sustainability and climate action.
McGee, CM, Wynne, LE, Milne, GR, Dovey, C, Mitchell, CA, Prior, JH, Sharpe, SA & Wilmot, K 2014, Guiding World Class Urban Renewal: A Framework for UrbanGrowth NSW, prepared by Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, Australia.
Mason, LM, Unger, C, Lederwasch, AJ, Razian, H, Wynne, LE & 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.
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...
Wynne, LE 2017, 'Social housing renewal: threats to tenant stability and security'.
Wynne, LE, Rogers, D, Condie, J, Sisson, A & Chatterjee, P 2017, 'We Live Here: how do residents feel about public housing redevelopment?'.