We’re an interdisciplinary team of Australia’s leading green infrastructure experts with a shared passion for using plants to make cities more liveable.
We create and embed knowledge and technologies in smart design, construction and maintenance of green spaces, trees, parks, rain gardens, community gardens and green roofs and facades in built environments.
We are part of the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences.
Discuss collaboration ideas―we work with impact-driven local and international industry, researchers from diverse disciplines, government and the community.
Talk with potential supervisors about PhD and Masters project ideas―we’re here to support you in this exciting step in your research career.
Our green infrastructure research is key to liveable cities for people and biodiversity
Our changing climate, booming city populations, soaring energy costs and building works are ideal conditions to maximise the vast benefits of nature in built environments. Green infrastructure can help people in cities and towns live happier, healthier lives.
People move and exercise more, enjoy improved emotional health, breath cleaner air and, through cooler microclimates, experience less heat-related stress. People also enjoy the aesthetics, living art, culture and heritage that green infrastructure brings to life in cities.
Industry, government and the community can benefit through increased productivity and property values, while costs of flooding, stormwater management and energy decrease.
Fusing the natural world with our city life also creates and preserves valuable habitats and ecological biodiversity, conserves water and improves waterway health. Crucially for climate change adaptation and resilience, green infrastructure absorbs and reduces green house gas emissions.
We’re in this together
We value our long and close strategic collaborations with local and international industry, researchers, government and communities. Our focus on end-users, the quality of our work and the relationships we build drive our repeat and referral collaborations – our industry partners have included:
For general enquiries
Research projects & postgraduate opportunities
Please contact individual researchers listed under Research and People
The University of Melbourne
500 Yarra Boulevard, Burnley VIC 3121
We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Owners of the lands upon which our campuses are situated.
- Urban Green Spaces
- Urban Trees and Urban Forestry
- Urban Ecology and Biodiversity
- Green Roofs
- Green Facades and Walls
- Water Sensitive Urban Design
A/Prof John Rayner Green roofs as an adaptation to climate change, landscape design and plant performance, social and therapeutic landscapes
A/Prof Nick Williams Grassland ecology and restoration, green roofs, green walls, urban plant ecology, weed invasions
A/Prof Stephen Livesley Microclimate cooling, green roof energy savings, carbon sequestration, urban forests and trees, biodiversity, water quality
Dr Claire Farrell Green roofs, plant selection, green roof substrates, stormwater runoff, plant drought tolerance
Dr Amy Hahs Urban ecology, remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), biodiversity, landscape ecology, comparative analysis (urban planning, landscape architecture)
Dr Sara Barron Urban forestry
Dr Chris Szota Green roofs, street trees, rain gardens, stormwater runoff, plant nutrient uptake and drought tolerance
Dr Caragh Threlfall Urban ecology and biodiversity, landscape ecology, social-ecological dynamics of human dominated landscapes
Dr Kate Lee Environmental psychology, industrial and organisational psychology, green roofs, green walls
Dr Camilo Ordóñez Barona Urban nature and people, climate change adaptation, management and governance, green infrastructure technologies, urban forests and trees
- Professor Stefan Arndt
- Jess Baumann
- Dr Judy Bush
- Dr Dave Kendal
- Dr Alessandro Ossola
- Janina Konarska
- Suzanne Mavoa
- Zoë Metherell
- Pui Kwan Cheung
- Pei-Wen Chung
- Pengzhen Du
- Bihan Guo
- Paul Hanley
- Katherine Horsfall
- Lavinia Hsiao-Hsuan Chu
- Rose Macaulay
- Zahra Saraeian
- Julia Schiller
- Dean Schrieke
- Jasmine Thom
- Patricia Torquato
- Joerg Werdin
Conference papers and abstracts
Disrupt city life for the better with green infrastructure solutions.
Postgraduate research and study with us is life-changing―for you and for people in cities around the world.
We see limitless potential in plants to make cities more sustainable and support individuals, communities, industries and the environment to thrive. We’re determined to do better and hope that you’ll join us in creating powerful change.
Our latest news and learnings
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Royal Park Direct Seeding Project
In late April, almost a million seeds of native meadow species were sown across a 1,300m2 area under eucalypts in Royal Park. The Royal Park Direct Seeding Project is a collaboration between the City of Melbourne and the University of Melbourne’s Nick Williams, Steve Livesley and John Delpratt. PhD student Katherine Horsfall joins the team and will be investigating novel …10 July, 2020
Moving on to new biodiversity ventures
Caragh Threlfall is leaving GIRG for University of Sydney, having received a Commonwealth Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (ARC DECRA) for the project Success and the city: biodiversity responses in urban environments. Through developing and testing a framework linking urban expansion and biodiversity change, her project aims to identify favourable conditions that support biodiversity in the face of global urbanisation. Caragh …10 July, 2020
JULY 2020 Image: PhD candidate Katherine Horsfall at her grassland research plots in Royal Park Road verges provide ecosystem benefits plus new projects in urban grasslands, how misting can cool cities and stormwater for urban trees. Congratulations to Adrian Marshall for completing his candidature in which he researched ways to maximise the ecosystem and social benefits of road verges (nature strips). Adrian has …10 July, 2020
Collaborative ecology in public spaces – shared learnings
Collaborative research projects in urban ecology and biodiversity were the focus of a March workshop led by GIRG’s Nick Williams with Prof Alexander Felson (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning) and visiting scholar Prof Diane Pataki (University of Utah). Open space managers and maintenance professionals joined researchers at the Melbourne workshop to share learnings and identify new approaches and ways …10 July, 2020
JULY 2020 Biochar source material matters Joerg Werdin and colleagues tested the wood of 18 eucalyptus species and found that biochar made from lower density wood was better at storing water and making it available for plants, with implications for the use of biochar as a substrate additive. Werdin J, Fletcher T, Rayner J, Williams N and Farrell C (2020) Biochar made from …10 July, 2020
Bringing nature back to cities: Streetscape Biodiversity Case Study
The City of Melbourne has released a comprehensive case study of their biodiversity streetscape research project. The project has illustrated how diversifying streetscape plants can have measurable biodiversity benefits by providing resources such as habitat, food and nesting materials. Researchers Nick Williams, Caragh Threllfall, John Rayner and Jess Bauman have been working with City of Melbourne to design experiments and …21 June, 2020
Roadmap for Greener Cities
GIRG researchers Nicholas Williams, Kate Lee, John Rayner and Rachael Bathgate have worked with our industry, government and research partners to develop the Roadmap for Green Roofs, Walls and Facades in Australia’s Urban Landscapes 2020-2030. The roadmap sets out the actions for achieving a flourishing green infrastructure industry and more liveable future green cities, and has been produced as part …9 June, 2020 HIA
Putting Melbourne’s Green Plans into Practice
Dr Claire Farrell took part in a lively panel discussion on urban greening as part of an MPavilion event “Living Melbourne: A Practitioner’s Toolkit to Improve Urban Biodiversity” (Feb 2020). Claire’s co-presenters were Dr Nick Somes (Ecodynamics) and Emma Pryse (Greening the Pipeline). Claire spoke about how the Woody Meadow project could improve urban greening in low maintenance landscapes, especially …10 March, 2020