We are 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 Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences and are based at the University’s historic Burnley campus
The new Burnley Green Roof Plant Guide has just been published and provides proven plant palettes for flourishing Australian green roofs. Based on over 15-years’ of research and plant trials at the University of Melbourne’s Burnley campus, the guide outlines plant combinations that can be used on a range of different green roof types to maximise the benefits of urban greening. Download the Burnley Green Roof Plant Guide 2023.
Plant-based research for future green cities
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 greenhouse gas emissions.
We acknowledge and pay respect to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Burnley campus is located.
We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands on which other University campuses are located and recognise their continued connection and care for the land and waters.
Research Themes and Projects
- Urban Green Spaces
- Urban Trees and Urban Forestry
- Urban Ecology and Biodiversity
- Green Roofs
- Green Facades and Walls
- Water Sensitive Urban Design
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. Some of our current and recent industry partners are:
A/Prof John Rayner Green roofs as an adaptation to climate change, landscape design and plant performance, social and therapeutic landscapes
Professor 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
A/Prof Claire Farrell Woody Meadows, urban plantings, plant selection, plant drought tolerance, raingardens and green roofs
Dr Amy Hahs Urban ecology, remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), biodiversity, landscape ecology, comparative analysis (urban planning, landscape architecture)
Dr Chris Szota Green roofs, street trees, rain gardens, stormwater runoff, plant nutrient uptake and drought tolerance
Dr Kate Lee Environmental psychology, industrial and organisational psychology, green roofs, green walls
Dr Marie Dade Ecosystem services of green infrastructure and green spaces
- PhD research
- Professor Stefan Arndt
- Jess Baumann
- Dr Judy Bush
- Dr Dave Kendal
- Janina Konarska
- Dr Adrian Marshall
- Dr Camilo Ordóñez Barona
- Dr Andrea Pianella
- Suzanne Mavoa
- Dr Alessandro Ossola
- Dr Caragh Threlfall
Outreach and communication
Dr Rachael Bathgate Green infrastructure research translation, knowledge exchange, industry engagement
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.
Enrolled students can join our Urban Horticulture Hub @ Burnley to find out about career opportunities, further training, industry workshops and networking opportunities as well as a supportive platform for peer discussion and ideas.
Conference papers and abstracts
See the latest news and learning below, and subscribe to our news updates below to stay posted on how we’re growing greener cities!
Online presentation: A New Grassland for Royal Park, March 7
PhD candidate Katherine Horsfall will be discussing her research into creating native wildflower meadows in urban landscapes in an online presentation organised by the Grassy Plains Network (GPN). Katherine is investigating how species from critically endangered temperate grasslands and grassy eucalypt woodlands can create urban wildflower meadows that can improve urban biodiversity and people’s exposure to nature. Katherine worked with …22 February, 2023 Home Page
New Urban Horticulture Hub @ Burnley: Creating urban greening opportunities for students
A new student resource, the Urban Horticulture Hub @ Burnley, aims to create a more vibrant, engaged and work-ready student community at the University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus. Working with students, academic staff, alumni and partnering with industry associations, the hub will deliver activities that strengthen students’ connections to peers, create new opportunities for knowledge exchange and engagement, and build …12 August, 2022 HIA
New Maintenance Guidelines for Australian Green Roofs
Assoc/Prof John Rayner has brought together researchers and green roof industry experts to develop maintenance guidelines for more sustainable, flourishing green roofs. Tailored specifically for Australian conditions, the Maintenance Guidelines for Australian Green Roofs detail the tasks required to maintain green roof elements including plants, hard landscaping, drainage and fall protection. Case studies and sample maintenance plans are provided for …21 April, 2022 HIA
Burnley Plant Guide Online!
The Burnley Plant Guide Online (BPG) is an indexed and searchable database of landscape plants grown in south-eastern Australia. It is based on decades of teaching and research of plants at Burnley campus (University of Melbourne) and has been a key resource for students since 2012. With over 2,700 native and exotic plant species or cultivars, and complemented with more …21 April, 2022 HIA
Greening Cities event
Bringing together urban greening professionals and researchers to transform urban landscapes Wed 20th & Thu 21st April 2022, Burnley Campus, University of Melbourne Register The Green Infrastructure Research Group and Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria are bringing Greening Cities to the beautiful Burnley campus this month. This is a great opportunity for industry professionals in horticulture, design, planning and policy to join with …1 April, 2022 HIA
International Women’s Day: Celebrating women in science
Senior Lecturer, Dr Claire Farrell, and PhD students from the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences were featured as part of the University of Melbourne's International Women's Day celebrations, recognising the important role of women in science. Lubaina Sonil (from left to right) and Bihan Guo are researching plant performance and species resilience on green roofs, while Claire Kenefick and …8 March, 2022 Uncategorized
News July 4
NEW PUBLICATIONS A Green Factor Tool for Enhanced Greening in Melbourne’s Urban Areas. As cities increase in size and density, the ecosystem services supplied by urban greenery and green infrastructure are increasingly vital for sustainable, liveable urban areas. However, retaining and maximising urban greenery in densifying cities is challenging. Judy Bush assisted in the development of the City of Melbourne’s Green …4 July, 2021
While some of us are still working remotely we continue to collaborate in research partnerships, engage with industry and foster student projects. Read about some of our current research in these recent publications. See all publications Relating the climate envelopes of urban tree species to their drought and thermal tolerance Hanley PA, Arndt SK, Livesley SJ & Szota C (2021) The Science …30 June, 2021
For general enquiries
Research projects & postgraduate opportunities
Please contact individual researchers listed on our People page
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.