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Catherine Wilkinson


Research focus

Cathy's research interests include how urban governance deals with ecology and how strategic spatial planning deals with uncertainty and complexity. She recently co-edited a special edition of Town Planning Review on this topic. She is currently researching the Kiruna Urban Transition as part of a large newly financed five year inter-disciplinary research project.

Cathy's doctoral research critically explored the relevance of social-ecological resilience for urban governance in theory and practice, through a focus on strategic spatial planning. It drew on empirical work with government agencies across Europe (particularly Sweden) and in Melbourne, Australia. Cathy delivered a TEDx talk on 'The Paradox of Urban Resilience' in early 2011 and hosted the inaugural AESOP 'Resilient Cities' Working Group in Stockholm in 2010. She continues her research interest in resilience and is Assessment Coordinator for the Arctic Resilience Report being prepared for the Arctic Council by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Insititute. She also continues empirical research with various Swedish local governments on the applying resilience in planning practice. 

Cathy is a Senior Honorary Fellow with the University of Melbourne in the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning and has continuing research in Australia following implementation of the Melbourne Strategic Environmental Assessment.


Cathy undertook her doctoral research as part of the urban theme at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University in Natural Resource Management. Cathy has a Bachelor Applied Science in Planning from RMIT University and a Masters Environmental Science from Monash University, Australia. She was the Executive Director Strategy Development for the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment until 2005 where she led the development and implementation of Melbourne's metropolitan plan, Melbourne 2030: planning for sustainable development. She sat on the editorial board of Urban Policy and Research Journal for 6 years and the Board of the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority for 2 years.