Land Use Planning and Urban Design | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Land Use Planning and Urban Design

The Land Use Planning and Urban Design theme is exploring and disseminating the value of applying Human Factors methods to study some of the perennial problems of urban planning and design. This innovative research theme recognises that from a paradigm perspective there are similarities between the challenges faced in Human Factors and those of Urban Design and Planning. For example, issues in both disciplines do not reside exclusively in engineering, nor are they the pure domain of social scientists — both require careful consideration of the objective and subjective interfaces.

This theme recognises the significant and as yet unexplored correlations between the disciplines when reflecting on the description of Human Factors problems. These are often described as humans in systems not behaving as they were expected to; problems which impact overall system performance; and they are often issues that have been resistant to a range of an ongoing technical interventions. The same is true for many of the challenges in Urban Planning and Design, including the prioritisation of walkable and cycleable neighbourhoods or the design and implementation of enduring, accessible and attractive public open space.

This innovative cross disciplinary work seeks to apply new thinking, ideas and techniques to urban issues. It will generate new knowledge and will support the movement away from an entrenched ‘business as usual approach’ to our built environments.

Current Projects

  • Design of school environments to optimise social and emotional development
  • Implementation and design of neighbourhoods that include small lot housing
  • Sociotechnical Systems and Crime prevention through environmental design
  • A systems approach to beach driving accident analysis and prevention
  • Urban planning visualisation

Key Researchers


  • Ryan McNeilly Smith


Recent Publications

Matthews, T, C. Baldwin, Boulton, C, Tavares, S. 2021. Integrating Green Infrastructure with Accessible Design to Reduce Heat Stress on Seniors. Edited by Mark Scott. Planning Theory & Practice. Vol. 22.

Lantsoght, E. O., Tse Crepaldi, Y., Tavares, S. G., Leemans, K., & Paig-Tran, E. W. (2021). Challenges and Opportunities for Academic Parents During COVID-19. Frontiers in Psychology, 3353.

Jacquot, L., Dupre, K., Hamedani, Z., & Tavares, S. (2021). Australian Urban Design Guidelines: what do we know and what can we learn?. Australian Planner, 1-13.

McKinlay,A. Stevens,N. Baldwin,C. (2021) Power Relationships in Housing Production: A sociotechnical systems perspective on the expanding suburbs. Urban Policy and Research Journal.

Stevens, S. Tavares,S. Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 Lock-down on Public Spaces through a Systems Modelling Approach. The Journal of Public Space.2020.