Researcher

Dr Marilu Melo Zurita

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Dr Marilu Melo is part of the Environmental Humanities program at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. With a disciplinary background in human geography and cultural anthropology, her research has explored the fields of social housing relocation projects, peri-urban disaster management, water governance and volumetric urbanism.

Marilu’s current research interest is focused on subterranean spaces, expanding geographical...view more

Dr Marilu Melo is part of the Environmental Humanities program at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. With a disciplinary background in human geography and cultural anthropology, her research has explored the fields of social housing relocation projects, peri-urban disaster management, water governance and volumetric urbanism.

Marilu’s current research interest is focused on subterranean spaces, expanding geographical scholarship into a volume ontology, by excavating past, present and future material transformations and geosocial agencies of the underground. This includes a project focus on the political economy of tunneling: how the underground has emerged as a significant site for urban development, thus presenting a pressing need to understand its imaginaries, conceptualisations and challenges from a critical urban perspective.

Marilu is also a lead member of the Community Engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction (CEDRR) initiative, a collaboration with the University of Melbourne and emergency service agencies to develop new methodologies to engage the publics in disaster preparation and mitigation. This work has been informed by her case study research on disasters, which has included projects focused on the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria, the 2010-11 South-East Queensland Floods, and the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City.

Prior to her position at UNSW, Marilu has held a variety of teaching and research positions at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and the University of Melbourne.


My Qualifications

PhD in Human Geography, Kings College London.

MA in Urban Studies and the Environment, El Colegio de Mexico.

BA (hons) in Cultural Anthropology, Universidad de Las Americas Puebla.


My Engagement

Marilu is an editorial board member for the journal Environmental Hazards, and is an active member of Australasian Tunneling Society (ATS), the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG), and the Geographical Society of New South Wales.

Through the Community Engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction (CEDRR) initiative, Marilu has been working in collaboration with the Victorian State Emergency Services (SES), Australian Red Cross and Melbourne Water, to implement a survey instrument that assesses household preparedness for disasters. The project has so far been piloted in the north-east of Melbourne in an area that was heavily affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Marilu is working on a project funded by The Henry Halloran Trust with researchers at the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, that examines community responses to the proposed redevelopment of the Sydney’s Waterloo Housing Estate in Sydney’s inner-west. The project aims to give a great voice to those being affected by social housing relocation in Sydney. 

Between 2013 and 2016, Marilu worked as a key researcher in the Stockholm Environment Institute led “Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance” (CADWAGO) project that focused on informing European Union policy in the areas of energy, water and climate change. CADWAGO involved 30 researchers from 10 different academic institutions across Australia, North America and Europe, and notably used “learning event” workshops that facilitated interaction between academics and EU policy-makers to produce collaborative and innovative responses to environmental dilemmas in the European Union.


My Teaching

Marilu is the course convener for the subjects ARTS1240 “Environment and Society” and ARTS2248 “Disasters and Society” which form part of the Environmental Humanities undergraduate major. She also gives guest lecturers for the Master of Environmental Management program.

Marilu is currently the secondary supervisor for two students who are completing their PhDs in geography at the University of Sydney:

  • Pratichi Chatterjee - "Urban Transitions: redevelopment, gentrification and changing people-place relations"
  • Elizabeth Duncan - "Verticality and Volumes in Motion: the cumulative trajectories of waste in a finite plane"
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Location

361 Morven Brown

Contact

9385 2970