Sarah Bekessy


Presentation Title


The critical role of ‘everyday nature’ for the future of cities



A perfect storm of ideas is generating unprecedented enthusiasm for embracing nature in cities. Re-enchanting urban residents with nature can deliver a remarkable range of health benefits, while creating cities that are more resilient to climate change. Creating ‘every day nature’ in cities presents opportunities to reverse the fate of many threatened species and connect people with Indigenous history and culture. But it’s more than just urban greening; it’s generating daily doses of biodiversity. The future of livable cities may well depend on this new conceptualization, but a major shift in the way nature is conceived of and planned for is required.  


Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled ‘Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that has now been used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.