HOME is a research centre with a single core aim: A Home for all.

About us

As our cities grow they become more socially polarised.

The consequences of social polarisation range from poor health to stifled economic development, rising levels of housing stress and homelessness to deteriorating environments. This is one of the “wicked problems” of our age. It demands a concerted, cross disciplinary array of well-informed policy interventions.

We brought together experts from Architecture & Urban Planning, the Humanities & Social Sciences, and Health & Social Development to address the causes and outcomes of social polarisation in the built environment.

HOME has a co-ordinated research program to do this work, which can in turn inform better policy interventions and build better suburbs.

We hope to reduce social polarisation by research and policy innovation to progress accessible housing, vibrant neighbourhoods and connected communities.

Our research is based on four Home themes:

  1. Home for life: designed to be adaptable and universally accessible, that meets our needs, enables us to engage in personally meaningful activities, is safe and securely ours, and so a home that is made for all stages of life;

  2. Home we can afford: designed to minimise energy use, constructed to minimise environmental impact, that matches our means, that is available to all, and so a home that is sustainable collectively and individually;

  3. Home where we know neighbours: designed for social connectivity, and so a home where we can strengthen relationships across difference;

  4. Home that is connected: to occupations, services, education, nature, transport, play, food, and to the wider world.


Title and Name


Faculty / Institute

Associate Professor Richard Tucker (co-Group Leader) (UDE Team)

Associate Professor Richard Tucker has published approaching 80 outputs on: sustainable design, urban design, the pedagogy of architectural design, the impact of sustainable design on children’s environmental behaviours, and the relationship between health and the built environment. His work has involved substantial competitive grant-funded projects (ten investigations, funded for over $1 million) including six as project leader. He has been Associate Head of Research in Architecture and Built Environment for 6 years. His teaching innovation, which is closely aligned with his research, was recognised in 2011 when he became only the 2nd academic in the discipline of Architecture to be awarded the prestigious Australian Learning & Teaching Council Award for Teaching Excellence.


Dr Fiona Andrews (co-Group Leader)

Dr Andrews’ research focus is exploring barriers to social inclusion for families in different urban settings and identifying housing and neighbourhood design that foster social connectedness and sense of community.


Professor Louise Johnson (co-Group Leader)

Louise Johnson is Professor of Australian Studies. A human geographer, Louise's research interests include how to design and build better Australian suburbs, social and spatial polarisation in restructuring regional centres and post colonial planning.

Arts & Education

Ms Valerie Watchorn Universal Design Evaluation (UDE) Team Leader

Valerie Watchorn is an occupational therapist with a research interest in the areas of environmental accessibility, universal design and people’s use of assistive technology.


Ms Susan Ang (UDE Team)

Susan Ang is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture. Susan’s research is in inter-professional education and design of sustainable built environments through universal design and social inclusion.


Professor Catherine Bennett

Catherine Bennett is the foundation Chair in Epidemiology, and Head, School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University. She focuses on population-based research of both chronic and communicable diseases and leads the first longitudinal population-based cohort study of antibiotic resistance and staph infections in the community. Catherine takes a systems approach to understanding and addressing population level determinants of health, and collaborates with industry, government and universities globally. She is the recipient of a national award for teaching excellence and the Council of Academic Public Health Australia inaugural award for Strategic Achievement.


Professor Barry J Cooper

Barry J Cooper is a Professor of Accounting and Associate Dean – Regional Engagement in the Deakin Business School. Barry's research and interests span a range of areas including business ethics, financial literacy, corporate governance and the exclusion of Indigenous Australians from the accounting profession. He is also a past president of a global accountancy body that has for decades worked to raise the standards of financial education and professionalism in many developing countries, as a means of improving governance, economic development and financial literacy.

Associate Professor Patsie Frawley, PhD

Dr Patsie Frawley is the Course Director and Senior Lecturer in Deakin University’s postgraduate program in Disability and Inclusion. Patsie undertakes research on inclusion for people with disabilities in public life, access to services, in particular for women with disabilities and research and advocacy on sexuality rights for people with disabilities.


Cathryn Grant (UDE Team)

Industry Partner

Senior access consultant at Architecture & Access

Dr David Giles

David Boarder Giles is a Lecturer in Anthropology. His ethnographic research explores cultural economies of food insecurity, waste, homelessness, and publicness in the global city.

Arts & Education

Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson

Claire’s research investigates how homes can be connected to nature. In particular, Claire conducts mixed methods research on the health benefits of contact with nature.


Dr Danielle Hitch (UDE Team)

Dr. Danielle Hitch is an occupational therapist with expertise in knowledge translation. Her research focus includes universal design, the built environment needs of people with mental health problems and social disadvantage and environments that support the capacity of all citizens to engage in personally meaningful occupation.


Dr Nicole Johnston

Dr Nicole Johnston is an admitted Legal Practitioner currently working as a Lecturer and Researcher in the Deakin Business School. Nicole is a socio-legal researcher focusing on multiple aspects of multi-owned properties (strata titling) including governance, conflicts of interest and legal relationships.

Professor David Jones

Dr David Jones is pursuing research threads that seek to improve the physical, psychological and human healthy environmental context within which HOME(s) reside.


Associate Professor Ursula de Jong


Dr Angela Kreutz

Dr. Angela Kreutz conducts research on people-centred design and the creation of humanistic cities that provide physical and social accessibility for all ages.


Dr Justin Lawson

Dr Justin Lawson is a Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development. With a background in rural industry, natural resource management and environmental science, he undertakes research on contact with nature in the Health Nature and Sustainability Research Group.


Dr Mirjana Lozanovska


Dr Meg Mundell

Dr Meg Mundell is a Research Fellow in Writing and Literature. A former policy analyst and deputy editor of The Big Issue, Meg has written about homelessness and spatial justice for The Age, The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald. Her critically acclaimed novel Black Glass (Scribe, 2011) tells the tale of two homeless sisters navigating a near-future Melbourne. Meg's current research uses creative writing to explore ideas of place with people who have experienced homelessness.

Associate Professor Erin Wilson

Erin is interested in the design of homes and communities in ways that are both accessible but also foster inclusion for people with diverse disabilities.


Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin

Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin is an occupational therapist and the Course Director of the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. Genevieve is interested in the relationships between mental health and ill-health, the environment (that is accessible, adapted and safe), and participation in meaningful occupations in people of all ages.Health

Dr Beau B Beza

Beau is Associate Head of School, Teaching and Learning in the School of Architecture and Built Environment. He has years of built environment consultancy and academic experience working on a variety of projects in Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, The United States, Norway, México, Colombia, Nepal and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. His research revolves around developing an understanding in how people derive meaning from the natural and built environment and realise places in these settings.SEBE