Sociocultural ecology

Sociocultural ecology focuses on the study of the fields, processes and codes of assigning meaning and value to built environments. Our research team analyses the histories of environments and how these are transformed and negotiated through theoretical and applied practices. Projects in this course range from construction ecology and building environment through to urbanism and design.

Key research areas

We focus on:

  • built environment processes and codes
  • built environment history and transformation
  • built environment ecology and practice.

Our projects

'Sea change' communities: intergenerational perception and sense of place

We planned to establish a more rigorous method of evaluating the physical and perceived impact of the sea change process on sense of place. Specifically, on the built and natural environments of coastal settlements. 

Using both quantitative and qualitative measures, with a focus on the historic coastal towns of Sorrento and Queenscliff, our findings were published across six papers.

Chief investigators

  • Dr David Beynon
  • Dr Ursula deJong
  • Dr Robert Fuller


  • Queenscliffe Community Association
  • Queenscliff Historical Society
  • Nepean Historical Society
  • Nepean Conservation Group
  • Planisphere P/L (strategic planning and urban design consultants)

Housing for Sustainable Futures in Geelong

Our aim was to develop a holistic methodology for assessing the sustainability of housing developments. Research methodology included:

  • three housing precincts representative of 1950s, 1970s and 1990s in Geelong were identified
  • the characteristics of these precincts were assessed from the perspective of greenhouse emissions, diversity, character, sense of community and use of materials
  • their characteristics were scored from one to five.

Chief investigators

  • Dr Ursula deJong
  • Dr Robert Fuller
  • Susan Ang
  • James Coulson
  • Yolanda Esteban

Transformative Regionalism: mapping the invisible city stories of Geelong

This project developed a model of 'counter-representation' to address Geelong's identity. The methodology included creative mapping of the invisible cultural activities in Geelong to address its identity. 

Two conference papers were put together to:

  • demonstrate that the diverse characteristics of housing developments can be assessed and combined in a meaningful way
  • apply our methodology to future housing development proposals, such as Armstrong Creek, to assess their sustainability. 

Chief investigators

  • Dr David Beynon
  • Dr Ursula deJong
  • Dr Mirjana Lozanovska
  • Dr Cristina Garduno Freeman
  • Dr Robert Fuller
  • HDR student Mahmoudi Farhani

Children's vision of the city

We've run two collaborative design projects with schools, in order to develop participation and empower children to think about the built environment through design.

Our first project in 2000 involved first-year architecture students from Deakin and Year 3 and Year 4 children from Wales Street Primary School (in Thornbury) designing an urban structure.

In 2011, another co-design project was carried out by 12 architecture students from Deakin alongside Year 5 and Year 6 students from Roslyn Road Primary School (in Geelong).

Both projects were well received by students, teachers, parents and community members.

Chief investigators

  • Dr Mirjana Lozanovska
  • Susan Ang


  • Sydney Myer
  • GCC
  • School of Architecture and Built Environment

Our team

Associated staff

Student members

  • Alfan Shilpi Tewari
  • Alexandra-Anda 
  • Florea Diasana Putra I
  • Dewa Gede Agung
  • Hussein Madi
  • Leila Mahmoudi Farahani
  • Jeremy Paul Schluter
  • Nasim Yazdani

Contact us

Group Coordinator
Dr Mirjana Lozanovska
+61 3 5227 8332
Email Dr Lozanovska