Professor Robyn Dowling

Professor Robyn Dowling

BEc(Hons)USyd; MA, PhD (Brit Col)
8627 4337
G04 - Wilkinson Building
The University of Sydney
Professor Robyn Dowling

Robyn Dowling is Dean of the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning. In 2018, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a leading researcher in the social and cultural geographies of cities, and in particular suburban homes, neighbourhoods and lives. Her current research is focused on the ways in which urban governance and urban life are responding to climate change and technological disruptions.

Funded by ARC Discovery grants in collaboration with Professor Pauline McGuirk of the University of Wollongong, Professor Dowling’s research builds upon the foundations of urban planning to explore the partnerships and complex relationships through which contemporary cities are governed, including the notion of smart cities. She is also researching the new forms of autonomous mobility that are being forged in cities, in particular car sharing and the challenges posed by autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars). She has conducted Australia’s first qualitative research on car sharing, which has been widely cited internationally.

Her long-term research on the suburbs and homes of Sydney, has been documented in international journal publications and her co-authored book Home, published by Routledge. In 2022, she released a significantly revised and updated second edition of the book. This work is currently being extended in a project on the ways in which living in pandemic times shapes experiences of home.

Professor Dowling is a regular reviewer for a wide range of international journals in urban studies. She has conducted research with a range of external collaborators, principally local governments. She is an enthusiastic mentor of early- and mid-career researchers, and in 2021 she was named as the leading researcher in geography and cartography by The Australian’s Research magazine.

The development of new researchers through joint and allied research projects characterises Robyn’s successful record as a PhD supervisor. She welcomes applications from those interested in urban governance, mobilities and climate change.

Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

Project titleResearch student
Emerging Multi-Actor Urban Governance for Smart CitiesSandy BURGOYNE

Selected publications


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Selected Grants


  • CON: Professional Service w Greater Cities Commission: Historical Development of Six Cities - PS0001544 - Robyn Dowling, Dowling R, McNeill D, Greater Cities Commission/Consultancy
  • Workshop Funding fr The Academy of the Social Sicences in Australia: Australian Urban Robotic Futures: Potentials, Limits and Options: Prof Robyn Dowling, Dowling R, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia/Workshop Grant


  • Innovating urban governance: practices for enhanced urban futures, McGuirk P, Dowling R, Maalsen S, Baker T, Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP)
  • Population growth, regional connectivity, and city planning - international lessons for Australian practice, Gurran N, Searle G, Dowling R, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Ltd (AHURI)/Research Grant

Research Recent Grants


Australian Research Council Discovery Grant

Prof R Dowling; Prof P McGuirk

Making Cities Smart: Emergent Geographies of Smart Urbanism


UrbanGrowth NSW

Prof R Dowling

Urban policy & planning for autonomous vehicles

2015 - 2017

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant

Prof P McGuirk; Prof R Dowling

Governing urban energy transitions: reconfiguring spaces, sites, subjects

2014 - 2016

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant

Prof R.Dowling

Beyond the Private Car: Personal Mobility Futures in Australia


City of Ryde

Prof R Dowling; J Irwin

Pilot Trial of Personal Mobility Devices on the Macquarie University Campus


Parramatta City Council

Prof R. Dowling, Dr K.Ruming

Housing needs of PhD students

Related research articles

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