Professor Sarah Bell

City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation

Professor Sarah Bell joined MSSI in 2021 as the City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation. Prior to this, Sarah worked for 16 years at University College London as Professor of Environmental Engineering with The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources in University College London (UCL).  Her research addresses community engagement with infrastructure, with a particular interest in water. At UCL she established the Engineering Exchange to support stronger collaboration between researchers and local London community groups.

Professor Bell is a leader in the field of urban water sustainability and is distinguished by her attention to the transdisciplinary nature of the challenge of sustainability. Her scholarly work draws on the social sciences to better understand how people, technologies and nature interact to create urban systems. Her research in sustainability and resilience puts communities at the heart of design and decision-making about urban infrastructures and environments.

Sarah’s research investigates bottom-up community-based engagement in infrastructure provision and is informed by her expertise in urban water systems, and her use of interdisciplinary research methods to explore and address intersecting issues within engineering, policy and society. Watch an overview of Sarah’s work in community co-design for resilient infrastructure and find out more about the work here.

She is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineering, and she uses qualitative social research methods and theories in her work. Her PhD in Sustainability and Technology Policy is from Murdoch University and she studied Engineering and Science as an undergraduate at the University of Western Australia.

The City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the City of Melbourne, with the aim to jointly foster research and training in the field of city resilience and innovation. Professor Bell’s role will connect the urban resilience and innovation activities of both the City and the University, providing scholarship and thought leadership that strengthens policy responses and community engagement for a thriving knowledge city.

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