My academic work

As an academic at RMIT University (within the Centre for Urban Research) I work within the interrelated areas of system complexity, energy and the implications for our urban resilience.

Much of my work is concerned with the concept of Limits to Growth, and the fragility of the complex urban systems which make our contemporary lives possible.

In short, I am interested in Collapse.

I have recently completed my PhD thesis entitled ‘Dismantling the Wall: the simplification of complex socio-technological systems and the implications for urban resilience ‘. While broadly within the field of futurist Collapse Studies this strongly (wildly?) cross-disciplinary research encapsulates my interest in the intersections between energy, socio-technological complexity, urban resilience and social change.

With a current book contract with Palgrave Macmillian, I am currently rewriting this thesis for a non-specialist or academic audience. I hope to stimulate wider social debate around the challenges posed by our belief in progress and socio-technological complexity as the panacea for all the challenges we currently face.


Finally, I have been a teacher for over 20 years, including 9 years teaching at undergraduate, Honours and postgraduate levels at RMIT. This has included a wide range of topics including sustainability, political economy, public policy, research skills, critical and social theory, urban and planning theory, and design thinking.


Australia’s fuel (in)security

As a country we are essentially sleepwalking into a situation where we will be 100% reliant on foreign fuel by 2030. For more information, see my Conversation piece entitled ‘Australia imports almost all of its oil, and there are pitfalls all over the globe

Gaming and Limits to Growth

As a neo-Malthusian Limits to Growth theorist, I am interested in the intersections between gaming and ideas of resource scarcity, systems complexity, and collapse. For more information, see my RMIT profile piece on this aspect of my research, entitled ‘Can apocalyptic games prepare us for future sustainability threats?

All photos on this website by Donna McCormick