BEnvDes BArch (Hons) UWA, BPolSt (City Policy) (Hons) Murdoch, BA (Jurisprudence) (Hons) Oxford, LLM, Harvard, PhD, ANU
Amelia Thorpe is Associate Professor and Director of Postgraduate Programs in Law at UNSW.
Amelia works in the areas of planning, property and environmental law, legal geography and urban studies. Her research centres on frameworks for decision-making in contemporary cities – who gets to have a say, and how – and the ways in which those frameworks might contribute to social and environmental justice. She is currently working on projects looking at electric vehicles (funded by the RACE for 2030 CRC), and bicycle delivery cyclists (funded by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications). Amelia’s approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on degrees in Architecture and City Policy as well as Law, and professional experience in public interest environmental law and in planning and urban development.
In Owning the Street: The Everyday Life of Property (MIT Press, 2020), Amelia examines how local, personal, and material understandings about belonging, ownership, and agency intersect with law to shape the city. Amelia's work is published in Australian and international journals including Journal of Law & Society, Law & Society Review, Social & Legal Studies, Planning Theory & Practice and Urban Studies. Amelia serves on the editorial boards of Australian Planner and Environmental & Planning Law Journal and the board of the Association for Law, Property & Society. Some of Amelia’s publications can be downloaded for free from SSRN: http://ssrn.com/author=2832516
Amelia joined UNSW Law in 2012, having worked previously as a director at the Environmental Defender’s Office, Australia’s largest and oldest public interest environmental law organisation. Amelia led the EDO’s legal outreach programs, including Indigenous and community engagement in NSW and a capacity-building program for environmental law in the Pacific region, working primarily on climate change at national and international levels.
Before Law Amelia studied Architecture and City Policy, and worked for the planning, transport and housing departments in Western Australia. This included the award-winning TravelSmart and Liveable Neighbourhoods programs, as well as New Metro Rail, then the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the state, and Dialogue with the City, a deliberative planning process involving more than 1,000 people. A particular interest in the policy and regulatory aspects of urban development led her to study law. Amelia completed law degrees at the University of Oxford and at Harvard Law School and, later, a PhD at ANU.
Amelia remains actively involved in the practice of planning, serving on the City of Sydney Local Planning Panel, the board of Shelter NSW, and as co-director of Urbanistas Sydney and co-chair of the PIA NSW Women in Planning Network (which she co-founded in 2020). Amelia has also served on numerous bodies focused on inclusion and diversity at UNSW, including as co-chair of the UNSW Women in Research Network, chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Law and Deputy Academic Lead of Athena Swan.
Amelia has three young children and works part time.
'Improving Safety for Bicycle Delivery Cyclists', Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Road Safety Innovation Fund Round 2, 2021-2023 (with Soufiane Boufous and Marilyn Johnson), $227,450
‘Electric Vehicle and Grid - Assessment Opportunity’, Reliable, Affordable, Clean Energy for 2030 Collaborative Research Centre, 2020 (with R Dargaville, D Kuch, l Meegahapola, L McIntosh, P Newman, P Paevere, CSIRO and 16 industry partners) $526,000
'Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure – Risks and Opportunities in Urban and Electricity System Planning' Digital Grid Futures Institute, 2020, $25,000 (with Declan Kuch and Nofar Sheffi)
'Paint, posts and productive polities: (re)constructing city-citizen relationships in the street', Centre for Canadian Architecture, Research Fellowship, 2020 (approx. $20,000) (deferred due to Covid-19)
‘Creating the City we Want: Tackling the Barriers to Housing Diversity in NSW’, Collaborative Research Project, Landcom University Roundtable, 2018-2020, $153,510 (with Gerard Reinmuth, Brooke Jackson, Harry Scheule and Adrian Lee, UTS, and Louise Crabtree and Neil Perry, WSU)
‘Urban renewal and the privatisation of public space: implications for democracy and equity’, Cross-Faculty Research Grant, 2018, $9,853 (with Luke McNamara, Laura Crommelin, Alyce McGovern, Chris Martin, Nofar Sheffi and Philip Wadds)
‘6th Fordham International and Comparative Urban Law Conference’ Law Workshop Support Scheme, 2018, $3,750 (with Cathy Sherry)
'Planning, Parking and the Practice of Property', UNSW Law Research Fellowship, 2018 (in-kind, $25,000 equivalent)
‘Constituting Cities: Multi-disciplinary perspectives on the governance of urban spaces’ Law Workshop Support Scheme, 2017, $8,000 (with Luke McNamara)
‘Co-Producing Multi-Media Resources for Environmental Law’, UNSW Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant, 2014, $25,000 (with Cameron Holley)
‘Reducing Corruption Risks in Climate Change’, United Nations Development Programme, 2010, US$24,000
‘Negotiation Training for Multilateral Environmental Agreements’, Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 2010, US$5,000
People's Choice Award, UNSW Presidents Awards, 2017 (WiRN Executive Committee)
Legal Innovation Index (winner, individual category), 2016
Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards, Academic of the Year (finalist), 2016
Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (early career), 2014
Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society prize, 2014
Distinguished Environmental Law Education Award (junior category), IUCN Academy, 2014
Salzburg Global Fellow, 2013
Future Thought Leader, HC Coombs Policy Forum, Australian National University, 2012
Saltonstall Scholarship, Harvard Law School, 2006
Memberships and professional affiliations
Research network on Utopian Legalities, Radical Governance and Prefigurative Politics
Women in Planning Network, PIA NSW
City of Sydney, Local Planning Panel
Planning Institute of Australia
Association of Law, Property and Society
International Academic Association of Planning, Law and Property Rights
Institute of Australian Geographers, Legal geography study group
Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society
IUCN Commission on Environmental Law
New York Bar, attorney
Australian Planner, Editorial Board member, 2014-2021, Co-editor, 2022 -
Journal of Law and Society, Guest Editor (with Bronwen Morgan), Spring 2018
Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Editorial Board member, 2015 -
Harvard Environmental Law Review, Casenote Editor, 2006 - 2007
Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, Associate Editor, 2005 - 2006
Amelia's teaching has been recognized with a Distinguished Environmental Law Education Award from the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, a UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, and a Lexis Nexis Legal Innovation Award.
Cities, Planning, Law and Justice (LAWS3073)
Land and Environment Court Clinic (LAWS3302)
Land Law (LAWS2383)
Development and Planning Law (LAWS8071)
Food Law (LAWS3216)
Principles of Private Law (LAWS1150)
Climate Law (LAWS8066)