PhD in Human Geography, Kings College London.
MA in Urban Studies and the Environment, El Colegio de Mexico.
BA (hons) in Cultural Anthropology, Universidad de Las Americas Puebla.
Dr Marilu Melo is part of the Environment and Society Group the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. With a disciplinary background in human geography and cultural anthropology, her research has explored the fields of social housing relocation projects, peri-urban disaster management, water governance and volumetric urbanism.
Marilu’s current research interest is focused on subterranean spaces, expanding geographical scholarship into a volume ontology, by excavating past, present and future material transformations and geosocial agencies of the underground. This includes a project focus on the political economy of tunneling: how the underground has emerged as a significant site for urban development, thus presenting a pressing need to understand its imaginaries, conceptualisations and challenges from a critical urban perspective.
Marilu is also a lead member of the Community Engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction (CEDRR) initiative, a collaboration with the University of Melbourne and emergency service agencies to develop new methodologies to engage the publics in disaster preparation and mitigation. This work has been informed by her case study research on disasters, which has included projects focused on the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria, the 2010-11 South-East Queensland Floods, and the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City.
Prior to her position at UNSW, Marilu has held a variety of teaching and research positions at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and the University of Melbourne.
2020 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, University of New South Wales
2020 David G Stead Award for Best Paper by an Early Career Researcher, Geographical Society of New South Wales (GSNSW).
2019 Deans Award for best designed course, University of New South Wales
Marilu is an editorial board member for the journals Political Geography, and Australian Geographer, and is an active member of Australian Tunneling Society (ATS), the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG), and the Geographical Society of New South Wales.
Through the Community Engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction (CEDRR) initiative, Marilu has been working in collaboration with the Victorian State Emergency Services (SES), Australian Red Cross and Melbourne Water, to implement a survey instrument that assesses household preparedness for disasters. The project has so far been piloted in the north-east of Melbourne in an area that was heavily affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Between 2013 and 2016, Marilu worked as a key researcher in the Stockholm Environment Institute led “Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance” (CADWAGO) project that focused on informing European Union policy in the areas of energy, water and climate change. CADWAGO involved 30 researchers from 10 different academic institutions across Australia, North America and Europe, and notably used “learning event” workshops that facilitated interaction between academics and EU policy-makers to produce collaborative and innovative responses to environmental dilemmas in the European Union.