Brendan Gleeson


Brendan Gleeson is a professor of urban policy studies in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne and director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute.

He has also held the position of deputy director of the National University of Ireland’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis and, prior to that, set up the Urban Research Program at Griffith University and was its inaugural director.

Professor Gleeson has qualifications in geography and urban planning, including a masters degree from the University of Southern California and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. In 2008 Brendan became a fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and in 2013 he was appointed to the ARC College of Experts.

Professor Gleeson has made significant scholarly contributions in urban and social policy, environmental theory and policy. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, three of which have won national and international prizes, and numerous journal articles. He is a regular commentator in newspapers, television and radio and has written numerous opinion pieces for the Irish Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Age, the Courier-Mail and the Canberra Times. His research interests include urban planning and governance, urban social policy, disability studies, and environmental theory and policy.

He is co-author (with Nicholas Low) of Justice, Society and Nature: An Exploration of Political Ecology (Routledge, 1998), which received the prestigious Harold and Margaret Sprout award in 1999 from the International Studies Association, and in 2006 his Australian Heartlands: Making Space for Hope in the Suburbs (Allen & Unwin) won the inaugural John Iremonger Award for Writing on Public Issues.

His latest books are The Public City (MUP, 2014) and The Urban Condition (Routledge, 2014).


To a new Babylon

EssayIN THE WESTERN tradition, faith and reason stand at opposing poles. My social-scientific training was deeply framed by this polarity. A recent experience, however, caused me to question both it and my own scientific outlook. This was a public...

Not beyond imagining

Some ProvocationsIT'S FIVE-ISH ON a dark November evening in Maynooth, the thriving university town on the edge of Dublin where I presently live and work. I’m standing in the middle of a massive tarmac that seems to beckon the arrival...

Collins St, 3 pm

EssayIT'S 3 PM-ISH, mid-February, I'm at the corner of Collins and Swanston streets in Melbourne, my hometown. I walk the heart of city that I've been away from for twenty years. This means wheeling and dodging through a continuous...

Waking from the dream

EssayFire in the heavens, and fire along the hills,and fire made solid in the flinty stone,thick-mass'd or scatter'd pebble, fire that fillsthe breathless hour that lives in fire alone ...– Christopher Brennan, Poems 1913 IT'S BEEN A bad couple of...

Backyard gardens

EssayWE RARELY TALK sensibly about food – the throwaway line ‘food for thought' is about as close as we come to connecting thinking with eating. This isn't an attitude we can afford any longer. Our food production and distribution...

The greatest spoiler

Essay‘The hard-nosed realists who claim there is no need for another world have clearly not been reading the newspapers.’– Terry Eagleton, The Gatekeeper (Allen Lane, 2002) AUSTRALIA'S DEVELOPMENT HISTORY is, as the historian Geoffrey Bolton describes it, a tale of spoils and...

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