Lisa Law is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in geography and urban studies.  Her research focuses on urban spaces in Southeast Asia and tropical Australia, and crosses a wide spectrum including:  liveability and place-based urban design for tropical towns and cities, the contested meanings and uses of public space, and the role of the senses in urban life.  She is founder of JCU's Tropical Urbanism and Design Lab, an interdisciplinary team of geographers, architects, sociologists and planners interested in urbanism in the tropics. Prior to commencing her appointment at James Cook University, she was employed at the Australian National University, the University of Western Sydney, the National University of Singapore and the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Lisa is interested in receiving inquiries from prospective PhD and Masters by Research candidates who are interested in urban research in the tropical world. Scholarship funding is available through the James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarships. The closing deadline is 30 September.  Some potential projects include:

Lisa is Coodinator of the Master of Planning and Urban Design https://www.jcu.edu.au/courses-and-study/courses/master-of-planning-and-urban-design which provides interdisciplinary training in addressing the challenges of the 21st century tropical city.  It provides links to research and work integrated learning across Cairns and Singapore.

Lisa is also the Coordinator of the Human Geography Major in the Bachelor of Arts and welcomes inquiries from students wishing to complete Honours research.  For more info please see https://www.jcu.edu.au/college-of-arts-society-and-education/bachelor-of-arts-honours-application-form.

Recent PhD graduates may wish to consider the Australian Research Council DECRA scheme to work with Lisa through the TUDLab.

  • EV1008: Human Geography (Level 1; CNS)
  • EV2301: Urban Geography and Design (Level 2; CNS)
  • EV3404: Field Studies in Tropical Geography (Level 3; CNS)
  • EV5301: Urban Geography and Design (Level 5; CNS)
  • EV5404: Field Studies in Tropical Geography (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5900: Special Topic (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5901: Special Topic 1 (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5902: Special Topic 2 (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5903: Literature Review (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5909: Minor Project and Seminar (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5912: Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (1 of 2) (Level 5; CNS)
  • SC5913: Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (2 of 2) (Level 5; CNS)
  • Responsive urban design for the tropical built environment
  • Social and urban geography in Southeast Asia
  • Disaster resilience in Southeast Asia and tropical Australia
  • Field studies in tropical geography
  • Studio-based learning for urban design
  • 2004 to 2009 - Lecturer, University of St Andrews (Scotland)
  • 2000 to 2003 - Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  • 1999 to 2000 - Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian National University (Canberra)
  • 1997 to 1998 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Western Sydney (Penrith)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 50+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Lisa Law from 2001 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Cairns Regional Council - Contract Research

State of the Arts in Cairns

Indicative Funding
$66,000 over 3 years
Cairns Regional Council has aspirations to become the Arts and Culture Capital of Northern Australia and has embedded this in their Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2022. This research works alongside the Strategy to: * Develop indicators that can measure the extent and change in the arts and creative industries over time (using Census data, Council/Stakeholder data) * Identify opportunities for growth in the creative sector (using the Culture Map, interviews with arts/culture industries). * To produce a State of the Arts in Cairns Report summarising the data and analysis (which can inform appropriate, place-based development of creative industries policies).
Lisa Law and Russell Milledge in collaboration with Bruce Prideaux (College of Science & Engineering, College of Arts, Society & Education and Central Queensland University)
Cairns; Arts; cultural mapping; Culture; creative city; culture industries

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Strengthening economic resilience in Monsoon Asia

Indicative Funding
$13,650 over 3 years (administered by University of Western Sydney)
Sharing, reciprocity and resource pooling are at the frontline of recovery and relief when economic crisis or disaster hits Monsoon Asia. This research sheds light on cases where these economic practices have been innovatively harnessed to diversify livelihoods and build economic resilience. Working with contemporary Asian scholars, practitioners in the disaster field and a data set gleaned from multiple sources, including mid-20th century tropical geography texts, the project brings to the fore a regional landscape of diverse economic practices across Monsoon Asia. A cross-regional on-line knowledge community is formed to explore how this asset base might be mobilised towards more effective local development and disaster response.
Katherine Gibson and Lisa Law in collaboration with Darlene Occena-Gutierrez and Oo Win (University of Western Sydney, College of Science & Engineering, University of the Philippines and University of Yangon)
Monsoon Asia; Disasters; tropical geography; Resilience; Post development

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Sustainability Assessment of Mountain Biking and Bushwalking in the Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve and Herberton Range State Forest. A Multiple Bottom Line Assessment for the Atherton Tablelands Region (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The potential of front gardens to enhance biodiversity consciousness. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Planning for Sustainability using School-based Community Gardens: Growing Food and Community for a Post-COVID World (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Migration and Liveability in Regional Australia: Back to basics in a Post-Pandemic Era (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Building cultural and social capital through re-purposing community industrial infrastructure: A Case study of the Tanks Art Centre, Cairns (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Agritourism and Planning Design: Basis in Sustaining the Tourism Growth (PhD , Advisor Mentor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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