Sharon is a Registered Planner of the Planning Institute of Australia and continues to practice as a social and urban planner.  Sharon currently lectures in Environmental and Regional Planning, Native Title and Land Use Planning and Indigenous Environmental Management and is the course co-ordinator for  the Graduate Certificate in Planning for Indigenous Communities. 

Sharon thoroughly enjoys working with students, colleagues, government and industry in work integrated learning projects.  Between January and June 2015 Sharon project managed and delivered the JCU Ingham CBD Concept Masterplan for the Hinchinbrook Shire Council on behalf of the JCU Planning students and staff, along with industry collaborators. This project was subsequently awarded the James Cook University Award for Excellence - Community Engagement in December 2015. 

Sharon has been advocating for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples knowledge, culture and tradition to be included in the planning system.  In 2016 she successfully lobbied the Queensland government to include a provision that acknowledged Indigenous Planning goals while the planning system underwent reform.  Sharon has since co-authored the Policy Statements and Background report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander planning for the Queensland branch of the Planning Institute of Australia with Edward Wensing.  The recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples knowledge, culture and tradition within a planning statute is the first of its kind in Australia, and the planning policy is the first of its kind for any state division of the Planning Insitute of Australia or any international planning professional body (ie Canada, New Zealand or the United States). 

Sharon has a wide and diverse set of planning skills and experience gained from more than 25 years of working in and with rural and remote communities.  More recently she has been working with two Aboriginal Land Trusts (Hope Vale Congress Aboriginal Corporation and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation) as a planning advocate to identify the disjuncts in the planning and development system for Aboriginal Land Trusts and Prescribed Body Corporates.  Sharon's primary research interest is centred upon how to create a parallel tradition of Indigenous Planning within the Queensland planning and development system so that Australia's First Nation communities are given the opportunity to create their own development trajectories.

  • Acknowledging Traditional Knowledge in planning instruments, Integrating disaster and emergency management knowledge into the planning system, Youth as legitimate partners in community planning
  • Remote communities, Indigenous communities, Planning theory, Community Planning, Regional Planning
  • Active Learning, Alternative subject delivery methods such as online, external, block mode and field trips as learning experiences.
  • 2015 to present - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2000 to present - Proprietor, Planning Places (Mareeba)
  • 2010 to 2015 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 1992 to 1999 - Ranger, Policy Officer, Department of Forestry (Queensland)
  • 2015 - James Cook University Award for Excellence - Community Engagement
  • 2014 - James Cook University Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • 2017 - Registered Planner - Planning Institute of Australia
  • 2015 - Queensland Environmental Law Association
  • 1996 - Corporate Member Planning Institute of Australia - Currently Chair of the Tropical North Queensland Branch, member of State Committee and Education Committee

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 23+ research outputs authored by Dr Sharon Harwood from 2007 onwards.


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.


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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