Find a supervisor - Planning

Academic staff in Planning have experience and expertise in a wide range of research topics including theory, design sustainability, policy and practice in urban and natural environments.

Dr Lee Beattie

Dr Lee Beattie holds qualifications in urban planning, urban design and environmental science and is currently the Deputy Head of the School of Architecture and Planning. Teaching expertise includes studio-based urban design, urban planning, and economic development. His research programme is focused on urban design, urban growth management and housing intensification. He has recently involved in a number funded research projects related to urban growth management and housing intensification in Pacific Rim cities.  Lee supervises doctoral in a range of topics related to urban design and urban planing. 

Lee is actively involved in the urban planning and design profession in New Zealand.  He is a member of the Auckland Council's Urban Design Panel, an Auckland Council Independent Hearing Commissioner, a member of Planning Quarterly (Journal of the New Zealand Planning Institute) and the Salmon Resource Management Act 1991 Editorial Boards.  

Research interests:

  • Urban design implementation issues
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating urban planning policy
  • Urban growth management issues
  • Economic development and housing 
  • The implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991

Dr Kai Gu

Research Interests

  • Urban morphology and urban design
  • Methods for characterising and managing the urban landscape
  • Urban planning and design of Chinese cities

Contact Kai Gu


Associate Professor Michael Gunder

Research Interests

  • Poststructural planning theory
  • Public planning policy
  • Local economic development
  • Globalisation

Recent PhD research topics supervised

  • "Rethinking Community in Planning"
  • "A Deleuzian Theory of Economic Development"
  • "Deconstructing the Discourses of Poverty in New Zealand Planning Policy"
  • "Planning for Sustainability without Barriers: A Deleuzian Critique of Instrumental Reason and Resultant Public Policy Silos"
  • "The Multicultural City Fantasy: The Place of Desire and Discontent"
  • "A Critical Analysis of the Deployment of Transcendental Ideas in Planning Visions"
  • "Governmentality and Power: A reconnoitre of public participation in the Malaysian planning system"
  • "Local Economic Development Policy: Gender empowerment in informal settlements of Shiraz, Iran"

Contact Michael Gunder


Dr Asif Khan

Research Interests

  • Physical and social Infrastructure
  • Transportation planning
  • Housing policy

Contact Asif Khan


Dr Stephen Knight-Lenihan

Research interests

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation at a local government level
  • Biodiversity offsets in urban environments
  • Ecological resilience and social-ecological systems
  • Integrated catchment management

 Doctoral thesis

"A Critique of the Influence of Sustainable Development on Ecological Sustainability: a New Zealand application", 2007.

Contact Stephen Knight-Lenihan


Dr Mohsen Mohammadzadeh

Mohsen is an urban planner and designer with 12 years professional experience in Iran and then New Zealand. 

Research interests include:

  • Critical Urban Theory
  • Globalisation
  • Planning in the Emerging Global Cities
  • Planning and Urban Conflicts
  • Smart City and Ethics of Big Data
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Planning

Contact Mohsen Mohammadzadeh


Professor Dory Reeves

Research interests

  • Sustainable urbanisation from a social perspective
  • Equality and diversity in urban planning – equality impact assessments
  • Gender and urban planning – intersectionality
  • The profession of planning – what employers want in terms of planning management skills
  • Community involvement
  • Climate change and migrants
  • The role of partnerships: see UN-Habitat

Recent PhD research topics supervised

  • "The impact of culture on travel behaviour"
  • "Place attachment and migrants"
  • "Intersectionality and planning - single parent street vendors in Jakarta"
  • "Crime prevention through environmental  design"
  • "Intersectionality and assessment of urban design tools"

Contact Dory Reeves


Dr Marjorie van Roon

Research Interests

  • Ecosystem management and restoration
  • Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD)
  • Water Sensitive Design
  • Integrated catchment management (ICM), integrated river-basin (or watershed) management
  • Coastal management
Recent research includes the restoration of wetlands and integrated water systems in several Dutch cities, plus ongoing clarification of the aquatic ecosystem health improvement from LIUDD in Auckland. 

Doctoral thesis
"Low Impact Urban Design and Development: ecological efficacy as a basis for strategic planning and its implementation", 2010.  


Recent and current PhD research topics supervised:

  • "Application of low impact and ICM to improve water quality in Bangkok"
  • "Water Sensitive Planning Practices for Colombo, Sri Lanka”
  • “Waterfront design in catchment and sea level context in Auckland”
  • "Role of sense of place in influencing conservation participation in Malaysia” 
  • “Coastal tourism influence on coastal resilience in NZ”
  • “Coastal wetlands contribution to climate change adaptation in Auckland"

Contact Marjorie van Roon