Merrick Morley

Doctor of Philosophy candidate


Merrick was awarded the Resilient Communities PhD Scholarship in 2020 which is associated with both the University of Melbourne and the City of Melbourne Climate Change and Resilience team (formerly Resilient Melbourne). This scholarship enables Merrick to sit at the practice-research nexus where he can better understand the issues faced by local government, namely social connectedness and community development in a society that is constantly fluctuating.

Other academic ventures include research assistance for the ARC Discovery Project 'Temporary and Tactical Urbanism' with Associate Professor Quentin Stevens and Professor Kim Dovey. This has focused on the design, use, management, governance, and politics of parklets in metropolitan Melbourne, including considerations for their long-term future. Aside from this, Merrick is a sessional tutor in Urban Design Theory (ABP90017) and Land Use and Urban Design (ABP90132).

Thesis: Community Resilience and shared spaces: reconciling identity and difference in new multi-residential apartments in Melbourne

Globalisation and modernity continue to affect the way community is understood and practised across disparate cultures and societies. Resilience theory, meanwhile, has co-opted community as a means to overcome and adapt to change. A corollary of this is the widespread acknowledgement that communities possess the qualities to counteract stressors that affect their functioning, yet this belief is largely applied to disaster settings and rarely to the everyday situations that 'communities' find themselves in. Moreover, current understandings of community resilience do not wholly consider the ways that social spaces, particularly shared spaces, are implicated in the (re)production of social ties, symbolic sharing of values, communicative actions, and the reconciliation of differences. To explore these ideas this research will analyse how shared spaces associated with multi-residential housing developments in Melbourne establish community practice and mediate community resilience, to better understand the progressive potentialities of this topic. A hybrid of resilience-systems-assemblage thinking is used to frame the research by foregrounding the interconnectivity between socio-spatial components in urban settings. Mixed methods will be used as an attempt to to triangulate, complement, expand, and develop knowledge from both insider and outsider perspectives. The aim is to better understand how shared spaces can assist in creating stronger and more inclusive societies.


  • Architecture, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Sociology

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