Currently Adjunct Associate Professor, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Adjunct Professor, Bond University, School of Sustainable Development and recently Adjunct Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Dr Wendy Sarkissian is passionate about our future: the future of work, of housing, of communities and of citizen participation. She is committed to finding spirited ways to nurture and support an engaged citizenry.
Her successful career as consultant and academic in Australia and overseas has provided firsthand knowledge of many contexts, from developers’ boardrooms to low-income housing estates. Wendy holds a Masters of Arts in literature, a Master of Town Planning (Adelaide) and a PhD in environmental ethics (Murdoch).
Wendy speaks to national and international audiences on a range issues about the future of organisations, planning and housing.
Her topics include community engagement for sustainability, creative community engagement, engagement by children and young people, caring for Nature, supporting an engaged citizenry, housing for real people, housing density (what works and what doesn’t work) and creating inspired places people love.
Building a career as a social planning consultant when there was no such discipline, Wendy has pioneered innovative planning and development approaches in an astonishing variety of contexts. This work has earned her over forty professional awards. She has worked with senior managers and advisors to government departments and private enterprise, primarily in the urban, community, housing and development sectors. Wendy has specialist expertise in the design of housing and other environments for older people and children and the restorative value of parks and public open space. She is also expert in social and survey research, including post-occupancy evaluation and questionnaire design and analysis.
Much of Wendy’s work has involved working with artists and using art and community cultural development modalities in community engagement and staff development, working to heal rifts in conflict-ridden communities and organisations. She has pioneered innovative community visioning approaches in a wide range of contexts and this work has won her many professional awards.
Widely regarded as a leader in her profession and acclaimed as a humorous and thought-provoking speaker, Dr Sarkissian is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia. She has served on Boards in South Australia and Queensland and is the award-winning author and co-author of several books on housing and community engagement.