Lisa Stafford

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Lisa Stafford

ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow

Room 406 , Geography Building

+61 3 6226 2143 (phone)

Dr Lisa Stafford is an ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow in the School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences. Lisa is an applied activist scholar whose expertise and passion is in planning inclusive communities and disability justice. Her work focuses on promoting equity and justice in neighbourhood planning, regional development, active and public transport strategy, and universal design open space & public infrastructure. Lisa is also a highly experienced participatory researcher and facilitator who specialises in the design and use of inclusive creative methods to enable all voices to be heard in research and public planning. Lisa’s most current projects are – Planning Inclusive Communities for people with disabilities in regional areas – funded by the Australian Research Council – DECRA Fellowship and Trips Not Made – Addressing Tasmania’s Transport Disadvantage Experienced by Disabled Young People and Communities living in urban-fringe/peri-urban areas with Anglicare Tasmania

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Lisa is a researcher, educator and planner in inclusive sustainable communities and geographies of exclusion. She has 20 years’ experience across academia and professional practice as a social scientist and community planner. Her work seeks to bring about equity and justice in everyday spaces and infrastructure.

In academia, Lisa’s research and teaching for past eight years has focused on just planning and design, inclusive neighborhood planning, mobility and transport equity, universal design open spaces & public infrastructure.  She uses applied research to build knowledge and practice with people to help enhance belonging, participation & mobility. This includes the design and use of inclusive creative methods that empowers all voices in research and public planning engagement. Examples include activity-based interviewing, using mapping, art and photographs, as resources to tell stories, film – videography to understand experience from an embodied perspective and world café style focus groups to create inviting space to share and harvest grassroots and frontline knowledge.

Lisa is experienced and passionate about the social-spatial needs of disabled children, young people, and their families - knowledge gained from both her professional practice and research. Adding to her wealth of knowledge is Lisa’s own lived experience as chronically ill disabled woman.

Before academia, Lisa worked in government and non-government sectors for 12 years. She developed and managed inclusive social infrastructure projects – such as the award-winning $5M QLD Government’s All Abilities Playground project from 2007-2010 with 16 local governments in very remote to urban areas in Queensland; undertook extensive regional and social planning, community needs assessment, as well as service development and planning in family support and post-school transition.

Career summary


Thesis Title
Date Awarded


The Journey of Becoming Involved:
The Experience of Participation in Urban Spaces by Children with Diverse Mobility (Urban Planning, Disability & Children’s Geographies)




B. Soc. Science Honours





B. Social Science (Major Psychology and applied research)






Professional practice

  • Full member of Planning Institute of Australia
  • Member - Institute of Australian Geographers
  • Member - Disability Leadership Institute Australia

Committee associations

  • Member of Institute of Australia Geographers (IAG) Equity reference group
  • Member of the Tasmanian Active Living Coalition
  • Member of Transport Australia - Tasmanian Group
  • Volunteer Board Member on Disability Voices Tasmania

Administrative expertise

  • Prince 2 Qualified Project Manager
  • Managed complex government projects inc. infrastructure delivery
  • Managed and Lead ARC Linkage and DECRA Research Projects as well as Commercial – Industry Projects
  • Experience in Management and Leadership. Previous Leadership examples:
  • Co-Program Lead Ecologies of Justice Theme and Management Committee Centre for Justice Research Centre Tier 1 – QUT 2019-2021
  • Chaired - Disability Inclusion Action Plan Working Group
  • Held various volunteer director roles on boards. 

    Inc. Former board member of Centre for Universal Design Australia


• Community Planning & Practice • Place, Space, Universal Design • Disability • Spatial Justice and Inclusion • Person-Environment

Teaching expertise

Experienced teaching undergraduate and master level, including first year undergraduate units.  In her former roles as Senior Lecturee & Lecturer at QUT, her teaching units/courses included:

  • Community & Place Base Practice
  • People, Community, Disability
  • People & Place - Environmental Psychology
  • Design and Society, Environments in Transition

Teaching responsibility

N/A – on fellowship at present

Research Appointments

A list or description of any past (< 5 years) or present appointments to research positions, bodies, etc

Appointments include:

  • Co-program Lead – Ecologies of Justice, Centre for Justice Research Centre Tier 1 – QUT 2019-2021
  • Management Committee for the Centre for Justice Research Centre Tier 1 – QUT 2019-2021
  • School’s Research Ethics Adviser, QUT - 2019-2020
  • HDR Coordinator, former School of Design QUT 2016

Research Invitations

  • 2021 - Keynote Speaker - Who Are we Planning For? Accessibility Session, Wednesday 26 May, Planning Institute of Australia's Planning Festival 2021.  Summary Highlights: Designing in Places for All 'theme carried through into the address from Dr Lisa Stafford, who brought our attention to the experience of people with disabilities in space. She brought into stark relief the fact that planning has focused on the experience of 'ideal' or 'normal' bodies for far too long and we must bring an attitude of inclusion to all we plan. Dr Stafford empowered us a planners to take up this challenge, noting that we are a profession capable of making serious change in the quality of lives of all people'.
  • 2021 - Key Note Speaker June 16 – Embracing and engaging diversity for Queensland Disability Network (QDN) for the Emerging Leader Workshop.
  • 2021 – invited speaker National Ability Summit 2nd - 3rd December 2021 virtual INTERNATIONAL conference – India - Inclusive Society For The Hidden Disability
  • 2021 – invited panel member ACSP Roundtable (North America) - October 22 “Nothing About Us without Us” this is the Call of  Movements in the Making.  Disability Justice, Urban Planning and Climate change
  • 2021 - 17 June 2021 – City’s Talk City of Hobart & UTAS - Hobart at a Crossroad: Can we be a small city with big transport choices? Panel Speakers: The Hon Malcolm Turnbull AC, 29th Prime Minister of Australia, Dr Lisa Stafford, New Zealand-based transport and land use integration specialist Darren Davis.
  • 2021 –Advocacy for Inclusion Podcast - Diversity, Inclusion and Stories that Matter: An Interview with Dr Lisa Stafford
  • 2021 - Panel Speaker on the Australasian Cities Research Network (ACRN) Speaking Out Series 1 - Gender and Urban Research.
  • 2021 – Appointed Ambassador for IncludeAbility initiative of Australian Human Rights Commission
  • 9 December 2020 - Expert Witness Disability Royal Commission - Public Hearing 9  Outline Submission Report:
  • 2020 - Online Seminar on Planning Inclusively: Approaches To Making Our Communities Just For All Hosted by Griffith Cities Research Institute and Urban and Environmental Planning Studies
  • 2020 - Health Dialogue Seminar on Inclusion and Disability Research
  • Lightening Talk panellist on Space, Place for Centre for Justice and Justice on Tuesday, 25 August, 2020
  • 2020 - QDN Power of Peers Advisory Group member
  • 2019 – Appointed to the Virtual Centre Expert Advisory Panel for Women With Disability Australia
  • 2018 invited to deliver Australia Awards Fellowships – AAF QUT workshop with representative from Tonga on building inclusive communities for people with disabilities.
  • 2018 invited to deliver workshop to Vietnam Department of Transport staff on the development of inclusive transport and inclusive economic development on the intersection of gender and disability. Australia Awards Short Course: Project Implementation to Optimise Gender Outcomes-AUS4REFORM.
  • 2018 – Building Inclusive Communities presentation– NDIS and Business Opportunities - Gympie Regional Council and Chamber of Commerce – 20 June 2018
  • 2018 – Hosting Team Member, for Changing Lives, Changing Communities Forum - QCOSS, QDN, ADCQ. Brisbane 27-28 November 2018.
  • 2017, invited to deliver a seminar and design inquiry workshop on community planning and universal design organised by Sunshine Coast Regional Council and USC in June 2017;
  • 2017, invited to deliver a master class to Stockland in Sydney on behalf of Touched By Olivia Foundation on inclusive environments in shopping centres 2017.
  • 2017 invited to speak to Indonesia Ministry for Disability visit on the Social Model of Disability and Inclusive Spaces – Cases of play spaces.
  • 2017, invited to deliver Australia Awards Fellowships – AAF QUT workshop with women with disabilities from Ghana on building inclusive communities for women and girls with disabilities.

View more on Dr Lisa Stafford in WARP


Lisa highly experienced in applied research to build knowledge and practice. This includes using critical and embodied approaches to:

  • communicate lived experiences
  • document everyday practices
  • map and identify tensions creating exclusion
  • envisage future possibilities and practical ways forward.

Research Topics

  • Inclusive Communities
  • Community Planning
  • Neighbourhood Planning
  • Open Spaces inc. Playspaces and Public Infrastructure
  • Disability Justice, Spatial Justice
  • Mobility and Transport Equity – Disadvantage
  • Universal Design and Access & Inclusion
  • Public Planning & Participation
  • Children’s Geographies - Social-spatial needs disabled children and young people

Lisa extensive experience in participatory methods and facilitation involved the design and use of inclusive and creative methods that empower all people’s voices, in particular children and people with complex communication needs, to be heard in research, placemaking and public planning engagement.  Examples include:

See talks by Lisa’s about doing Inclusive Research:

2021 –Advocacy for Inclusion Podcast - Diversity, Inclusion and Stories that Matter: An Interview with Dr Lisa Stafford

2020 - Health Dialogue Seminar on Inclusion and Disability Research


Extensive experience in collaboration across university, industry and government. I have worked with colleagues in Universities in Australia, US, Canada & UK, various Local Governments and not government organisations include DPOs and Peak Bodies.

Current collaboration in projects include:  Clarence City Council, Young Leaders of Tasmania, Mission Australia, Disability Voice Tasmania, THS – Health Promotion, Planning Institute of Australia, MRCagney NZ, NZ DPA, YNOT, TasCOSS, METRO.

Current projects

A description or list of current projects. Include links to any research project websites.

Lisa’s most current projects are:

Planning Inclusive Communities for people with disabilities in regional areas – funded by the Australian Research Council – DECRA Fellowship

Trips Not Made – Addressing Tasmania’s Transport Disadvantage Experienced by Disabled Young People and Communities in urban-fringe/peri-urban areas with Anglicare Tasmania

Fields of Research

  • Community planning (330401)
  • Rural and regional geography (440609)
  • People with disability (420318)

Research Objectives

  • Regional planning (120404)
  • Ability and disability (230101)
  • Expanding knowledge in built environment and design (280104)



Forthcoming   - coedited edition: Lisa Stafford, Leonor Vanik, Lisa Bates - Planning Theory and Practice Interface Edition - Disability Justice and Urban Planning – (forthcoming – February/march 2022)

Total publications


Journal Article

(4 outputs)
2017Stafford L, ' What about my voice': emancipating the voices of children with disabilities through participant-centred methods', Children's Geographies, 15, (5) pp. 600-613. ISSN 1473-3277 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2017.1295134 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 53Web of Science - 43


2017Stafford L, Baldwin C, 'Planning walkable neighborhoods: are we overlooking diversity in abilities and ages?', Journal of Planning Literature, 33, (1) pp. 17-30. ISSN 0885-4122 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0885412217704649 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 48Web of Science - 38


2016Stafford L, 'Journeys to play: planning considerations to engender inclusive playspaces', Landscape Research, 42, (1) pp. 33-46. ISSN 0142-6397 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2016.1241872 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4


2016Stafford L, Volz K, 'Diverse bodies-space politics: towards a critique of social (in)justice of built environments', TEXT: journal of writing and writing courses, 34 ISSN 1327-9556 (2016) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]


Grants & Funding

  • 2020 - $199,560 NZD - Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency RFP 3467 - ART 19/29 – Understanding the transport experiences of disabled people, determining what barriers exist for people wanting to use Total Mobility and exploring new opportunities – Lead CI /contractor- MRCagney NZ.
  • 2019 - $383,960.00 - ARC DECRA 2019 - DE190101512 – category 1 - Inclusive community planning for people with disabilities in regional areas.
  • 2018 - $110,000 grant– Empowering Children’s Voices project with UnitingCare - Lead CI
  • 2017 - $ 15,000 IHBI seed grant – Making Play Inclusive – Lead CI - Development child and ability friendly post occupancy evaluation methods to identify the benefits of Inclusive Playspaces in enabling play for children with disabilities.
  • 2016 - $ 10,000 USC lead - Bendigo Age and Ability Friendly City research – Bendigo Regional Council
  • 2016- $230,000 ARC Linkage project (LP150100168) – Seamless Journeys to Work for Young Adults with Physical Disabilities (UQ, QUT, Jobs Australia, Disability Employment Australia)
  • 2015-16 - $ 20,000 grant- Research Collaboration with USC and University of Alberta, CA – Planning Multigenerational Neighbourhoods for All
  • 2014 - $ 10,000 Research project Kids In Action Program Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Improving cardiovascular health through increased transport-related physical activity: A co-designed randomised controlled trial (2022 - 2024)$787,664
Regular physical activity plays a key role in cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention, yet over one third of Australians are insufficiently active. This project aims to establish the impact on physical activity of a novel incentives-based strategy to increase public transport use through a single-blinded parallel group randomised controlled trial. Findings will provide public health and transport authorities with evidence to inform decisions around the use of incentives-based strategies.
Medical Research Future Fund ($767,132)
Grant - Cardiovascular Health Mission
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Cleland V; Blizzard CL; Jose KA; Greaves S; Timperio A; Stafford L
2022 - 2024
Inclusive community planning for people with disabilities in regional areas (2022)$189,453
Exclusion of people with disabilities in local communities persists despite the national disability reform agenda.This project seeks to examine inclusive community as a policy-in-practice to produce new knowledge to fosterinclusion of people with disabilities in local community planning practice in regional areas. The research uniquelyplaces spatial justice thinking and critical disability theory within a community planning/development context toexamine the concept as a scaled phenomenon. It uses participatory research methods, such as photovoice focusgroups, activity-based interviews and deliberative workshops to directly engage persons with disabilities andcommunity planners in co-producing an adaptive model of practice.
Australian Research Council ($189,453)
Fellowship-Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Stafford L
Grant Reference

Research Supervision

Supervision topics include:

  • Disability and childhoods Geographies
  • Inclusive Communities
  • Spatial Justice and Disability
  • Universal Design
  • Transport Equity – Mobility, Walkability & Public Transport
  • Just cities
  • Regional Development & Planning
  • Person Environment Studies & Everydayness

Supervision research methods include:

  • Participatory creative research methods
  • Phenomenology - Lived experiences
  • Interpretative Policy Analysis
  • Post-occupancy evaluations




PhDNaming, Making and Resisting: Understanding community participation in, and experience of a "just" transition2022
PhDInclusive Neighbourhood Movement Network2022