Personal profile


Dr Hayley Henderson is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Infrastructure in Society (I2S), based at the Crawford School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on the social dimensions of urban policymaking and delivery, including the drivers and dynamics of collaboration. In particular, since completing her PhD (2018), she has worked on research projects about: 1) identifying and managing social risk relating to major infrastructure projects; 2) cultural diversity and collaborative governance of revitalisation programs; and 3) the social co-benefits and governance dynamics associated with transitioning to sustainable urban infrastructure (e.g. Blue Green Infrastructure). Hayley’s research is primarily focused on Australian and Argentine cities, though she also conducts comparative studies that involve other South American, European and North American cities.

  1. Social risk relating to infrastructure: Hayley commenced working as a Research Fellow at I2S in January, 2022 and since then her primary research is focused on different understandings of social risk in Australia’s infrastructure sector and how those risks are identified and managed in practice.
  2. Cultural diversity and collaborative governance of revitalisation programs: As part of her Postdoctoral Fellowship, undertaken with Prof Helen Sullivan (The Australian National University) between 2019 and 2021, Hayley continued to work on a project commenced in 2015 (then as a Research Assistant at the Melbourne School of Design 2015-2018), on collaborative governance practices in urban revitalisation in Central Dandenong, Melbourne. This project was part of an international comparison of eight cities on the influences of austerity on urban governance (this project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom).

The research underscored the vital role of robust local government policymaking to accompany state-based renewal programmes; the value of both formal and informal work across policy domains and between jurisdictions; the importance of ongoing, place-based community engagement and, how actors from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities facilitated an expanded sense of pluralism in collaborative settings. In turn, some of these settings proved fruitful for problem-solving relating to urban decline. A detailed Research Briefing on the main findings from the Central Dandenong case study was published, including lessons for public policy, and summarised in short pieces for The Conversation and Policy Forum. This research contributed to the following recent publications:

  • Ansell, C., Doberstein, C., Henderson, H., Siddiki, S., & `t Hart, P. (2020). Understanding inclusion in collaborative governance: a mixed methods approach Policy and Society, 39:4, 570-591, DOI: 10.1080/14494035.2020.1785726
  • Davies, J., Blanco, I., Bua., A., Chorianopoulos, I., Cortina-Oriol, M., Feandeiro, A., Gaynor, N., Gleeson, B., Griggs, S., Hamel, P., Henderson, H., Howarth, D., Keil, R., Pill, M., Salazar, Y., & Sullivan, H. (2022). New Developments in Urban Governance: Rethinking Collaboration in the Age of Austerity. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press
  • Henderson, H., Sullivan., S. & Gleeson, B. (2020). Variations on a collaborative theme: Conservatism, pluralism, and place-based urban policy in Central Dandenong, Melbourne. Journal of Urban Affairs, 42:1, 125-142, DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2018.1516509

As an extension to this project, more recently Hayley has worked in collaboration with SGS Economics & Planning to identify Australia’s other “super” and “stably” diverse urban centres that have been part of public policies to renew or revitalise centre areas or may form the focus of planned future programmes. The research also evaluates the risk of gentrification facing highly diverse urban centres. The direction of this project is to study the role and impact of “an ethic of cultural pluralism” in collaborative governance of urban revitalisation across Australia’s most diverse urban centres.

3. Hayley has continued to undertake research in Argentina relating to the collaborative governance of sustainable urban infrastructure, often as part of broader international comparative studies. In particular, as the Coordinator of the Buenos Aires Life Lab of CONEXUS program (funded through European Union Horizon 2020-2024) during 2020 and 2021, she worked with policy makers, non-profit representatives, and researchers in co-creating Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to support the uptake of sustainable urbanisation practices in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She continues to play a role in this project, examining governance practices and valuation techniques of NbS as part of the comparative study with Life Labs in Bogotá (Colombia), São Paulo (Brazil), Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Lisbon (Portugal), Barcelona (Spain) and Turin (Italy).

Hayley also regularly conducts research consultancies with multilateral agencies (e.g. UNEP, World Bank) in Argentina that focus on designing NbS, in particular Blue Green Infrastructure solutions to traditional urban problems, including wetland management, improved social housing and informal settlement upgrading and parks design.

Detailed findings this research on sustainable urban infrastructure and the challenges and opportunities for governing a transition away from traditional approaches towards NbS include:

  • Henderson, H., Bush, J. & Kozak, D. (2022 - forthcoming). Mainstreaming urban green-blue infrastructure: In R. Brears. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Aradas, R., Rotbart, D., Kozak, D. & Henderson, H. (2021), Beneficios y desafíos en la implementación de Infraestructura Azul y Verde: una propuesta para la RMBA. In D. Zunino Singh., V. Gruschetsky & M. Piglia (Eds.), Pensar las infraestructuras en Latinoamérica, Buenos Aires: Teseo Press.
  • Kozak, D., Henderson, H., de Castro Mazarro, A., & Rotbart, D. (2020). Blue-Green Infrastructure in Dense Urban Watersheds. The Case of the Medrano Stream Basin in Buenos Aires. Sustainability, 12:6, 2163, DOI:10.3390/su12062163

Hayley has also taught over the last decade in planning programs in Melbourne and Buenos Aires, including subjects relating to social planning, urban planning theory, practice and governance. In her role at ANU, Hayley is also the convenor and lecturer of Public Policy in Cities (POGO8132) offered to students of the Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Administration.

She is an Associate Editor of the Collaborative Governance Database.

Research interests

  • Social Risk
  • Collaborative governance
  • Interjurisdictional dynamics in federal systems
  • The municipal level in urban planning
  • Social policy in urban planning (inc. cultural diversity)
  • Informality
  • Comparative urbanism (focus on Australia and Argentina).

Most common approach: case study (comparative case study)

Methods of data collection:

  • Delphi method
  • Focus groups (in person, online)
  • Interviews
  • Participant observation
  • Policy analysis
  • Basic statistical analysis

Researcher's projects

  • "CONEXUS" project (funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 initiative) on collaborative design of Nature-based Solutions to common urbanisation problems across seven European and Latin American Cities (Hayley is the Coordinator of the Buenos Aires Life Lab).
  • "Delivering Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) through Land-Value Capture in the Metropolitan Region of Buenos Aires" funded by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (USA) through the program Research on Global Approaches to Land Value Capture (2019-2020)
  • "Collaborative Governance under Austerity: an 8 case comparison" funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) (2015-2019).



Education/Academic qualification

Urban Studies, PhD, Social Logics in Integrating Planning: a comparative study of Metropolitan Melbourne and Metropolicy Buenos Aires, The University of Melbourne

Award Date: 8 Dec 2018

External positions

Visiting Research Fellow, Centro de Investigación Hábitat y Energía, FADU, UBA

1 Mar 2022 → …

Expertise Areas

  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • Urban Policy
  • Urban Revitalisation
  • Blue Green Infrastructure
  • Social Risk


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