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Personal profile

Biography

My research focuses on Indigenous rights and the interface between Indigenous communities, natural resource development, governments and corporations at the scales of the project, the community, the landscape and the nation. Much of my work uses highly participatory social impact assessment methodologies (first discussed in a widely cited paper in 1993), which aim to equip Indigenous peoples to identify, address and challenge the marginalisation of their legal and property systems by dominant management regimes through negotiation.

In engaging with the institutions of mainstream society, my work relies on the metaphors of coexistence and engagement to provide a framework for ethical practice through processes of corporate social responsibility, institutional capacity building, negotiation and sustainability. Theoretically, my work on geographical scale is seen as innovative and significant in the discipline. In developing a 'relational' view of scale, my work provides a framework for reconsidering legal pluralism in environmental and urban planning systems.

My role in Native title negotiations in South Australia has integrated consideration of legal and social issues into consideration of reconfiguring various administrative and planning systems to allow statewide recognition of Native title as a basis for transforming Aboriginal participation in the processes of governance in that state. This work is widely seen as taking the lead in a new approach to resolution of cultural and racial conflict over native title.More broadly, my work seeks to integrate the scholarship of teaching into all aspects of my teaching, research and community engagement. From 2012 I have taken up a role in developing and directing the research partnership between Macquarie University and the City of Ryde.

I was first appointed to Macquarie in 1992, and previously worked at the University of Sydney, the Commonwealth Aboriginal Education Service and the NSW Department of Education as a primary school teacher. My teaching covers areas of cultural, social and environmental geography at undergraduate, honours, Masters and PhD levels.

1992-present Macquarie University (commenced as Lecturer B, currently Lecturer E [Professor]; Head of Department 2005-2010; 2012-2013 - Director, Macquarie Ryde Futures Partnership)

2014-2015 - Elected academic staff member of Macquarie University Council

2018 (August) - retired

External positions

Director

11 Jun 2018 → …

Adjunct and visiting Professor

Adjunct and visiting Professor

Justice of the Peace, NSW

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Research Output

Open Access
  • Metro infrastructure planning in Amsterdam: how are social issues managed in the absence of environmental and social impact assessment?

    Mottee, L. K., Arts, J., Vanclay, F., Miller, F. & Howitt, R., 3 Jul 2020, In : Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal. 38, 4, p. 320-335 16 p.

    Macquarie University

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Electric unicycles, minifarthings and the future of urban transport

    Faulks, I. J., Irwin, J., Howitt, R. & Dowling, R., 6 May 2013, The Conversation, p. 1 1 p.

    Macquarie University

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticleResearch

    Frontiers, borders, edges: Liminal challenges to the hegemony of exclusion

    Howitt, R., Jul 2001, In : Australian Geographical Studies. 39, 2, p. 233-245 13 p.

    Macquarie University

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review