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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: August 19, 2002
Volume 38, Number 3

Richardson awarded fellowship at Curtin University in Australia

By Carolyn Gonzales

Ric Richardson, associate professor in the UNM School of Architecture and Planning, has been awarded a visiting fellowship at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia.

Richardson says that the opportunity arose when David Wood, a professor from Curtain, came to the School of Architecture and Planning and learned how professors in planning were teaching negotiation and using environmental dispute resolution, mostly when building consensus around community development, water planning and land use issues.

Wood lectured in Richardson’s land use planning classes and researched how federal and state agencies in New Mexico were managing public lands and working with traditional communities.

“We talked a lot about consensus building. Many of the issues that we face in New Mexico are similar to those in Perth, Australia,” Richardson says. “Both regions have diverse cultures, traditional settlements and indigenous populations with complex land tenure systems. Both are looking for new ways to build community and stimulate economic development. Australia instituted a major reform law and many native groups are interested in managing public lands and building eco-tourism.”

He says that solving problems within a mixture of cultures and land ownership patterns, innovative ways to plan for and use of federal and state lands must be approached by building consensus through face-to-face negotiations.

“Working with native people, the Australians have had to look at new land uses, access to public lands and projects that engender environmental sustainability,” Richardson says.

While in Perth, he will also work with the City and Regional Planning Department at Curtin University to build capacity in negotiation, facilitation and mediating land use disputes. He will look at the parallels between Perth and Albuquerque’s neighborhood redevelopment and citizen involvement. Richardson will research Perth’s experience with community-based planning and inner-city revitalization.

“In Community and Regional Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning, our orientation is toward participatory involvement. We train planners to listen to and work with local constituencies. As a result, we are recognized nationally for our diversity and progressive approach to community and regional planning,” Richardson says.

The fellowship he has been awarded is given annually to an international visitor to work with Curtin University’s Department of City and Regional Planning.