Rita Dionisio

Senior LecturerRita Dionisio

Human Geography
Beatrice Tinsley Rm 311
Internal Phone: 95993
My research aims to support local communities in urban planning processes, leadership, and participation.


Research Interests

My research focuses on adaptive urbanism, community resilience, and bicultural planning; aiming at socio-ecological justice. In Human Geography and urbanism, I demonstrate high competence – not only through scientific dissemination and external funding – but particularly by opening pathways to advance the integration of traditional ecological knowledge in decision-making processes, and urban living outcomes. I lead with novel research methods; combining action research, co-creation, and Kaupapa māori methodologies. My research has an increasing local, national, and international impact in the context of climate change emergency. I apply my expertise in collaborative planning through action research and my community connectedness reflects this. The national research programmes that I develop and lead, have the potential to transform local communities, inform national policy, and place UC in a leading position in the field of bicultural planning.

Recent Publications

  • Bennett C., Matunga H., Steyl S., Borell P., Dionisio R. and Hāpuku A. (2021) Mana whenua engagement in Crown and Local Authority-initiated environmental planning processes: A critique based on the perspectives of Ngāi Tahu environmental kaitiaki. New Zealand Geographer 77(2): 63-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nzg.12304.
  • de Jesus Dionisio MR., Macfarlane AH., Walker DP., Macfarlane SL., Derby M., Caldwell R., Pani J. and Waru R. (2021) Ngā Mātāpono e Rua: Stories of co-creation for bicultural spatial governance in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Geographer 77(2): 76-89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nzg.12299.
  • Dionisio R. and Macfarlane AH. (2021) Tikanga rua: Bicultural spatial governance in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Geographer 77(2): 55-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nzg.12303.
  • Schindler M. and Dionisio R. (2021) A framework to assess impacts of path dependence on urban planning outcomes, induced through the use of decision-support tools. Cities 115 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2021.103256.
  • Boles I. and Dionisio R. (2020) Community Resilience and Grassroots action for long-term urban change in Aotearoa New Zealand. In Design Culture(s) | Cumulus Roma 2020.