Hi, I am Paul Satur
I am an environmental and social scientist, having recently completed my PhD with the School of Social Sciences (Monash University) in conjunction with the CRCWSC. For the past 10 years, I have been engaged in the urban sustainability and natural resource management sector. My focus has been on the development, delivery and review of stakeholder engagement, education and capacity building initiatives for environmental management and conservation outcomes. This work has included both strategic and on-ground delivery roles with Melbourne Water, the Central Coastal Board, Cardinia Shire Council, and the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities.
About my PhD work
PhD topic: The role and nature of social inequality in Australian cities and the implications, challenges and opportunities this presents for transitioning our cities to more water sensitive contexts
University: Monash University, Melbourne
CRCWSC project in which you were involved: Understanding societal processes to achieve water sensitive cities (Project A2.1)
The key finding of my research is that social inequality has a profound impact on domestic water use practices, and those practices shape the experiences, needs and capacities of residents. In other words, our economic, material, social and cultural resources affect the liveability, sustainability and resilience that we can achieve through our water use.
I looked at water use in the context of historical, political, social and biophysical characteristics of different cities. These contextual variables entwine with social inequality to determine the accessible and likely water use practices in different communities. I found the practices across city, community and household domains perpetuate inequality, with water resource management settings favouring the socially advantaged. The disadvantaged not only have less liveability, resilience and sustainability, but are less able to improve their circumstances by accessing new technologies and engaging in water sensitive transitions.
These considerations are key for the water resource management sector when developing and delivering programs for community capacity building, engagement and co-ownership. They should also apply to the development of policy and management regimes for water sensitive transitions.
About my current work
I coordinated a third year environmental sociology unit at Monash University, and worked with Melbourne Water’s Waterways and Land, Service Delivery team. At Melbourne Water, I facilitated a stakeholder engagement program for working with rural landholders on waterway protection and enhancement, and I was a Waterways and Land officer for the Casey/Cardinia catchment area. These fantastic learning experiences have let me apply my skills in an industry setting and understand the realities of a water sensitive cities approach from an onground operational perspective of the integrated water management sector.
I have also recently co-founded the Our Future Cities program. We want this program to build capacities and promote opportunities for diverse voices to help shape the future sustainability, liveability and resilience outcomes of our cities. To join our community of practice, or just find out more, head to www.ourfuturecities.org.
What next? I recently took up a position with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute as a research fellow and lecturer for Water Sensitive Cities.
I think Australia, as a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, can do more to investigate how a water sensitive cities approach could effectively contribute to SDGs. We don’t know enough about how to apply this approach to regional or remote settings in Australia, or to informal settlements in other countries. More research would help us bridge the gaps of inequality both here and overseas.
I also think the water sensitive cities approach has potential to help achieve carbon neutrality targets such as the Victorian Government’s TAKE2 campaign. For this reason, I’m interested in the opportunities for and challenges in transitioning the water sector and its customers to carbon neutrality.
How you can contact me
Our Future Cities website: www.ourfuturecities.org
Sustainability is just one of Paul’s passions. He recently ran a 44 km trail run (kind of like an offroad marathon), presents an Australian music radio show, and plays in a touring punk band.