Associate Professor Paul Osmond

Director, Sustainable Built Environment program
Architecture, Sustainable Built Environment, Smart Cities

BSc (Monash)

Grad. Dip. Environmental Management (Charles Sturt)

Master of Design (RMIT)


My research and teaching interests fall into three key areas: urban form, urban metabolism, and architectural and urban ambience. Form examines the shape of the city and its precincts. Metabolism takes a systems and life-cycle approach to buildings and how they operate. Ambience examines the physical and psychological qualities of the built environment and the lived experience of inhabitants.

From urban design processes, to energy efficiency, to the creation of delightful places that enhance our health and wellbeing, these areas of study are important because we need to know how a city works in order to draw conclusions and make improvements.

My work dovetails perfectly with the key aim of the Faculty, which is to plan, design and manage sustainable and equitable cities for the 21st century, but also feeds into the wider strategic aims of the university through its provision of insights into solving the grand global challenges of urbanisation and climate change.

02 9385 4915
+61 2 9385 4827

Paul Osmond has been engaged with sustainable development since the 1980s, both in practice and more recently, through teaching and research. He joined the Built Environment Faculty in 2010, from his previous position as manager of the former UNSW Environment Unit where he was accountable for development and implementation of the University’s Environmental Management Plan. Prior to this role, Paul worked in local government, where he was responsible for the delivery of a variety of pioneering environmental management, landscape and urban design programs and projects. His previous professional background includes experience in forestry, freelance technical journalism and the metal industry. Paul has qualifications in applied science, environmental management and landscape design. His PhD research focused on methods for evaluation and design of sustainable urban form. He is a Certified Environmental Practitioner, Practitioner member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, Registered Environmental Auditor, Green Star Accredited Professional and a member of the International Association for Urban Climate Member and International Ecological Engineering Society.

Research Activities: 

My research interests cover a range of topics within the broad ambit of built environment sustainability, including urban morphology, urban metabolism and ecosystem services, urban climatology and architectural/urban ambience (experienced physical and psychological qualities of the built environment). I see the future direction of my research as consolidating and developing the above, with a key objective being to support the emergence and growth of recognised “nodes of excellence” around these (and related) topics. My most recent research project experience has been as chief investigator and lead author for the Guide to Urban Cooling Strategies, launched in August 2017 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living; and as member of the National Green Infrastructure Network team which delivered the Urban Ecology Desktop Review and Blueprint for Living Cities: Policy to Practice reports for the NSW Environmental Trust in April 2017.

Teaching & Supervision: 

Coming to academia from three decades of practice in the public, private and NGO sectors, my teaching rationale embraces the perspective that knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Within this experiential framework learning is best served by an approach which is both context-based, responsive to social context and setting; and problem-based, characterised by the use of "real world" problems as the framework for students to learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I focus on achieving continual improvement in teaching effectiveness through attention to student feedback and maintaining links with built environment practice. I currently teach across the postgraduate Sustainable Development Program, where I am keen to bring insights from research and practice to courses embracing sustainability and habitability, managing the sustainable built environment and environmental auditing. I am also co-convener of an innovative Integrated Design Studio which combines the skills of postgraduate Architects and Engineers, and I convene the Sustainable Development Program's "capstone" Graduate Research Project. A major teaching focus for 2018 is revision of our course material for delivery of the Master of Sustainable Built Environment program in Singapore, for the Singapore Building and Construction Authority.


In the Media


  • Representative of UNSW Built Environment to Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)
  • Representative of UNSW Built Environment to Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA)
  • Representative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) Resilience Task Group
  • Member of Editorial Board of Urban Morphology
  • Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP)
  • Green Star Accredited Professional
  • Associate of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (UK)
  • Member of International Association for Urban Climate
  • Member of International Ecological Engineering Society
  • Member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand.


Paul sees an ongoing connection with practice as adding value to his teaching and research.  In addition to involvement with several Green Star registered buildings, recent projects have included:

  • Development of an urban sustainability indicator framework for the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC); 
  • Revision of the energy auditing standard AS/NZS5398 as part of a consortium with Energetics and Rare Consulting;
  • Preparation of the Greening Universities Toolkit for the United Nations Environment Program; and
  • Development of an energy efficiency training package for accountants and business managers, with the UNSW School of Accounting (State Government grant).


Supervision Area: 

Paul currently is primary or joint supervisor to nine PhD and one MPhil students whose topics include urban microclimate, building rating systems, material life cycles and sustainable property development.


Adriana Sanchez Gomez


Urban sustainable resilience: A policy framework

Carlos Bartesaghi Koc


Assessing the thermal performance of green infrastructure on urban microclimate

Christina Silk


Street trees and grey Infrastructure: A model to resolve conflicting Requirements.

Claudio Diaz Sandoval


The potential of passive indirect evaporative cooling for buildings and cities in the hot humid tropics

Ella Roessler-Holgate


Relearning architectural history through a sustainability lens

Henrique Sala Benites


Shifting the cities towards sustainable, resilient and low carbon environments: a systemic and integrated approach for the eco-retrofit of urban precincts

Jonathan Fox


The effects of facades on outdoor microclimate

Mahmood Khan


Positive design and development framework for buildings

Nurul Huda Mohd Annuar


A framework of life cycle sustainability assessment as a new generation tool for building assessment system: A case study of Malaysia

Peter Hunt


Research the levels of sustainable development in the various property sectors, i.e. residential, commercial (office, retail, industrial and institutional) and investigate feasibility model techniques to determine the business case for sustainability.