About Us

The Circles Project


We are a research association, collaborating across a number of universities and international organizations to develop and apply the Circles approach.

The Circles Project is convened by the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, Australia. It is supported in particular by the Senate Department of Urban Development and the Environment (Berlin) and Metropolis, the World Association of Major Metropolises (Barcelona and Paris). But its base is much broader. It is a collaborative network of colleagues and associates who have been working together in various capacities since 2007 to contribute practically and theoretically to a more sustainable planet.

Circles of Sustainability is a method, part of the larger Circles of Social Life approach, developed through collaboration between Metropolis, the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, and other organizations such as the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), the Cultural Development Network, and World Vision.

The method is used for assessing sustainability and for managing projects for socially sustainable outcomes. It is intended to handle seemingly intractable problems. We live in a world with increasing pressures of global climate change, globalization, urbanization, and intensifying social change. In response, we need more sophisticated and subtle approaches for acting upon sustainability issues. It seems that the more complex the problem, the less that contemporary approaches are useful. ‘Sustainability’ is in danger of becoming an empty phrase. Circles of Sustainability provides a possible way out of these limitations.

Organizational Group

Liam Magee (Convenor), Sarah Barns, Pip Collin, Paul James, Jakki Mann (project manager), Tim Neale, Juan Francisco Salazar, Tim Strom, Teresa Swist, Amanda Third, and Jessica Weir.

Critical Reference Group


Paul James, Director, Institute for Culture and Soceity, Western Sydney University, Australia
Liam Magee, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia
Eduardo Manoel Araujo, Curitiba, Brazil
Andy Scerri, Virginia Tech, United States
Manfred Steger, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaii, United States

Global Associates

Michael Abraham, Berlin, Germany
Malcolm Borg, Director, Heritage Enterprise, Zejtun, Malta
Corrine Cash, Waterloo, Canada
Federico Cugurullo, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Sunil Dubey, Metropolis Country Director, India
Elizabeth Kath, Director of Communications, Global Reconciliation, Australia
Kathy McConell, Co-ordinator, Food Alliance, Australia
Giulia Maci, Co-founder, Urbego, Copenhagen, Denmark
Karen Malone, Chair of the Child Friendly Asia-Pacific Network, UWS, Sydney, Australia
Jakki Mann, Circles Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
Ramon Marrades, Co-founder, Urbego, Valencia, Spain
Michele Melchiorri, Consultant at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Milan, Italy
Kirstin Miller, Executive Director, Ecocity Builders, San Francisco, United States
Harald B. Ramm, Policy Officer, Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, Berlin, Germany
Annalotta Roos, Gothenburg, Sweden
Nick Rose, National Coordinator of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, Australia
John Smithies, Director, Cultural Development Network, Melbourne, Australia
Juan Salazar, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia
Tamara Stenn, SIT Graduate Institute, Vermont, United States
Timothy Ström, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia.
Hebe Verrest, AISSR, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Linda Williams, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Global Advisors

Ien Ang, Professor of Cultural Studies, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia
Mahmoud El Burai, Director of Dubai Real Estate Institute, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Peter Christoff, Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia
Robyn Eckersley, Professor of Environmental Politics, University of Melbourne, Australia
Brendan Gleeson, Director, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia
Paul Komesaroff, Professor of Medicine, Monash University, Australia
Stephanie Trigg, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia
Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, India
John Wiseman, Deputy Director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia
Nicholas You, Founder, UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign Steering Committee, Nairobi, Kenya

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