Professor Pauline McGuirk

Visiting Research Fellow

About Pauline

Pauline is a visiting research fellow at the Urban Institute. Since 2016 she has been senior professor at the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities at The University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia, where she is also Director of the Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS).

Prior to this, Pauline was Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Newcastle, NSW. She is an Editor of Progress in Human Geography and a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Australia.

Research interests

Pauline’s research interests revolve, broadly, around critical studies of urban governance, its changing geographies, material practices and politics, and the differential implications for urban places, communities, subjectivities and power. She has led a number of projects in this field funded chiefly by the Australian Research Council. A major strand of her work has been the analysis of neoliberalised urban governance, conceived as a political project contingently performed and unevenly reproduced in diverse contexts. She has developed this analysis through explorations of competitive urbanism, privately governed urban neighbourhoods and urban regeneration.

Two strands characterise her most recent work. First is the strategic role of cities in climate governance and energy transformation, teasing out governance modes, practices, and political implications (ARCDP DP110100081 and ARCDP150100991). Second is the emergent urban geographies and governance of ‘smart cities’, and their urban economic, socio-spatial and political transformations (ARCDP170103384).



Dowling R, McGuirk PM, Gillon C Strategic or piecemeal? Smart City Initiatives in Sydney and Melbourne. Urban Policy and Research, (Accepted Sept)

Penfold H, Waitt G, McGuirk PM, Wellington A, Indigenous relational understandings of the house-as-home: embodied co-becoming with Jerrinja Country, Housing Studies (under revision, submitted August 2018)

McGuirk PM, Dowling R, Carr C The material politics of smart building energy management: a view from Sydney’s commercial office space, Political Geography

Penfold H, Waitt G, McGuirk PM  Tiny houses: reworking housing and homemaking cultures? Australian Planner,

Santala I, McGuirk PM   Sharing cities: creating space and practice for new urban capacities, agency and subjectivities, Community Development, doi:10.1080/15575330.2019.1642928

Baker T, McGuirk PM Out from the shadows? Voluntary organisations and the assembled state, Environment and Planning C


Baker T and McGuirk PM ‘He came back a changed man’: The popularity and influence of policy tourism’, Area

Carr C, McGuirk PM, Dowling R Geographies of energy transition: the case of high performing commercial office space in the CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Australian Geographer, 50:1, 29-48, DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2018.1536319

Sweeney J, Mee K, McGuirk PM, Ruming K Assembling placemaking: the making and remaking of place in the regeneration of the post-industrial city, Cultural Geographies,

Dowling R and McGuirk PM, Malleson M, Governing energy transitions: exploring the role of the urban in multilevel governance, Energy Research and Social Science, 44, 260-67


Baker T, McGuirk PM (2017) Assemblage thinking as methodology: Commitments and practices for critical policy research, Territory, Politics, Governance, 5, 425-42


McGuirk PM, Mee K, Ruming R, Assembling urban regeneration? Resourcing critical generative accounts of urban regeneration through assemblage thinking, Geography Compass, 10, 3, 128-141

McGuirk PM, Bulkeley H, Dowling R, Configuring carbon governance in the city: insights from Sydney, Australia, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 106, 145-166

Bulkeley, H.A., McGuirk PM, Dowling, R. (2016). Making a Smart City for the Smart Grid? The urban material politics of actualising smart electricity networksEnvironment and Planning A, 48, 1709-1726


Baker T, Dussage-Laguna E, Jalkkonen R, Loblova O, McGuirk P, Monterro S, Morais de Saw e Silva M, Rusu A, Soremi T, Spences J, Walker, C and Wood A (2019) Prospects for policy circulation studies: towards engaged pluralism? Understanding policy tourism as an arena for policy circulation, Public Policy Circulation Arenas, Agents and Actions, in Baker T and Walker C (eds) Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 196-204

Baker T, McGuirk PM Seeing is believing? Understanding policy tourism as an arena for policy circulation, Public Policy Circulation Arenas, Agents and Actions, in Baker T and Walker C (eds) Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 42-66


Dowling R, McGuirk PM, Maalsen S, (2018) Realising smart cities: partnerships and economic development in the emergence and practices of smart in Newcastle, Australia, in Karvonen A, Curgurullo F, Caprotti F (Eds) Inside Smart Cities: Place, Politics and Urban Innovation, Routledge, London, 15-30

Gentle N and McGuirk PM, Rethinking culture-led urban regeneration: The creative (re)assembling of inner-city Newcastle, in K Ruming K (Ed) Urban Regeneration and Australian Cities: policies, processes and projects, Routledge, London, 227-46

Ruming K, Mee K, McGuirk PM, Sweeney J Shopping-centre-led regeneration: Middle-ring town centres and suburban regeneration, in K Ruming K (Ed) Urban Regeneration and Australian Cities: policies, processes and projects, Routledge, London, 268-94

Ruming K, Mee K, McGuirk PM, Sweeney J On the fringe of regeneration: what role for greenfield development and innovative urban futures? in K Ruming K (Ed) Urban Regeneration and Australian Cities: policies, processes and projects, Routledge, London, 353-77

Dowling R, McGuirk PM, and Bulkeley H (2018) Governing carbon conduct and subjects in Luque-Ayala A, Marvin S, and Bulkeley H (Eds) Rethinking Urban Transitions: Politics in the Low Carbon City, Routledge, New York 185-202


Dowling R, McGuirk PM, Brennan C, Bulkeley H (2016) Devising low-carbon desires in the Australian urban economy in H Bulkeley, M Patterson, J Stripple (eds) Towards a Cultural Politics of Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 37-51.

Ruming K, Mee K, McGuirk PM (2016) Planned derailment for new urban futures? An actant network analysis of the “great [light] rail debate” in Newcastle, Australia in Y Rydin and L Tate (eds) Exploring the Potential of Actant Network Theory, Taylor & Francis, London, 44-62

Dowling R, McGuirk PM and Bulkeley H (2016) Demonstrating retrofitting: perspectives from Australian local government, in M Hodson and S Marvin (eds) Retrofitting Cities: Priorities, Governance and Experimentation, Taylor & Francis, London, 212-232.

Dowling R and McGuirk PM (2016) Cities of Australia and the Pacific Islands, in S Brunn, M Hays Mitchell, and D Ziegler (eds) Cities of the World (6th Ed) Rowman and Littlefield, Landham MD (Revised and updated)

McGuirk PM, O’Neill P (2016) Using questionnaires in qualitative human geography, Qualitative Research Metsss in Human Geography (4th Edn), Oxford University Press, Ontario, Canada, 246-74 (Revised and updated)