Associate Professor Sarah Foster

A/Prof Foster researches the impact of dwelling and neighbourhood characteristics on health behaviours and outcomes to influence apartment and neighbourhood design policy.

A/Prof Sarah Foster leads a program of applied, policy-relevant research designed to influence policy and practice to create healthier built environments.

Sarah’s research focuses on the policy and practice of designing healthy equitable higher-density communities. This includes the ‘The High Life Study’ which examines the interplay between apartment design policy standards, the design of contemporary apartment buildings, and residents’ health and wellbeing.  The High Life data platform combines policy-specific apartment/building design metrics with a survey of residents and neighbourhood liveability measures, and underpins several PhD and research projects.

Sarah is lead investigator on an ARC Discovery Project (DP210103736) that investigates that parks apartment residents use (and why) to create evidence-based public open space standards, and a Future Fellowship (FT210100899) that is tailored to inform the content and detail of apartment design policies and the planning of apartment precincts. She is also an investigator on projects that evaluate community responses to infill developments (LP190100558) and explore community preferences for public open space (AURIN High Impact project).

Sarah is based with the Healthy Liveable Cities Lab at the Centre for Urban Research.  Before moving to RMIT to take up a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship (2017-2021), she held a series of research-intensive appointments at the Centre for the Built Environment and Health at The University of Western Australia.  This included a Healthway Health Promotion Research Fellowship (2012-2014) and an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2016-2018).  She is a member of the West Australian State Design Review Panel as a specialist in public health, and Senior Assistant Editor with Environment and Behaviour.  Sarah has Bachelor of Geography (2005), and a PhD in Population Health from The University of Western Australia (2010).

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