Dr Peter Walters

Associate Professor

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 52759


I am an urban sociologist and an expert in urban community in all its forms. My research encompasses the outer suburbs in Australia, the gentrifying inner city and informal communities in cities in the Global South. My work focusses on how different urban places and spatial logics in the city impact on our opportunities to form attachments to neighbourhoods and each other, with a particular focus on the role of corporate capital and its tendency to homogenise our urban experience in Australia.

Internationally, I have written extensively on urban poverty in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia and I am currently involved in work on climate change and its effects on the urban poor in collaboration with colleagues in Indonesia, Brazil and Solomon Islands. My latest research concerns the impact of climate change, and natural disasters, on the urban poor. There are more than 1 billion people living in informal urban settlements, or slums. These people are among the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, however, adaptation and mitigation policies are being formulated at multiple scales, often without considering the voices of the urban poor.

I am the convenor of the Bachelor of Arts Sociology program and an award winning teacher. I teach courses at all levels in our undergraduate sociology program including Introduction to Sociology (SOCY1050), An Urban World (SOCY2340) and Advanced Studies in Social Thought: Getting the Big Picture (SOCY3345).

I am also an award winning photographer (you can see some of my work on my Flickr page.

I welcome proposals from potential Honours and PhD students who are interested in any aspect of the social life of cities from anywhere in the world.

Research Interests

  • Inner city change
    The social and cultural impacst of inner city change including gentrification, displacement and urban consolidation
  • Suburban life
    The sociology of suburban life, particularly in Australia.
  • Sociology of mega-cities
    Developing world megacities are the 21st century engines for global population growth. They are of vital interest both sociologically and economically.

Research Impacts

As a publicly recognised critical academic voice on urban and suburban issues, I have been given the opportunity to regularly promote and discuss my work on various national and international platforms. I make regular appearances in the national media. In the last two years I have been interviewed by ABC Radio National, ABC Melbourne and Brisbane, and Channel 7 News.on topics such as suburban life, inner-city urban culture, and urban ethnic and cultural diversity. I am a regular contributor to the Conversation (over 100,000 readers and counting).

I have participated in and led research teams in Australia, investigating inner-urban gentrification and change; outer suburban community and relationships with the market; the impacts of disaster on community and urban social dynamics; and the spatial and biographical and spatial stories of the homeless in Brisbane for a major charity.

Internationally, I have led a research team in Bangladesh, in collaboration with a local university to investigate the urban poor and their access to urban services and a sense of citizenship in slum communities.

In the Solomon Islands, I am part of a research team that for the last decade has been investigating the intersection of traditional cultural practices, Western science and environmental imperatives. A recent addition to this research effort has been the opportunity, with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to involve undergraduates from UQ in practical fieldwork to advance understanding and cooperation between Australia and Solomon Islands.

I am involved in a publishing collaboration with scholars from France, Canada, and South Africa on the global politics of urban sprawl. I am also part of a further collaboration with Swedish scholars investigating gentrification and the right to the geomedia city.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


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Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

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Completed Supervision