Dr Peter Walters

Senior Lecturer

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


I am an urban sociologist, and I research a wide range of issues that influence the way we live in cities and the way our social lives influence how cities look, feel and work. I have investigated the ways new communities form in master planned outer suburban estates, in collaboration with one of Australia’s largest property developers. I have researched inner-city neighbourhoods in Brisbane to understand that way that top-down gentrification influences the culture and community in these places. I was involved in a large Australian Research Council project in the aftermath of the 2011 Brisbane floods designed to better understand the relative importance of local community, government institutions and strangers in the way that affected suburbs recovered from this disaster in the short and medium term. My research has also taken me to Bangladesh where I have led research in collaboration with local universities, to investigate ways the urban poor understand themselves as citizens and how they access government services directly and through systems of patronage.

In a very different form of community research, I am part of a team working in the Solomon Islands since 2011. In collaboration with my colleague Professor Kristen Lyons, we are assisting a team of forestry researchers to better understand the social and cultural enablers and obstacles to the integration of western scientific practices to environmental protection and village level livelihoods.

I am a regular commentator on local and national media on urban affairs and also contribute regularly to the Conversation (over 100,000 readers).

I am an award-winning urban photographer (see Flickr link on this page)

I am currently teaching:

SOCY1050 Introduction to Sociology.

SOCY3345 Advanced Studies in Social Thought

SOCY2340 An Urban World

Thesis supervision:

I would be happy to speak with you if you are interested in higher degree research in any of the research fields below.

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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Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision