People

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Neil McCarthy

Executive Director

Neil is an international leader in natural resource management with a strong focus on policy and strategy. He brings innovation, paradigm challenging thinking, and a global perspective to Mosaic Insights’ work. Neil was originally educated in Forest Science at the University of Melbourne and holds an MBA in government policy and reform from Monash University.

Neil has extensive understanding and experience in the complexities in balancing environment and economic development for the betterment of the community. Neil has superior communication and negotiating skills, and networks at all levels of Australian government, and globally through his leadership of World Urban Parks.

Through his senior management roles at Parks Victoria and the North East Catchment Management Authority in Victoria, Neil has been responsible for leading some of the most significant global initiatives in parks management. These include the ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ program, the creation of Parks Forum as a peak Australasian organisation representing parks agencies, and the implementation of World Urban Parks.

Neil has been recognised for many of his contributions and was World Urban Parks’ 2016 Distinguished Individual Award recipient.  In addition to his role at Mosaic Insights, Neil is the CEO of World Urban Parks and Co-Chair of the International National Park City Commission.

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Dr Cathy Oke

Director

Dr Cathy Oke has over 20 years professional and academic experience in urban sustainability and city leadership. She is a strong advocate for local and regional governments driving action on global environmental issues, and leading research for greater impact from informed decision making.

Cathy is currently Melbourne Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities in the Connected Cities Lab within the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, and in this role she is a senior advisor on research and innovation for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Cathy’s previous role was as Knowledge Broker at the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes (CAUL) research hub, of the National Environmental Science Program.

As a Councillor at the City of Melbourne (2008 – 2020),  Cathy was in the Environment portfolio for 12 years and Transport portfolio for 10 years, and as a member of the ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) Global Executive Committee since 2009 and First Vice President (2018-2021), she has active in advocating on behalf of local and sub national governments at six United Nations Conference of the Parties (CoPs)– for climate and biodiversity. Cathy has a Bachelor of Science (marine biology, zoology) Hons (genetics) degree, and a PhD in Molecular Science.

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Jan Orton

General Manager

Jan is a well-respected and recognised champion, leader and strategist for liveability, sustainability and natural resource management. 

Jan has held senior management positions in local government for the past 15 – 20 years, she has managed and led large and diverse teams across environment and sustainability, parks and recreation, waste and recycling, works and infrastructure. Her strengths lay in using the evidence available with a wide range of voices and experiences bringing together diverse groups, interests and disciplines to address what are often complex urban management issues.

Jan has extensive experience in engaging communities, state and federal government agencies, researchers and other stakeholders in public land / public interest plans. She was at the forefront of open space planning in NSW working alongside the State Government in the implementation of the first plans of management for community land. Since then Jan has expanded the craft of collaborative planning across recreation, rivers, open space, infrastructure and services. She is an expert in developing strategy and policy that meet the needs of place and the people.

Jan has led change in many areas of sustainability and land management and been recognised through many awards. In 2008 Jan was named the public sector manager of the year by the Institute of Public Administration Australia for her leadership and impact in applying research around integrated urban water management to the local government sector. Jan has also recently completed Company Directors course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Sydney.

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Dr Dom Blackham

Senior consultant

Dom is a specialist in catchments and cities. As a geographer, he has particular expertise in bringing together blue / green infrastructure and restoration planning for environmental and social outcomes.

Over his 20 year career in consulting and research, Dom has delivered complex projects and helped clients solve intractable problems. His collaborative approach, advanced project management capability, workshop facilitation skills, and deep technical knowledge allows him to develop strategies, plans and on-ground actions that meet multiple, and often competing, objectives.

In additional to his technical leadership roles, Dom has held several senior management roles at Alluvium (Mosaic Insights sister company) including as a Board Director. He is experienced at engaging at senior levels in government agencies and working with stakeholders with competing perspectives and objectives. He maintains close links with leading research institutions, in particular the Smart Green Cities Centre at Macquarie University and the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne (where he gained his Ph.D).

Dom has led some significant initiatives to improve the liveability and resilience of Australian cities. In partnership with Melbourne Water he led a project to identify and design creek naturalisation projects across Melbourne to improve the ecological and social values of these significant green infrastructure assets. He advised the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on the development of the Metropolitan Open Space Strategy for Greater Melbourne, and speaks regularly on the need to bring evidence to the fore in urban planning and design.

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Mette Kirk

Senior Consultant

Mette is a Social Scientist and engagement practitioner widely known for her holistic approach to creating more resilient and connected communities through evidence-based strategies and policies as well as program evaluations and feasibility studies. Mette’s collaborative approach ensures not only a strong evidence base on which to make informed decisions, but also a solid reference for shared and positive action across internal departments and externally.

Based on a 20-year career in local government, private consulting and non-governmental sectors, Mette offers rich perspectives and policy advice across social, cultural, environmental, corporate, strategic, and urban planning. Mette effectively brings together diverse disciplines and fields of knowledge to explore complex challenges in new light and deliver strategies that transcend silos and interest areas.

Throughout her career, stakeholder and community engagement has been a core and unifying theme. Mette’s engagement and facilitation experience spans a wide range of cultural settings, including community development in Papua New Guinea; engagement with Traditional Owners on the Murrumbidgee; facilitation of strategic workshops for WWF International; and recent engagement on environmental sustainability and resilience projects for councils in Greater Sydney.

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Jake Allen

Data Science and Spatial Analyst

Jake is a spatial analyst and cartographer skilled in data visualisation. He is familiar with both the technical and creative aspects of data analysis. This leads him to develop impactful data products.

Jake has previous experience working in public sector strategic transport planning. Whilst working in government, he was recognised for his ability to tailor complex policy advice for a wide range of audiences. He worked collaboratively across a wide range of disciplines including: freight, land use change, walkable neighbourhoods, street tree canopy analysis, transport modelling and road safety. His work added significant value to the Department’s integrated transport plans.

His honours thesis involved working with the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to quantify cultural resources in Wurundjeri Country using high-resolution remotely sensed imagery. Jake believes that usability, simplicity and precision is the key to effective data communication.

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Dr Anne Cleary

Senior Consultant

Anne is an urban green and blue space expert specialising in the health and social outcomes of green and blue infrastructure. She is passionate about shaping landscapes and systems that promote human connection with nature for the benefit of people and the planet.

Anne is skilled in using co-design and place-based approaches with diverse stakeholders to produce fit-for-purpose, nature-based solutions that deliver co-benefits across environmental, health and social outcomes.

She is experienced in transdisciplinary, mixed methods research with experience investigating the role of nature-based interventions (Green Gyms, Care Farms) as part of social prescribing within mental health care. Additionally, Anne is proficient in the effectiveness of urban green space interventions for delivering social, health, environmental and equity outcomes.

Anne completed a PhD on the mental health and wellbeing benefits of urban green space at Griffith University’s School of Medicine and holds an adjunct position at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research. Her career has spanned diverse sectors and locations with experience in academia, not-for-profit and industry. This includes working as a research fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland, Brunel University London, World Health Organisation (European Centre for Environment and Health) in Germany, and Healthy Land and Water in south east Queensland.

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Dr Josh Nielsen

Senior Consultant

Josh is an urban water specialist who brings expertise in landscape architect and sustainability transitions to the Mosaic Insights team. He has worked with communities, government and industry to develop urban water projects across a variety of scales to enhance urban sustainability and liveability.

Josh has experience as a landscape architect in both Southeast Queensland and Melbourne across master planning through to detail design. Drawing on a Master of Integrated Water Management, his design work has had a strong focus on waterway rehabilitation and water sensitive urban design. He was heavily involved in the design and delivery of the award-winning Blind Creek ‘daylighting’ project (AILA National Awards 2021, Landscape Architecture Award in Infrastructure). Josh also played a key role in the development of the Siting and design guidelines for structures on the Victorian Coast (AILA National Awards 2020, Award of Excellence in Landscape Planning).

Outside of his landscape work, his PhD research at Monash University explored how the design process and final built outcome of water-sensitive public spaces can support sustainability transitions towards sustainable societies and examines the physical, social, and political challenges associated with the delivery of sustainable cities. More recently at the University of Melbourne, his work focused on the development of decision-support tools to guide the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation actions across built environment sectors. Through the range of exciting projects undertaken within Mosaic Insights, Josh is passionate about leveraging the opportunities that exist within all projects to catalyse urban sustainability transitions at a city scale.

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Sophie Moore

Consultant

Sophie has a background in plant ecology and conservation. She is a recent graduate of Macquarie University’s Master of Research program, where she investigated the change in diversity and function of trees within Australian cities. Her specialty is in investigating the diversity of features that Australian councils build into their plant selection, and how urban forests across the public and private domains can encompass more diversity of function in their tree canopy and beyond.

Before joining Mosaic Insights (part of the Alluvium group of companies), she was involved in research for the Which Plant Where project, contributing to best-practice planting guides, climate resilience and functional analysis of street trees, and collateral for the project’s Interactive Plant Features Tool. With Mosaic Insights she has supported the development of the Draft Greener Neighbourhoods Roadmap for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and has worked with the team on urban forest strategy and planning for city councils across NSW and Victoria.

Sophie is a PhD candidate with Mosaic Insights and Western Sydney University investigating the natural canopy dynamics of urban trees across metropolitan Sydney. She finds the complex and novel nature of urban ecosystems a fascinating and creative research and industry space, and sees advocacy for healthy equitable urban forests as crucial for the city’s human and other than human populations.

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Amala Mathew

Consultant

Amala is an architect and urban planner with a specific interest in creating sustainable and greener urban spaces through a transdisciplinary approach. Amala has been involved in significant projects ranging from transportation infrastructure design, landscape design, institutional design, and urban redevelopment projects in India.

She worked as a research intern with Western Sydney University – Geography and Urban studies group to assess the change in urban tree canopy cover across the Parramatta local government area in Sydney. Amala has also been involved in a research study with RDA Sydney to find development opportunities for regional NSW in a post-covid economy.

Amala has a strong skillset in design visualisation and building information modelling (BIM). Along with her knowledge and expertise in architectural design and planning, she focuses on bringing planning and design strategies that are complementing urban green infrastructure.

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Dr Thilini Kaluarachchi

Consultant

Thilini is an urban heat specialist who has conducted extensive research on the area of urban heat island effect in Greater Sydney. Thilini holds a PhD from the Western Sydney University and a master’s degree in Sustainability from the United Nations University, Japan. Her research interests lie primary in the fields of urban heat, urban green infrastructure and urban planning policies.

She takes a transdisciplinary approach in her work and involved in significant number of projects ranging from microclimate and spatial heterogeneity, water quality modelling to solid waste management. Recently she led a project to identify the influence of tree morphological characteristic on the surface temperature in Sydney. She also worked with the Parramatta and Cumberland Councils to investigate the influence of landscape on microclimate in Western Sydney during her doctoral degree. Her work mainly involves filed data collections and analysis. 

 Thilini is skilled in various methodical approaches for collecting and analysing climate data, microclimate data and assessing the canopy cover, permeable and impermeable material, cooling surfaces, irrigation and urban form. She possesses a strong skillset in using modelling software like WEAP. Her skills are not limited to quantitative research, but also to qualitative work. She is highly competent in thematic policy analysis and have analysed large number of council legal documents.