Board Members

Positive Development, like sustainability itself, is inherently transdisciplinary and applies to all scales of development from product design to bioregional planning. Therefore, the Advisory Board consists of colleagues who have expertise across a spectrum of diverse areas, including mycology, agronomy, landscape design, architecture, urban planning, ethical investment and finance, environmental planning, sustainable real estate, and community participation in developing cities. Feedback, support and encouragement from a diverse range of other experts has been invaluable as well. Likewise, critique based on an understanding of the materials in this website or reading materials made available are, as always, welcome via [email protected].

Janis Birkeland 

Dr. Birkeland was an architect, urban designer, city planner and lawyer in San Francisco before entering academia.  She taught a several universities, including as a Professor of Sustainable Design at the University of Auckland and Professor of Architecture at QUT in Brisbane.  These educational and professional choices were in furtherance of a lifelong interest in unraveling and resolving the systemic impediments to ecological sustainability and, in particular, exploring how urban design and development can generate net public gains.  She has written extensively on sustainable urban design, planning and architecture, including textbooks on Design for Sustainability(2002), Positive Development (2008), and Net-Positive Design (2020).  She is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne.   

Alison McDonald

Architect, Neuro-architecture Consultant (BEEhive Brain + Enriched Environment Labs), Research Fellow, Adjunct, Griffith University (Architecture), Cities Research Institute

Alison strives to influence change through her life-long journey with sustainability, her roles in academia, and international industry experience as a chartered multi-award-winning architect and sustainability design consultant. Her research explores human-centred environments and implementation of inclusive-sustainable architecture, with the goal of creating net-Positive cognitive-enriching environments for all. Alison experiments with art-based creative-work research to inform, provoke, and explore translation between designer, user and cross-disciplinary research. Her lived-experience brings fresh perspective to her professional foundation in design, architectural science, building comfort, and sustainability.  Alison advocates Net-Positive Design and worked closely with Dr Janis Birkeland at Queensland University of Technology – delivering courses in Eco-Innovation, Retrofitting, Greening the Built Environment, Greenhouse Solutions, and Sustainable Practice in Built Environment and Engineering.

David Midmore

Midmore is an agricultural botanist, better known as an agronomist, who besides having a sound understanding of the role of species and their management in food production, is also proficient in issues relating to sustainability including carbon accounting. His experience in the latter ranges from measuring and calculating carbon sequestration in forests in Nepal and cocoa farms in Ghana, to calculating carbon budgets for horticultural enterprises in Australia. This is all based upon simple principles that are readily transferred to eco-positive/net-positive/nature-positive living designs, as was done in 2014 in a study on ‘Net-positive building carbon sequestration‘. He is open to work in a team with architects and landscape designers to further the concept and practice of Positive Development.

Dr Kathi Holt                                                                          

Exec MSc in Cities [LSE], 

PhD [RMIT], MArch [UniMelb], BArch [UND, SA]

President of the Urban Design Alliance based in Brisbane. She is an architect and urban designer with a special interest in cities and the application of intelligent design to improve the health, well-being and social integration of all citizens.

Working across four continents over 26 years, and culminating in an executive MSc in Cities from the London School of Economics, she is the Brisbane Director of Tandem Design Studio, and the Executive Director of NERØ HOLT– a research and consulting practice that works with universities, government agencies, not-for-profit organisations and industry, to raise funding to tackle endemic problems such as environmentally sustainable and affordable housing, and the integration of science and technology in smart cities.

Konrad Knerr

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) About ISS

Experienced Operations Director/Chief Operations Officer 

Konrad has worked in the field of ethical investment for the last 20 years. In 1999 he started working for the ASX listed Australian Ethical Investment Limited, now headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and offering ethical investment funds management, as well as ethical superannuation. Subsequent to that Konrad helped establish the research business the Centre for Australian Ethical Research Pty Ltd (CAER), which he co-founded in 2002. After selling this business in 2019, Konrad now works for Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a world leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions with over 30 offices across the globe.

David Uhlmann

David is an Urban Designer, Registered Landscape Architect, and Precinct Sustainability Consultant with over 28 years experience.

David leads Wolter Consulting Group’s Environment and Sustainability team with a current focus on the design-led application of Circular Economy principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to building and precinct projects through application of systems thinking and biodiversity-positive outcomes.   David is Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP) for both Design/As-Built and Communities Rating Tools, and a Certified EcoDistricts Professional.

He is a recognized industry leader, including current roles as the Queensland Chapter President for The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, an advisory board member for the Australian Green Development Forum, and a Design review panel member for both Brisbane and Ipswich City Councils. 

Professor Sara Wilkinson 


Professor Sara Wilkinson is a chartered building surveyor and Australia’s first female Professor of Sustainable Property. Her transdisciplinary research program sits at the intersection of sustainability, urban development and transformation, with a focus on green cities and preparing our urban environments for the challenges of climate change. 

Sara works with academic and industry partners in engineering, science, health and business to deliver building adaptation, sustainability, resilience, and green infrastructure projects. Recent work includes the development of a prototype wallbot to inspect and monitor green walls on high-rise buildings.  

Sara has produced over 385 research outputs, including her 2016 Best Practice Guidance Note on Green Roofs and Walls. She is the Director of ZEMCH (Zero Energy Mass Custom Housing), Australia and the Australian Hub Leader for the Carbon Leadership Forum. 

Dr Stephen Knight-Lenihan

Dr Knight-Lenihan lectures in environmental planning at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture and Planning. Dr Knight-Lenihan worked as a journalist and environmental consultant for a number of years before joining the University in 2010. Research interests include how to achieve net benefit in biodiversity values as part of addressing ecological restoration. Other research includes the local application of climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies and management systems, and integrating ecological concepts into decision-making. He is involved in local government workshops and policy initiatives relating to biodiversity net gain and climate compatible development.

Ema Birkeland Corro

Ema is a biologist with an interest in sustainability, conservation and ecology. She is currently researching the production of sustainable mycelium-based sound insulation materials from agricultural wastes at RMIT University. She is also the president of MYCOmmunity Applied Mycology which is an organisation that aims to raise awareness of the importance of fungi in health, sustainability and the environment, as well as providing scientific training and resources. She is the coordinator of the Wild Fungi Project which is developing environmental DNA techniques to search for rare and endangered fungi

Gerry Gillespie

Gerry has been involved in the recovery of organic materials and their reuse in soils for 30 years both in Australia and overseas, including roles in New Zealand and consultancy work around the world. With an emphasis on community engagement, he developed the City to Soil collection program and helped refine an inoculant-based, odour-free, no-turn compost process.  He has current projects involving the use of biostimulant and inoculant products in the fields of biochar, foliar fertilisers, feral animals, food waste and compost. He currently works as an Organics Consultant to local business, farmers groups and councils around the world. He is launching his Acres USA published book: “The Waste Between Our Ears” in October 2020.

Matías Gatti González

founder of Softurb

Matías is a Uruguayan architect, urban planner and former honorary assistant professor based in São Paulo.
He currently runs Softurb, a platform for civic innovation and urban activism awarded at Beyond Bauhaus – Prototyping the Future in Berlin in 2019. Since then, Softurb initiatives have been recognized in various contexts and events. His work is currently developed around two main axes: supporting the work of social organizations and promoting citizen participation in urban processes to better address the great challenges that cities are facing. He has developed the Spanish version of the STARfish that prioritizes social and cultural issues called SPACE (Softurb Participation And Cultural Engagement STARfish).