Researcher biography

An experienced industry planner who played a major role in developing the Gold Coast Light Rail project has been announced as the Planner in Residence in UQ’s School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management.

UQ Planning program director Professor Neil Sipe said that Warren Rowe, a 37-year career professional with impeccable practice credentials, would provide a strong practice focus to GPEM’s planning programs.

“Warren will be involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, performing project-based research, and engaging with the planning profession,” Professor Sipe said.

“This is a new position at UQ and was motivated by the desire to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

“An additional motivation is to have a practising planner oversee our work placement course — the Planning Practicum.”

Mr Rowe said he hoped to provide a conduit for students wanting to enter the planning profession, and a conduit for practicing planners to provide feedback to the University in course content and opportunities for partnering and mentoring. 

“I am excited about the role because the profession has never been more relevant,” Mr Rowe said.

“There is greater community understanding about the need for good planning, and increasing community concern to be involved in decision-making on where they work, live and recreate,” Mr Rowe said.

“Planners are ideally placed between the community and opportunities in urban and rural areas.”

Mr Rowe said the planning profession had significant influence and was in a position to make a positive contribution to people’s lives.

“Students contemplating studying planning need to realise that it is a profession that offers the chance to make a difference – a valuable opportunity that all professions crave,” he said.

“Planning qualifications also offer graduates the opportunities to work in a diverse areas – from finance and property to government and private industry, in Australia and on the world stage.”

Mr Rowe was Director of Planning, Environment and Transport at Gold Coast City Council for 17 years. 

His achievements included transport policy and capital works programs and implementing other significant programs to improve the planning framework and its outcomes for Australia’s sixth largest, and fast-growing city.

Mr Rowe is a strategic advisor at BV International. BVI is a recently established business unit within the respected Buckley Vann Town Planning Consultants. 

His commitment to the planning profession has been acknowledged with the award of a Public Service Medal and Fellowships from the Planning Institute of Australia and the Urban Development Institute of Australia. 

He was an Adjunct Professor in the Urban Research Program at Griffith University and he is a former Chair of Griffith University School of Environment Urban and Environmental Planning Discipline Professional Advisory Board, and Chair of Griffith’s Urban Research Program Centre Advisory Board.

The Planner in Residence is a full-time position and to maintain the professional practice focus of the position, a new Planner in Residence will be appointed every two years.

Areas of research