Associate Professor Emma Power

Emma Power

Emma Power is an Associate Professor in Geography and Urban Studies in the School of Social Sciences and an ICS Institute Fellow. Emma’s programme of research is concerned with urban living and the politics of care. It envisions a world of more caring and just cities, asking how cities can better support human life and the practice of care through studies of housing systems and governance, urban planning and cultures of home. This work is motivated by an interest in what makes cities liveable and is driven with concerns about the implications of growing urban and housing inequity, the residualisation of social welfare systems in western liberal welfare states and urban liveability in changing climates.

Current work mobilises theories of care to ask how cities, housing and welfare systems can be better organised to support the needs of all people.

Emma leads the ARC Discovery Project ‘Shadow Care Infrastructures: Sustaining Life in Post-welfare Cities’ (2021-2024) which asks how people reliant on government income support make ends meet. It investigates whether and how ‘shadow care infrastructures’ – a wide range of formal and informal material and social supports – enable the survival, well-being and flourishing of income support recipients. Focusing on people with disabilities, unemployed and asylum seekers, the research evaluates the benefits and harms such infrastructures produce for those receiving and providing care, and the wider community. It examines risks and opportunities to scale up emerging care infrastructures identified as critical to making ends meet for income support recipients in contemporary cities.

Emma is a CI on the ARC Linkage Project ‘Articulating Value in Housing Cooperatives’ (2020-2022), which investigates the social value and benefits of housing cooperatives in Australia. She is part of the Cooling the Commons team, investigating what it means to live well in cities in a time of climate change.

Her ARC DECRA fellowship 'Ageing, Home and Housing Security Among Single, Asset-poor Older Women' (2015-2019) investigated how housing policy and governance, and ongoing housing mobility, inform how single older women who do not own a home create and maintain a sense of home and security. The project raised questions about the care work of housing, and explored how older women can find housing security and a house that is a home.

Emma is Editor of the International Journal of Housing Policy and a co-founder of the Housing Journal Podcast (opens in a new window).


  • PhD in Human Geography, Macquarie University, April 2009
  • Graduate Diploma in Education, Macquarie University, 2002
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Honours First Class), Macquarie University, 2003

Research Focus

  • Care ethics
  • Care infrastructures
  • Housing security
  • Home making
  • Urban nature
  • Companion animals

Selected Publications

Bergan, T. L., Gorman-Murray, A., & Power, E. R. (in press). Coliving housing: home cultures of precarity for the new creative class. Social & Cultural Geography, 1-19.

Power, E. R., & Williams, M. J. (2020). Cities of care: A platform for urban geographical care research. Geography Compass, 14(1), 1-11.

Power, E. R., & Mee, K. J. (2020). Housing: an infrastructure of care. Housing Studies, 35(3), 484-505.

Power, E. R. (2020). Older women in the private rental sector: unaffordable, substandard and insecure housing. Western Sydney University, Penrith.

Power, E. R. (2019). Assembling the capacity to care: Caring-with precarious housing. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(4), 763-777.

Power, E. R., & Bergan, T. L. (2019). Care and Resistance to Neoliberal Reform in Social Housing. Housing, Theory and Society, 36(4), 426-447.

Power, E. R. (2017). Housing, home ownership and the governance of ageing. The Geographical Journal, 183(3), 233-246.

Power, E. R. (2017). Renting with pets: a pathway to housing insecurity? Housing Studies, 32(3), pp.336-360.

Power, E. R. (2015). Placing community self-governance: Building materialities, nuisance noise and neighbouring in self-governing communities. Urban Studies, 52(2), 245-260.

Power, E. R. (2008) Furry families: making a human-dog family through home, Social and Cultural Geography, 9, 5, pp 535-555.

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