Dr Jorge Álvarez-Romero, Research Fellow
See Jorge’s full research profile here.
What are your research interests as they relate to northern Australia?
Given the big agenda of ‘developing the north’ – in whatever shape or form that may take – I think our work on scenario planning is particularly interesting (and potentially very useful) because it can help people make informed decisions about the future based on a better understanding of what could happen under different trajectories and forms of development. We are also very interested in further developing approaches for collaborative work that brings together people with different backgrounds and interests to share their views, create shared understandings of the system, and eventually to change individual and collective actions that will shape a more sustainable future of the region.
What do you love about working in northern Australia?
I love working with locals who are always keen to share their views and knowledge about the region, and help us to have a better understanding of their country, what they value about where they live, how things work, and what they want for the future of the region. I also really enjoy driving through the different landscapes, seeing people working on the land, wildlife roaming around you, and the red dirt on the roads. The north seems quite remote but with rapidly growing technologies, communication and globalisation, there is an urgent need to improve our understanding of what the future may bring (in terms of development, for example) and what are the potential impacts of changes in land and water uses, particularly on local people who are the custodians of the land. Northern Australia offers a unique opportunity to think about development in sustainable ways that embrace the rich cultural and biological diversity of the region, as well as the opportunities to find ‘local’ solutions for global challenges like water, food and energy demands in a rapidly changing and connected world. I really like northern Australia’s savannas, including the diverse types of woodlands and grasslands, and its intricate and majestic river systems. I’m getting to know the Kimberley region now and I think it’s beautiful country, with a very rich history and unique land and seascapes. I use satellite images for some of my work and looking at the Kimberley coast from space is fascinating, like seeing works of art!