Architect, interior designer and academic Cathy Smith has been named as the inaugural recipient of the Turnbull Foundation Women in Built Environment Scholarship.

Worth $95,000, the scholarship will support Smith to undertake postgraduate study at UNSW’s Faculty of Built Environment. She has also been invited to participate in the university’s Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) Women in Leadership Program.

Smith has said she will use the scholarship to develop her research around grassroots-driven urbanism.

“I’m interested in that ‘transition moment’ when community-orientated urbanism and sanctioned forms of development intersect,” says Smith.

“My thesis aims to highlight the challenges and productivity associated with this intersection and how they are both critical to the construction of the 21st century city.”

Smith is also currently working with the NSW Australian Institute of Architects Education Committee to develop a national survey addressing issues of equity and gender diversity in Australian architecture schools.  

The scholarship was established by Lucy Turnbull, chief commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission and adjunct professor at UNSW’s Faculty of Built Environment, to help increase the number of women in leadership roles in the built environment industry. It is funded by the Turnbull Foundation.

“Cathy is a spectacular architecture academic who is particularly interested in the boundaries between community-led interventions in public spaces and institutional interventions, which is an area that particularly fascinates me,” says Turnbull.

Smith is a senior lecturer in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle.