Robert Newell

Assistant professor, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainability

Environment & Sustainability

Dr. Robert Newell is the Canada Research Chair (tier 2) in Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability. Newell’s research focuses on integrated planning and policy, stakeholder engagement and sustainable community development.

He applies system thinking to identify relationships and tensions among critical sustainability imperatives, particularly climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity conservation, and other sustainability objectives.

His research often employs community-based, participatory approaches for developing knowledge and tools for supporting planning and decision-making, such as systems maps, integrated models and visualizations. Newell also teaches courses on critical sustainability issues (i.e., climate change and biodiversity loss) and approaches to sustainable development.


Newell was the associate director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley from 2020 to 2022, and he currently holds a Research Associate position with the Institute.

Newell was also a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow from 2017 to 2019, researching integrated models and visualizations as tools for community planning. Newell uses a variety of quantitative (e.g., decomposition analysis, regressions, factor analysis), qualitative (e.g., thematic coding), and spatial (e.g., GIS) methods.


Graduate Diploma in Planning

University of Waterloo

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Royal Roads University

PhD in Geography

University of Victoria

Master of Arts in Environment and Management

Royal Roads University

Bachelor of Science in Biology and Statistics

University of Victoria


Issac, J., Newell, R., Dring, C., White, C., Ghadiri, M., Pizzirani, S., & Newman, L. (2022). Integrated Sustainability Planning and Local Food Systems: Examining Areas of and Gaps in Food Systems Integration in Community Sustainability Plans for Municipalities across British Columbia. Sustainability, 14(11), 6724.

Newell, R., Dale, A., & Lister, N.-M. (2022). An integrated climate-biodiversity framework to improve planning and policy: An application to wildlife crossings and landscape connectivity. Ecology and Society, 27(1), 23.

Newell, R., Newman, L., & Mendly-Zambo, Z. (2021). The role of incubators and accelerators in the fourth agricultural revolution: A case study of Canada. Agriculture, 11(11), 1066.

Green, A. G., Abdulai, A. R., Duncan, E., Glaros, A., Campbell, M., Newell, R., Quarshie, P., KC, K. B., Newman, L., Nost, E., & Fraser, E. D. (2021). A scoping review of the digital agricultural revolution and ecosystem services: Implications for Canadian policy and research agendas. FACETS, 6, 1955-1985.

Glaros, A., Marquis, S., Major, C., Quarshie, P., Ashton, L., Green, A. G., KC, K. B., Newman, L., Newell, R., Yada, R., & Fraser, E. D. (2021). Horizon scanning and review of the impact of five food and food production models for the global food system in 2050. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 119, 550-564.

Newman, L., Newell, R., Mendly-Zambo, Z., & Powell, L. (2021). Bioengineering, telecoupling, and alternative dairy: Agricultural land use futures in the Anthropocene. The Geographical Journal, 1-15.

Jost, F., Newell, R., & Dale, A. (2021). CoLabS: A collaborative space for transdisciplinary work in sustainable community development. Heliyon, 7(2), e05997. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e05997

Newell, R., Newman, L., Dickson, M., Vanderkooi, B., Fernback, T., & White, C. (2021). Hydroponic fodder and greenhouse gas emissions: A potential avenue for climate mitigation strategy and policy development. FACETS, 6, 1-24.

Newell, R., McCarthy, N., Picketts, I., Davis, F., Hovem, G., & Navarrete, S. (2021). Communicating complexity: Interactive model explorers and immersive visualizations as tools for local planning and community engagement. FACETS, 6, 1-30. doi: 10.1139/facets-2020-0045

Goudine, A., Newell, R., & Bone, C. (2020). Seeing climate change: A framework for understanding visualizations for climate adaptation. International Journal of Geo-Information, 9(11), 644. doi: 10.3390/ijgi9110644

Jost, F., Dale, A., Newell, R., & Robinson, J. (2020). Evaluating development path changes using a novel climate action assessment framework in three municipalities in British Columbia, Canada. Environmental Science and Policy, 114, 410–421. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.09.007

Jost, F., Dale, A., Newell, R., & Robinson, J. (in review). Climate action assessment in three small municipalities in British Columbia : advancements vis-à-vis major neighboring cities. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 2, 100010. doi: 10.1016/j.crsust.2020.100010

Newell, R., & Dale, A. (2020). COVID-19 and climate change: An integrated perspective. Cities & Health. doi: 10.1080/23748834.2020.1778844

Newell, R., & Picketts, I.M. (2020). Spaces, places, and possibilities: A participatory approach for developing and using integrated models for community planning. City and Environment Interactions, 6, 100040. doi: 10.1016/j.cacint.2020.100040

Newell, R., Picketts, I.M., & Dale, A. (2020). Community systems models and development scenarios for integrated planning: Lessons learned from a participatory approach. Community Development. doi: 10.1080/15575330.2020.1772334

Dale, A., Robinson, J., King, L., Burch, S., Newell, R., Shaw, A., & Jost, F. (2019). Meeting the climate change challenge: Local government climate action in British Columbia, Canada. Climate Policy, 20(7) 866-880. doi: 10.1080/14693062.2019.1651244

Clifton-Ross, J., Dale, A., & Newell, R. (2019). Frameworks and models for disseminating curated research outcomes to the public. SAGE Open, 9(2), 2158244019840112. doi: 10.1177/2158244019840112

Newell, R., Dale, A., & Roseland, M. (2018). Climate action co-benefits and integrated community planning: Uncovering the synergies and trade-offs. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 10(4), 1-23. doi:10.18848/1835-7156/CGP/v10i04/1-23.

Newell, R., & Robinson, J. (2018). Using decomposition methodology to gain a better understanding of progress in and challenges facing regional and local climate action. Journal of Cleaner Production, 197(1), 1423-1434. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.06.265