Bio (Robert Newell)

Bio Horizontal

Robert Newell


Associate Faculty and Banting Postdoctoral Fellow


Environment and Sustainability


Rob Newell is an instructor and postdoctoral researcher in the School of Environment and Sustainability. Newell has taught courses on sustainable community development and global issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. His research interests include sustainable development, community climate action and participatory planning. Newell’s research involves the use of realistic visualization tools for supporting participatory approaches to community and resource planning. He approaches this research by regarding visualizations as tools that connect and “speak” to people’s sense of place, and thus his research interests also include the topics of sense of place and place attachment. Newell is currently working on a research project entitled, Spaces, Places and Possibilities, which explores the use of systems modelling and visualization techniques to capture and convey potential outcomes of social and physical infrastructure decisions to local government and stakeholders.


Newell has been affiliated with Royal Roads as a sustainable development researcher since 2011, mainly working with the Community Research Connections (CRC) program led by Ann Dale. He has worked on a variety of projects, including community climate action research (the MC3 project), data visualizations, social media research, videos and animations for disseminating research and ideas (HEADTalks), and online platforms for sharing knowledge on sustainable development. Through his doctoral work at the University of Victoria, Newell led the Sidney Spit Visualization project, which involved using video game development software to build a realistic interactive visualization of Sidney Spit Park (Sidney Island, BC) as a tool for participatory planning. Newell’s previous work was in the field of environmental education. He has served as an environmental program developer/coordinator for the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, as a Bear Aware program delivery specialist, and as an interpreter in various parks throughout BC. Newell has also led volunteer projects in conservation and community development in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and part of this work involved running discussion sessions to better engage volunteers in ideas and concepts concerning sustainability.


Newell earned a PhD in Geography from the University of Victoria (2017) and holds a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Royal Roads University. Newell also holds a Master of Arts in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University (2009) and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Statistics from the University of Victoria (2005).