Associate Professor Nicole Kalms

Associate Professor Nicole Kalms

Associate Professor Nicole Kalms

Associate Dean, Research
Director, XYX Lab (Monash Space Gender Communication Lab)
Asssociate Professor, Spatial Design

Department of Design

Monash University Research Portal

Graduate research supervisor

Nicole Kalms is the Associate Dean (Research), an Associate Professor in the Department of Design and founding director of the Monash University XYX Lab which leads national and international research in Gender and Place. In this role, Dr Kalms is leading two significant research projects Urban Exposure: Interactively Mapping the Systems of Sexual Violence in Cites and Women and Girls Only: Understanding the Spaces of Sexual Harassment in Public Transport. These projects are in partnership with state, national and international stakeholders.

Nicole has a PhD in Architecture from Monash University. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Architecture from RMIT and practiced architecture for several years before undertaking a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture (RMIT). Nicole is currently a full-time member of Monash University’s Faculty Art, Design and Architecture where she is focused on cross-disciplinary research.

Dr Kalms’ recent contributions include the monograph Hypersexual City: The Provocation of Soft-Core Urbanism (Routledge 2017) examining sexualized representation and precincts in neoliberal cities. Her forthcoming monograph She City: A Design Handbook for Challenging Women’s Inequity in Cities (Bloomsbury) will draw on interdisciplinary research and case studies from gender scholars, design practitioners, and feminist activists to update the significant research on gender and the city.

The innovation of Kalms’ research is the examination of digital, experiential, political and material interventions collated to articulate both the shared and conflicted struggles of women and girls internationally. Her praxis repositions design as a strategic tool for challenging gender inequity.

Other research includes ‘Urban exposure: Feminist crowd-mapping and the new urban imaginary’ in the Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries (2018), ‘I’m Here’: Identity and Obscurity in Locative Safety Technology for Women in Neo-Liberal Cities’ (2017) in the edited book series Critiques, ‘Hypersexual Occupations’ (2015) in the edited book Occupation: Ruin, Repudiation and Revolution and ‘Hypersexual Transgressions’ (2014) published in the Architectural Humanities Research Association’s journal Architecture and Culture.

Dr Kalms regularly writes for a diverse non-academic audience, and is frequently invited to speak to the public about gender, sexuality and urban space at major national and international cultural institutions. Kalms has been interviewed on BBC World TV (2018) and France 24 TV (2019). Kalms was the keynote speaker at the Planning Institute of Australia Congress (2019) and the Autonomy Mobility Summit in Paris (2019).

News & events

Recent news

Upcoming events

Best in Category wins for Monash Design at the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards and a new Chair appointment

Monash Design researchers have taken out two "Best in Category" wins and Associate Professor Leah Heiss has been announced as the incoming Chair of the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards.


Safer Cities

Highlighting alarming levels of harassment and abuse of girls and young women in cities.

Sydney After Dark

Creating a city for women living and working in Sydney.

HyperSext City

Drawing attention to the experiences of women, girls and LGBTQI+ communities by presenting data and intersectional narratives of gender.

Lighting Cities: Creating Safer Spaces for Women and Girls

Deferring to more lights and brighter cities does not create safer spaces for women and girls. Lighting design is vital for gender-sensitive cities.

TramLab Toolkits

Improving the safety of women and girls on public transport.

Merri Creek, Coburg Safety Audit

Women’s Safety Audits: A transformative approach to safety in the city.

Contentious Cities: Design and the Gendered Production of Space

Unique interdisciplinary approaches to understanding gendered spatial equity in the urban environment.


Making recreational areas safe for women, girls and gender-diverse people.

Keep Running

Keep Running is a call to action for communities to develop an understanding of safety and risk in our city and an opportunity for audiences to consider their own lived experience and/or to develop understanding and empathy.

Greater Cities Commission: Women’s Safety Charter Workshop

The Commission engaged the Monash University XYX Lab to deliver an impact workshop as part of the June 2022 Community of Practice.

HyperSext City 2

Re-designed to amplify the experiences of women*, girls and LGBTQI+ communities through new mediums revealing existing data sources globally and locally to spectacular effect both inside the gallery and on the streets of Fremantle.

Free to Be: Design Thinking Workshop

Prioritising thinking through concepts that could have real world impacts for women and girls.

Preventing Sexual Harassment in Australian Public Transport Spaces

Uncovering how the safety of women and girls is challenged in public transport spaces.

The Victorian Pride Centre

Celebrating, bolstering and protecting equality, diversity and inclusion.

Safe Access to Reproductive Health Care in Australia

Formulating proposals for changes in law and policy at both the federal level and State level to remove barriers to access.

Just So F***ing Beautiful

Telling a story of female harassment in a public space – a new work for the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale: European Cultural Centre.

Gender Equality Map

Providing a new picture of gender equality in Victoria to inform policy and urban design changes.

The SHEcity Exhibition

Bringing together experts to reimagine and redesign how our city could be more inclusive for women and girls.

Gender Equity in Landscape Architecture

The participation of women in Australian landscape architecture, mapping and strategies.

Moreland City Council Workshop

Using gender-sensitive design thinking to support of Moreland City’s future growth.

Built Upon By Design Symposium

A three-day intensive symposium to engage with issues of gendered spatial equity in the urban environment.

Perceptions of Safety – pilot project

Another approach for improving safety for women and girls.


A collaborative work proposed for the 2021 NGV commission competition.

Girl Walk: Identity, Crowd-mapping and Safety in the City for Women and Girls

Creating a culturally vibrant city that is inclusive for women and girls.