Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE)

Improving sanitation, mitigating flooding, and improving dwelling and open space provision for informal settlements.

“If we want to affect structural change, we have to go to the big picture, structural decision makers and deal with it that way. This trickle down and trickle up is very, very difficult. The RISE project is ultimately interested in this, developing a proof of concept that will ultimately redirect large international development investments into alternative solutions, and that is why we have a large piece of accompanying research that is looking at policy, scalability and replicability.” – Professor Diego Ramírez-Lovering

RISE is a five-year action research program that adopts an integrated approach to water-sensitive revitalisation of informal settlements and investigates its environmental and human health impacts. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Asian Development Bank, the program’s primary goals are to improve sanitation, mitigate flooding and improve dwelling and open space provision. Beyond health research and assessment, the program  includes the development of a series of integrated urban design interventions for two pilot sites and 24 informal settlements in the cities of Makassar (Indonesia) and Suva (Fiji), based on a design philosophy of community engagement, multi-functionality, and adaptability. The solutions are co-developed with communities through an extensive process of co-design and engagement with work from a diverse interdisciplinary team, which includes experts from engineering, ecology, hydrology, architecture, landscape architecture and community engagement. The design interventions will take place in three rounds. The first round uses the pilot sites as a proof-of-concept to test the effectiveness of the design approach in informal settlement revitalisation. The second includes the development and implementation of interventions in six settlements in each of the cities. In the third, the design process is iterated for the remaining six settlements in each city.

For more information about the project, visit

Senior Researchers
Prof Diego Ramírez-Lovering
Prof Mohamed El-Sioufi
Dr Michaela F. Prescott
Dr Meredith Dobbie

Junior Researchers / PhD candidates
Brendan Josey
Dasha Spasojevic
Erich Wolff
Mahsa Mesgar

Technical Staff
Amalie Wright
Anna Leersnyder

Prof Tony Wong
Kerrie Burge
Dr Peter Breen
Dr Christian Urich

Funded by
RISE is part of the prestigious Wellcome Trust’s ‘Our Planet Our Health’ funding program, with support from the Asian Development Bank’s ‘Future Cities’ program.

Partners and collaborating organisations
Led by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, RISE brings together global expertise from five Monash University Faculties (Art, Design and Architecture, Business and Economics, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science), Monash University Malaysia, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, Stanford University, Emory University, The University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge, Fiji National University, Hasanuddin University, The University of the South Pacific, United Nations University, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Oxfam, WaterAid, and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.