Julie Goodness

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Julie Goodness is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Global Risk Governance programme’s Art of Resilience project. She is interested in the dynamics of urban social-ecological systems, with applications to management and governance for sustainability.

The first portion of Julie's postdoctoral fellowship work examined how security professionals in urban areas utilise the concept of resilience in relation to recovery from climate change events, with a focus on Hurricane Harvey (2017) in Houston, Texas, USA. She also analysed how multi-nodal governance responses, such as those observed during Harvey, can provide resilience and functional redundancy in response to disaster events.

Julie is currently exploring how one of the most recent high-profile global Anthropocene shocks affecting us all—the Covid-19 pandemic—has impacted South Africa, in terms of knock-on effects on food security in Cape Town, and the network of grassroots and other initiatives that have emerged to enact greater resilience within the food system.

Julie holds a PhD in Sustainability Science from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, where she explored how urban residents’ selection of plant traits shape city ecosystems. She also holds an MESc from Yale University’s School of the Environment, and a dual B.A. in Biology as well as English and American Literature from New York University.

Prior to joining UCT, Julie was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Belmont Forum project, Understanding Innovative Initiatives for Governing Food, Water and Energy Nexus (IFWEN) in Cities. In partnership with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), she explored IFWEN initiatives across 8 global south cities, and the enabling environments and capabilities required to foster these projects.

In her other work, she has served as a project manager, editor, and author of the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO), the first global assessment of the links between urbanization, biodiversity, and ecosystem services; this produced open-access materials for academia as well as for practitioners. Julie has also been a Fulbright Scholar in Cape Town, South Africa, investigating biodiversity management policy, how it is put into practice and applications for future management best practices both in Cape Town and other global cities. She is also founder and facilitator of Youth Design Studio: Creating for Communities, a sustainable design class for high school students in Cape Town, South Africa, that teaches students to design and create a project for their community. Youth Design Studio was an official project of the 2014 Cape Town World Design Capital. Julie is an avid explorer of urban environments across the globe.

Recent Publications:


Elmqvist, T., Fragkias, M., Goodness, J., Güneralp, B., Marcotullio, P.J., McDonald, R.I. Parnell, S., Schewenius, M., Sendstad, M., Seto, K.C., Wilkinson, C. (Eds.). 2013. Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer, Dordrecht.

Journal Articles:

Anderson, P.M.L., Charles-Dominique, T., Ernstson, H., Andersson, E., Goodness, J., Elmqvist, T. 2020. Post-apartheid ecologies in the City of Cape Town: an examination of plant functional traits in relation to urban gradients. Landscape and Urban Planning. 193: 1-10.

O’Farrell, P., Anderson, P.M.L., Culwick, C., Curie, P., Kavonic, J., McClure, A., Ngenda, G., Sinnott, E., Sitas, N., Washbourne, C.L., Audouin, M., Blanchard, R., Egoh, B., Goodness, J., Kotzee, I., Sanya, T., Stafford, W., Wong, G. 2020. Towards resilient African cities: Shared challenges and opportunities towards the retention and maintenance of ecological infrastructure. Global Sustainability. 2: 1-6.

Goodness, J. 2018. Urban landscaping choices and people’s selection of plant traits in Cape Town, South Africa. Environmental Science and Policy, 85: 182-192.

Elmqvist, T., Siri, J., Andersson, E., Anderson, P., Bai, X., Gatere, T., Gonzales, A., Goodness, J., Hermansson Török, E., Kavonic, J., Kronenberg, J., Lindgren, E., Maddox, D., Maher, R., Mbow, C., McPhearson, T., Mulligan, J., Nordenson, G., Spires, M., Stenkula, U., Takeuchi, K., Vogel, C., 2018. Urban Tinkering. Sustainability Science. 1-16.

Haider, L.J., Hentati-Sundberg, J., Giusti, M., Goodness, J., Hamann, M., Masterson, V.A., Meacham, M., Merrie, A., Ospina- Medina, D., Schill, C., Sinare, H., 2018. The undisciplinarity journey: early-career perspectives in sustainability science. Sustainability Science. 13: 191-204. 

van der Jagt, A.P., Szaraz, L.R., Delshammar, T., Cvejić, R., Santos, A., Goodness, J., Buijs, A., 2017. Cultivating nature-based solutions: The governance of communal urban gardens in the European Union. Environmental Research. 159: 264-275. 

Goodness, J., Andersson, E., Anderson, P.M.L, Elmqvist, T. 2016. Exploring the links between functional traits and cultural ecosystem services to enhance urban ecosystem management. Ecological Indicators. 70: 597-605.