Helen Barrie

Dr Helen Barrie

Deputy Director & University Research Fellow

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts

My research investigates Australia’s changing population and the implications of this for society and communities. Much of this work involves an examination of population diversity; the interaction between people and the built environment; community connectedness, and social networks.

My most recent work explores how the built environment, especially green and public spaces, influence ageing well. This includes exploring housing choices such as retirement village living, vertical communities, inner city ageing and international comparisons of age friendly cities. My research often includes using innovative approaches such as citizen science, GIS, ‘go-along’ interviews or photovoice.

I welcome inquiries from Masters and PhD candidates interested in: Ageing populations, The Built Environment, Social networks and/or community connectedness, Qualitative methodologies, Social Policy, and Migration and mobilities

My current projects include:

Green spaces, public spaces and ageing well: a co-design pilot study

Outdoor and indoor environments have major impacts on older people’s mobility, independence and quality of life. Design and delivery of quality public spaces that promote health and wellbeing, social engagement with others and engagement with the environment is a key challenge for all in our rapidly growing, and increasingly population-dense cities.

  • Interdisciplinary project with Professor Veronica Soebarto from Architecture
  • Uses an innovative citizen science approach to audit the neighbourhoods and lived spaces of older South Australians
  • Is the basis of a larger grant application for 2019

Inner City Ageing: A longitudinal study of an innovative mixed use high rise ‘village’

By 2030 two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, and in many of these cities, at least a quarter of those urban populations will be aged 60+. New city and city fringe age specific housing, such as the Uniting Communities development in Franklin Street, means we need to think about a new use for urban spaces. We need to imagine how the built environment can become a public resource, a social opportunity, and an enabler of ageing well.

  • Interdisciplinary project with Professor Veronica Soebarto from Architecture and Uniting Communities and their new Franklin Street UC building.
  • Follows the building, the residents and the changing neighbourhood through the development phase and the first five years

Addressing Social Isolation using a Men’s Sheds Model: an international comparison

Men’s Sheds uniquely combine opportunities for increasing social networks and creating a sense of community and belonging, while providing links to health and wellbeing information and services. Men’s Sheds have worked very successfully in Australia; the program has successfully rolled out to the UK and Ireland and now the USA is in the early stages of development in the Men’s Sheds movement.

  • This offers a unique opportunity to follow and measure the impact of Men’s Sheds on social isolation as an international comparative study.
  • The project will develop a conceptual framework for the establishment of this model with a specific focus on alleviating social isolation and improving health outcomes in any adult population group.

Groundtruthing Age Friendly Cities using  Citizen Science

What cities and neighbourhoods are really age friendly and what does it truly mean to be age friendly from an older person’s perspective?  This project has a long term, stepped approach through multiple projects towards a global comparative study that ‘ground-truths’ or ‘audits’ age friendly cities and communities using a citizen science model of data collection. This uses an innovative methodological approach that takes the older person’s perspective of their neighbourhood and how age friendly it is; auditing (measuring and reviewing) attributes of their personal neighbourhood or life spaces using the Age Friendly Cities guidelines.

Date Project Number/ Name Investigators Funding Body Amount
2019-22 Designing Indigenous aged care with a ‘whole of community’ perspective Professor Alex Brown, Prof Annette Baraunack-Mayer, Dr Carol Davy & Dr Helen Barrie NHMRC TRC (GNT1170496) $741,947
2019-20 Creating Rainbow Friendly Aged Care Services Dr Helen Barrie Office for Ageing Well $15,000
2019-20 Co-designing an audit tool for Age Friendly Cities Dr Helen Barrie Office for Ageing Well $25,000
2018 - 2019 Retired not Expired Dr Helen Barrie Dr Helen Barrie $30,000
2018 - 2019 Social, ethical and economic considerations of smart technologies for ageing well Dr Helen BarrieDr Teresa Burgess, Prof Annette Braunack-Mayer, Prof Jacquie Street, Dr Christoph Truede, Dr Andreas Cebulla Office for the Ageing $20,000
2018 - 2019 Green Spaces, public spaces and ageing well

Dr Helen Barrie, Prof Veronica Soebarto, Mr Jarrod Lange

Office for the Ageing $25,000
2018 An overview of South Australia’s Multicultural Communities

Dr Helen Barrie, Prof Chris Leishman, Dr Romy Wasserman, Mr Jarrod Lange

Multicultural SA $30,000
2017 - 2019 Culturally Safe Workforce Models for Rural and Remote Indigenous Organisations

Prof Alex Brown (SAHMRI), Prof Annette Braunack-Mayer, Dr Carol Davy, Dr Helen Barrie

Department of Health (Dementia and Aged Care Grants) $1,200,000
2017 - 2019 Social and Built Environment Influences on Ageing Well’ Dr Helen Barrie University of Adelaide Fellowship $380,000
2016 - 2017 The Built Environment and Ageing Well

Professor Veronica Soebarto (Architecture), Prof Renuka Visvanathan, Dr Helen Barrie et al

University Interdisciplinary Research Fund $41,500
2016 - 2017 Census of Retirement Villages in SA Dr Helen BarrieDr Kelly McDougall Office for the Ageing $12,500
2016 A Blueprint for a Good Regional Migrant Settlement Experience Dr Helen Barrie, Dr Kelly McDougall, Dr Romy Wasserman Scanlon Foundation $25,000
2015 - 2020 Trans-disciplinary Research on Frailty

Prof Renuka Visvanathan (Medicine) et al, Dr Helen Barrie CI-H

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence $2,500,000
2015 - 2019 Pathways to Employment and Education for Refugee Youth

Prof Tahereh Ziaian (UNISA) et al, Dr Helen Barrie - CI

ARC LP $165,000


  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Principal Supervisor Responses to Dock-less Bicycle and Scooter Sharing Programs in Australian Cities Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Justin-Free McCulloch
    2018 Co-Supervisor The Impacts of Natural Disasters on Fertility Intentions and Outcomes in Bangladesh Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Khandaker Jafor Ahmed
    2016 Co-Supervisor Physical Activity and Frailty: Exploring Cross Cultural and Neighborhood Influences Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Dr Beatriz Arakawa Martins
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2020 Co-Supervisor BIG AND SMALL CITY PREFERENCES OF MIGRANT WORKERS IN CHINA: CASE STUDIES OF BEIJING AND JINZHOU Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Biqing Li
    2015 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Contemporary Irish Migration to Australia: Pathways to Permanence Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Fidelma Breen
    2015 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Ageing in a Foreign Land: Experiences of European-Born Post War Migrants to Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Constance Michelle Kourbelis
    2014 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Great Expectations: Australian Baby Boomer Women, Policy and Older Labour Force Participation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Judith Andrea Lewis
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2013 - ongoing Board Member AAG Australian Association of Gerontology Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - 2017 President National Board Australian Association of Gerontology Australia
    2016 - ongoing Board Member National Collaborative Team International Longevity Centre- AUS Australia
    2012 - 2015 Representative National Board Australian Association of Gerontology Australia
    2006 - 2014 Representative Global Executive Committee International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics Australia
    2006 - 2011 Representative National Board Australian Association of Gerontology Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2018 - ongoing Member Royal Geographical Society United Kingdom
    2005 - ongoing Member Australian Association of Gerontology Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2018 - 2018 Editor MDIP (Healthcare) MDIP Switzerland
    2016 - 2018 Board Member Australasian Journal on Ageing Wiley Australia
  • Position: Deputy Director & University Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83133560
  • Email: helen.barrie@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 4
  • Room: 4 24
  • Org Unit: Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research

Connect With Me
External Profiles

Other Links