Associate Professor Melody Smith-nee Oliver

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Associate Head - Research


Aspirations for neighbourhoods where children can be independently mobile, where people can get around safely by walking and cycling, and where social and physical well-being is prioritised and facilitated are key drivers of my research. Most of this work involves the integration of objective measurement of behaviours and outcomes (e.g., accelerometry, inclinometry, GPS, GIS), as well as person-centred methods (participatory planning, online mapping).

I am fortunate to work with amazing researchers and students across a range of exciting and innovative projects that contribute to understanding the links between built and social environments and health and well-being in children and their families. 

Research | Current

Neighbourhoods for Active Kids:

Te Ara Mua - Future Streets for Auckland;

Kids in the City:

Enabling Participation for Disabled Children and Young People:

Postgraduate supervision

Associations between Environmental Attributes and Children’s Active Travel to School. Erika Ikeda, PhD student

Public Open Space attributes: Children’s independent mobility experience in urban neighbourhoods in Auckland, New Zealand. Moushumi Chaudhury, PhD student

Neighbourhood built environments and the body size of children. Victoria Egli, PhD student

Health literacy among Pacific mothers in New Zealand: Exploring the associations of demographic and behavioural factors with health literacy of Pacific mothers in the context of Pacific health and well-being. Losi Sa'u Lilo, Masters thesis.



Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Ikeda, E., Hinckson, E., Witten, K., & Smith, M. (2018). Associations of children's active school travel with perceptions of the physical environment and characteristics of the social environment: A systematic review. Health & place, 54, 118-131. 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.09.009
  • Mavoa, S., Lamb, K., O'Sullivan D, Witten, K., & Smith, M. (2018). Are disadvantaged children more likely to be excluded from analysis when applying global positioning systems inclusion criteria?. BMC research notes, 11 (1)10.1186/s13104-018-3681-2
  • Spencer, G., Smith, M., Thompson, J., Fairbrother, H., Hoare, K., Fouché C, & Curtis, P. (2018). Health experiences of children and young people who migrate – Opportunities for health education. Health Education Journal, 001789691878676-001789691878676. 10.1177/0017896918786767
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christa Fouche
  • Macmillan, A. K., Mackie, H., Hosking, J. E., Witten, K., Smith, M., Field, A., ... van der Werf, B. (2018). Controlled before-after intervention study of suburb-wide street changes to increase walking and cycling: Te Ara Mua-Future Streets study design. BMC public health, 18 (1)10.1186/s12889-018-5758-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jamie Hosking, Alistair Woodward
  • Ikeda, E., Mavoa, S., Hinckson, E., Witten, K., Donnellan, N., & Smith, M. (2018). Differences in child-drawn and GIS-modelled routes to school: Impact on space and exposure to the built environment in Auckland, New Zealand. Journal of Transport Geography, 71, 103-115. 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2018.07.005
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Niamh Donnellan
  • Carroll, P., Witten, K., Calder-Dawe, O., Smith, M., Kearns, R., Asiasiga, L., ... Mavoa, S. (2018). Enabling participation for disabled young people: study protocol. BMC public health, 18 (1)10.1186/s12889-018-5652-x
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robin Kearns, Octavia Calder-Dawe
  • Kyttä M, Oliver, M., Ikeda, E., Ahmadi, E., Omiya, I., & Laatikainen, T. (2018). Children as urbanites: mapping the affordances and behavior settings of urban environments for Finnish and Japanese children. Children's Geographies, 16 (3), 319-332. 10.1080/14733285.2018.1453923
  • Egli, V., Zinn, C., Mackay, L., Donnellan, N., Villanueva, K., Mavoa, S., ... Smith, M. (2018). Viewing obesogenic advertising in children's neighbourhoods using Google Street View. Geographical Research10.1111/1745-5871.12291
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Niamh Donnellan, Daniel Exeter, Stefanie Vandevijvere


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 505 - Bldg 505
Level 2, Room 235A
New Zealand

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