Anitra  Nelson Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Anitra Nelson

Associate Professor, Honorary Research Fellow
Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

Anitra Nelson is an activist-scholar. Her academic work focuses on interdisciplinary social sciences and spans a range of topics: the concept of money and non-monetary futures, degrowth and eco-collaborative housing, environmental justice, sustainability citizenship, affordable and sustainable housing, film-making and cinema, Australian and Latin American studies, ecosocialism and non-market socialism. A creative non-fiction writer, Anitra has made a prize-winning short film, and play.


Anitra Nelson is an activist-scholar. She completed her PhD on Karl Marx's concept of money and continues that interest in non-market ecosocialist arguments for, and visions of, non-monetary futures, as in a book co-edited with the late Frans Timmerman — Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies (2011, translated and published in Korean 2014). Much of her work on community-based environmental sustainability has involved eco-collaborative and affordable housing as in Small is Necessary: Shared Living on a Shared Planet (2018) on the necessity for simple living in small spaces and sharing facilities and amenities and Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities. Her prizewinning short film Mercury Stole my Fire (2005) reports on a personal experience of environmental injustice and disability. Her Marxian studies have also resulted in a creative non-fiction play on Marx — Servant of the Revolution has enjoyed two seasons in Australia.


    PhD, School of Humanities, La Trobe University, 1996
    BA (First Class) Honours, History Department, La Trobe Uni.
    Adv. Dip. of Prof. Screenwriting (Film, TV, Dig. Med.) RMIT

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Marxian and non-market socialist concepts of money
    community-based and sustainable natural resource management
    affordable, environmentally sustainable and community-based housing
    environmental justice
    urban studies
    sustainable futures

Personal Interests

    Reading and writing
    Watching and making films
    Community gardening



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Housing for Degrowth - Nelson & Schneider - 1st Edition book cover


Capitalism Nature Socialism

Money: Top-down and bottom-up

Published: Mar 25, 2019 by Capitalism Nature Socialism
Authors: Anitra Nelson
Subjects: Political Science, Economics, Finance, Business & Industry, Art & Visual Culture

A review essay of Money: 5000 years of Debt and Power by Michel Aglietta, with Pepita Ould Ahmed and Jean-François Ponsot, Verso, 2018, and Art after Money, Money after Art: Creative Strategies against Financialization by Max Haven, Pluto, 2018, approach the concept and practice of money in distinctive ways, the first top-down, the second, bottom-up.

Capitalism Nature Socialism 27 (4): 40–60.

‘Your money or your life’: Money and Socialist Transformation

Published: Sep 12, 2018 by Capitalism Nature Socialism 27 (4): 40–60.
Authors: Anitra Nelson
Subjects: Economics, Finance, Business & Industry

Against popular logic that money is a neutral tool, a nonmarket ecosocialist position is offered. Marx indicated that post-capitalism went beyond money (exchange value). Money is a code of conduct reproducing inequity, competition, distrust and alienation. Capitalists and capitalism cannot exist without money. Fair non-monetary livelihoods critique capital and indicate alternative socialist forms. Contemporary anti-capitalists move beyond money and capitalism in ‘green materialism’.

Capitalism Nature Socialism 25(3), 111–116

Frans Timmerman, 1947–2014.

Published: Sep 09, 2014 by Capitalism Nature Socialism 25(3), 111–116
Authors: Nelson, Anitra
Subjects: Environment and Sustainability

An obituary for Australian social and environmental activist, Frans Timmerman (1947–2014), co-editor of Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies.

Disability & Society 28(4), 471–85.

Disability and mortgage default: An Australian study

Published: Oct 05, 2013 by Disability & Society 28(4), 471–85.
Authors: Nelson A, Berry M & Dalton T
Subjects: Built Environment, Sociology & Social Policy, Health and Social Care

This study of mortgage default in Australia revealed evidence of special difficulties for households coping with a member with a disability (an enduring illness, impediment or injury limiting everyday activities) whose strategies to address financial difficulties were fewer and less attractive than for other mortgagors. Australians have a strong home-ownership culture, an affordability crisis across tenures for low-income households, debated disability welfare services and housing policy gaps.

New Writing 9(3), 396–407

Productive creative writers’ relationships: A communities-of-practice framework

Published: Nov 09, 2012 by New Writing 9(3), 396–407
Authors: Nelson, Anitra and Cole, Catherine
Subjects: Education, Literature, Communication Studies

Referring to Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris (2011), the experiences of two Australian writers and the Australian Seven Writers’ community of practice, we investigate the significance of writers’ literary relationships in developing writing skills and work. Professional ‘communities of practice’ offer working environments with the potential to inform both creative writing learning and arts policy-making.

 Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research Volume 13, Issue 2, 2007

Remembering Stephen Randall Niblo (1941–2008)

Published: Jun 11, 2007 by Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research Volume 13, Issue 2, 2007
Authors: Nelson, Anitra
Subjects: History, Anthropology - Soc Sci, Area Studies

Today I feel like the boy featured at the start of Crazy February: Death and Life in the Mayan Highlands of Mexico by US anthropologist Carter Wilson. My copy is the 1974 University of California paperback edition and falling apart. This boy is the perpetrator and victim of his own circumstance. He has a man, who we find out he has killed, strapped to his back and he is on a journey to a town where justice will be dealt. Why do I feel like this boy?

Australian Geographer 35(3), 301–15

Effective community engagement for sustainability: Wombat community forest ...

Published: Oct 09, 2004 by Australian Geographer 35(3), 301–15
Authors: Effective community engagement for sustainability: Wombat community forest management case study
Subjects: Geography , Environment and Sustainability

The first Australian government sponsored community‐based forest management project began in Central Victoria (2002). This analysis of the initial stage of the Wombat Community Forest Management Pilot Project develops and characterises the concept of an ‘effective community’ for structuring engagement in these kinds of natural resource management projects, offers advice for organising such engagement, and makes 12 recommendations for governments developing similar initiatives.

 Australasian Journal of Environmental Management 11(2)

An Intra Network Proposal for the Regional Integration of Landcare

Published: Jun 09, 2004 by Australasian Journal of Environmental Management 11(2)
Authors: Nelson, Anitra
Subjects: Web, Environment and Agriculture

Online forums and geospatial planning support systems for community-based natural resource management are increasing. Interlocking regional intranet websites could address challenges of integrating catchment-wide objectives and strategies with grassroots Landcare activities. Such a network would facilitate sharing of ecological and social information, enhance communication between stakeholders and enable more genuine joint decision-making to support sustainable practices.

Journal of Spatial Science 49(1), 61–70.

Developing an interactive web-based public participatory planning support system

Published: May 09, 2004 by Journal of Spatial Science 49(1), 61–70.
Authors: Pettit CJ and Nelson A
Subjects: Information Science, Communication Studies, Environment and Sustainability

A framework for delivering on‐line resources to assist community participation and democratising of land management decision‐making is offered. Development of an interactive web-based public participatory planning support system for the first stage (May to Dec. 2002) of the Wombat Community Forest Management Pilot project, Victoria (Australia) is analysed. The site records activities undertaken and is a vehicle for group discussion and feedback, document exploration and interactive mapping.

Capitalism Nature Socialism 24 (3): 254-257

Capitalism: Of, With, In, By and For Debt

Published: Sep 13, 2003 by Capitalism Nature Socialism 24 (3): 254-257
Authors: Nelson, Anitra
Subjects: Economics, Finance, Business & Industry, Anthropology - Soc Sci

Review of David Graeber's book Debt: The First 5000 years



Food for Degrowth out now!

By: Anitra Nelson
Subjects: Economics, Finance, Business & Industry, Environment and Agriculture , Environment and Sustainability, Health and Social Care, Other

Released at the very end of 2020, Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices follows along the lines of Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities (2018) both in Routledge Environmental Humanities series. I co-edited both collections, the latest with Ferne Edwards, also an Australian, but based in Norway (NTNU).

Most of the contributors to these international collections are 'activist-scholars' with practical experience on the ground of growing and distributing food with degrowth criteria in mind. They offer both insightful critiques and reimagine forms of food for degrowth that can be applied in future.

To keep up with all the events and associated blog posts that we co-editors and contributors will contribute to in 2021, please refer to this page:

Housing for Degrowth informs EU Parliament and Europe more generally

By: Anitra Nelson
Subjects: Built Environment, Environment and Sustainability, Urban Planning

Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities

(Routledge Environmental Humanities series)

Co-editors present at introductory seminar to the EU Parliament Post-Growth 2018 Conference mid-September 2018.

Events in European tour of book available here:

Affordable housing, better urban planning for and by residents, and environmentally sustainable housing are in the headlines. Our new collection (released 3 August 2018) breaks new ground by applying interdisciplinary principles of ‘degrowth’ to policies and practices of housing and urban planning.

Degrowth is a political, practical and cultural movement for downscaling and transforming society beyond capitalist growth and non-capitalist productivism to achieve global sustainability and satisfy everyone’s basic needs.
Housing for Degrowth responds to key challenges in urban and environmental sustainability, and social justice, by adopting the lens of degrowth.

The book is co-edited by activist-scholars Anitra Nelson (Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia) and François Schneider (Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona) who initiated Research & Degrowth, degrowth conferences and has established a degrowth residential project in Cerbère (South France).

Twenty-five contributors present a range of cases and models from various countries and continents — Italy, Norway, Vanuatu, India, Austria, Spain, England, Germany, USA, Sweden, Australia, Wales and Denmark.

A ‘narrative’ method frames interdisciplinary and disciplinary contributions from distinct cultures to show how housing for degrowth principles of sufficiency and conviviality — living a ‘one planet lifestyle’ with a common ecological footprint — apply in practice.

Sustainability Citizenship in Cities: Review

By: Anitra Nelson

Nicole Cook (University of Wollongong, Geography and Sustainable Communities) has favourably reviewed Sustainability Citizenship in Cities: Theory and Practice for Urban Policy and Research (2017) —