Professor Lex Brown was born and educated in Australia. His initial qualifications were a degree in civil engineering and a masters in urban and regional planning, and he was awarded a PhD in the field of environmental acoustics in 1979. His academic interests lie in tools that interface between the environmental scientist and the planning and design professions through environmental assessments of projects, policies and plans, and in this he has worked extensively in both developed and developing countries.
He is a member of several professional associations including the Australian Acoustical Society, the Planning Institute of Australia, the Environment Institute of Australia and the International Association of Impact Assessment.
He joined Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia in 1980 and was appointed Head of the Australian School of Environmental Studies (1989 – 1994) and then Foundation Head of the School of Environmental Planning, innovatively training urban and regional planners within an environmental faculty. As Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences (2003- 2006), his responsibilities included the strategic development of research and the quality of teaching and learning. His Faculty consisted of three schools, nine research centres and other academic units with over 100 faculty and research staff.
He is currently Professor of Environmental Planning at Griffith University. His research and teaching have covered such areas as transport planning, human response to environmental pollutants, environmental acoustics, land use planning, international development planning, and environmental impact assessment – and more recently, the emerging field of soundscape. In the latter field he has been active within the European COST Action on Soundscapes and an ISO Working Group on Soundscape (where he and I met). He is a Board member of the International Commission on the Biological Effects of Noise and was co-editor of the World Health Organisation publication on the Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise.
He has authored over a hundred research publications from his research activities. His work has transcended traditional academic boundaries and he has been a dynamic proponent at the cutting edge of the science. He has previously described himself as an “environmental planner”, neither an environmental scientist, nor a conventional planner, but always working at the interface in the environmental field between the biophysical and social sciences and planning.
He has been consultant or adviser to a wide range of international organisations including – to name but a few: the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme, the European Union, and UNESCO - and he has worked for governments in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Southern Africa (including: Australia, Hong Kong, Bhutan, China, Pakistan, The Netherlands, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea), as well as numerous private organizations.
He has been Editor (Asia Pacific) of the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management for over a decade and he sits on the editorial board of numerous other prestigious international journals. Reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of his expertise, he is a reviewer for over 23 different international journals.
He has served as visiting Professor to Tongi University, Shanghai; he has been a European Union Erasmus Mundus Scholar at the University of the Aegean in Greece, and he has held visiting professorships at Bodenkultur University in Vienna, The University of Cape Town in South Africa, and at the ISVR, University of Southampton. He serves on the International Advisory Committee in the Centre for Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
He has numerous Awards that recognize his academic work and professional activities including an Australian national Excellence in Acoustics Award, and an Australian Award for Excellence in Planning.