Meet Wendy Sarkissian

Wendy Sarkissian









I was born in the middle of World War II in a freezing mining town in Canada. I grew up in Vancouver and migrated to Australia at age 25.

I have lived all over Australia — in big and small cities, towns, villages and isolated rural areas.

I’ve also lived in Toronto, Vancouver, London, South Africa, California and Connecticut, not in that order.

I’ve studied and taught at universities in Canada, the USA and Australia.

My first book

My first book was co-authored with my mentor, Professor Emerita, Clare Cooper Marcus. Beginning in 1978, we wrote it in her dining room in Berkeley, nurtured by cups of tea, surrounded by cats and inspired and distracted by her two small children.

We poured our passion for housing design into our baby, Housing as if People Mattered: Illustrated Site-Design Guidelines for Medium-Density Family Housing (University of California, 1986). To our delight, it is still in print.

Later, I co-authored the Community Participation in Practice suite published by Murdoch University (1994 to 2003). (You can do a lot of writing when you are avoiding writing your dissertation!)

In 2009 and 2010, I decided to write down my adventures as a community planner so I co-authored three books for Earthscan in their community planning series:

  1. Creative Community Engagement: Transformative Engagement Methods for Working at the Edge.
  2. Kitchen Table Sustainability: Practical Recipes for Community Engagement with Sustainability.
  3. SpeakOut: The Step-by-Step Guide to SpeakOuts and Community Workshops.

To read about those three books, click here:

Creative Community Planning Australia

Kitchen Table Sustainability Australia_web

SpeakOut Australia

In between, I qualified as a town planner, managed a social planning consulting business for over 30 years, worked occasionally as an academic, earned a doctorate in environmental ethics.

Recently, I built a house in an eco-village in Nimbin, northern New South Wales, Australia, with my husband, Karl Langheinrich.

I still work as a community planner and recently became a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia.

Into the Green Heart is my first memoir.

Wendy Sarkissian

Nimbin, New South Wales, 27 August 2012

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