10 // Dan Ferguson

Giving Active Recreation a Sporting Chance: A comparative analysis of public infrastructure and physical activity

Swinburne University of Technology

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As a public servant turned consultant, and now as an academic researcher, Dan Ferguson has been lucky enough to combine his education in sport science and urban planning to forge a decade long career within the government sector. Having worked in private consulting, two Victorian Councils, Victorian State Government, and a YMCA managed aquatic centre, he has a unique combination of experience in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. During this time he established a firm belief in #CollaborationOverCompetition. That’s why he founded the boutique planning consultancy theCommunityCollaborative: to act as a vehicle to harness the collective power of industry – mainly servicing local government clients.

Dan is a keen supporter of industry and the broader sport and community sector. He is currently the Executive Officer of industry association Parks and Leisure Australia (Vic/Tas), as well as a member on the partnerships committee of the Australian Society for Physical Activity (ASPA). He has previously held the role of chairperson of the SouthPort Community Centre and has been involved in various other community organisations.

Dan has worked across diverse areas including sport, social development, and public health. However, the majority of his career has focused on creating healthy communities through the built environment – from negotiating multi-million-dollar stadium upgrade contracts on behalf of the State government, to planning where footpaths should go in a local park. This has led to Dan embarking on the PhD journey within Swinburne University’s Sport Innovation Research Group with a research focus on the provision of public infrastructure that supports physical activity.

This episode of The Knowledge Mill was recorded on December 1, 2023 on the campus of the University of Canberra during the 29th Annual SMAANZ Conference.

Show Notes

Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ)

Swinburne University of Technology

Sport Innovation Research Group


Chelsey Taylor

Professor Adam Karg

Deakin University

Parks & Leisure Australia

System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC)

Australian Football League (AFL)

Cricket Australia

Golf Australia

Monash University

Australian and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies (ANZALS)

World Leisure Congress

International Society for Physical Activity and Health

European Association for Sport Management (EASM)

2XU Triathlon Series


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The Knowledge Mill is a podcast about PhD researchers and their work. Each episode features a longform conversation with a PhD candidate, with a focus on how they found themselves doing a PhD and the research they’re undertaking.

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