Growing up in Neerim East, a town without any shops and the closest major supermarket 30-minutes away, Merrick has experienced the other end of the urban-rural continuum (although, to be sure, there are far more regional areas in Australia to experience!). Despite this, he and his family would have a close connection to Melbourne as his relatives—including 18 cousins, and counting—are dotted along the south-eastern suburbs. The car trips would create transects through the country-metropolis which Merrick found utterly interesting: who are these people; why do they live these different ways?
People, space, and power sit at the top of Merrick's academic interests. He has been awarded a Bachelors of Environments (Architecture Major) and Masters of Urban Planning (Dean's honours recipient)—both at the University of Melbourne—and this training goes some way to describe how he approaches his research. Cities must be understood at a variety of spatio-temporal scales to combat current issues of climate change, urbanisation, globalisation, growing inequality, and social segregation.
Merrick was awarded the Resilient Communities PhD Scholarship in 2020 which is associated with both the University of Melbourne and the City of Melbourne Climate Change and Resilience team (formerly Resilient Melbourne). This scholarship enables Merrick to sit at the practice-research nexus and he would encourage other institutions to develop partnerships within their cities.
Other academic ventures include research assistance for the ARC Discovery Project 'Temporary and Tactical Urbanism' with Associate Professor Quentin Stevens and Professor Kim Dovey. This has focused on the design, use, management, governance, and politics of parklets in metropolitan Melbourne, including considerations for their long-term future. Aside from this, Merrick is a sessional tutor in urban design and planning.