Geography

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MPhil/PhD, or option of joint PhD with HKU/Humboldt/NUS

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Part Time, Full Time

Staff interests associated with the research programme and its research groups

The Cities Group is one of the largest research groupings of urban researchers in the United Kingdom with 11 academic staff members and 25 PhD students and research associates. The international profile of the Cities Group is evident with staff members of the group having held research and teaching positions in universities in Europe, North America, East Asia, Africa, and Australia. This profile is enhanced by a number of PhD projects that include single-city studies in Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Dar es Salaam, Shanghai and Taipei, as well as multi-centred investigations in Belgium, Canada, USA, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan and China.

Research by the Cities Group is focused on different aspects of social, economic, political and cultural change in cities. The group's research is intra-national and inter-national in scope including comparative analyses of major world cities, primarily in Europe, North America, Pacific-Asia and parts of Africa and Latin America. The research of the Cities Group seeks to understand the behaviour and interactions of governance structures, institutions, social groups, and individuals, as expressed in terms of socio-economic formations and physical transformations, across the range of spatial scales from the neighbourhood to the city region. Important elements of this research include: a focus on urbanism and social justice; fear, risk and security in cities; social exclusion; urban sustainability; the social construction and representation of urban issues; migration, housing and social change; urban economic change and social well-being; the cultural geography of economic power; gender and the city; urban public spaces; and the politics of city programmes for the poor.

The scope of research leads to a diversity of epistemological and methodological approaches adopted by members of the Cities Group, with current projects using archival and social survey analysis, ethnography, large-scale statistical data sets, and interpretative studies of film, landscape and written material.

The work of the group is not constrained by a single theoretical perspective on cities, but is characterised by a commitment to the pursuit of high standards of intellectual enquiry into, and multidisciplinary understanding of, urban processes and change. In particular, the group's research is united in its affirmation of space and geography as an integral component in contemporary urban change, while seeking to develop insights that are relevant for an understanding of urban public policy and the politics of sustainable cities.
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Over the last decade the Earth and Environmental Dynamics (EED) Research Group has forged a high-profile, multi-disciplinary approach to geographical science, the intellectual thrust of which links in situ monitoring, remote sensing and simulation modelling to extend our understanding of Earth's hydrological, terrestrial and atmospheric environments and in particular the fluxes of energy, water, carbon, biological and non-biological materials that flow between them.

Research is conducted at multiple spatial scales, from detailed process-based investigations to large-scale regional, continental and even global studies. The group's research is inherently international in scope and impact, and is supported by substantial research funding from a wide range of UK, EU and international sources. The group has two laboratories staffed by dedicated technicians; an Experimental Hydrology and Geomorphology lab primarily used for conducting simulation experiments, and a more analytical laboratory for the characterisation of Earth surface materials and properties. There is also a set of high quality, field-deployable instrumentation such as spectrometers, differential GPS, total stations, weather stations, eddy flux towers, and sensors/data-loggers for examining a wide range of environmental variables and their changes over time and space.

Fieldwork forms an important component of the group's research programme. Recent examples include study of Ecuador's tropical montane rainforests; wildfires and carbon release in Canada; heat emissions from central America's volcanoes; Zambian irrigation schemes; the Tagliamento River in NE Italy, urban climates in Burkina Faso, Poland and North America, and climate and population change in the Sahara.

The group strives to make substantial demonstrable use of their high-impact geographical research in support of decision-making, both in term of assisting policy development and via the provision of 'decision support' tools to those in environmental management. The aim is to strengthen the development and operation of sustainable environmental practices.
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Members of this research group are social scientists interested in research on the environment, politics and the process of development (North and South). Current geographical interests include north, central and south America, west and southern Africa, south, south-east and east Asia, as well as Europe. We have a strong international focus, reflected both in the journals members regularly contribute to and edit, and the range of funded research projects in which they participate.

Members are interested in the following issues and themes: social theory and the environment; development and political ecology; debates surrounding the construction of 'nature'; environmental values and governance; environmental policy and management; 'pro-poor' policies in developing countries; human security and the environment; boundaries and geopolitical frontiers; agri-food policy and rural Europe.
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Bringing together scientific expertise on various environmental hazards, such as floods, volcanoes, and water contamination, with work elsewhere across the department and in the affiliated King's Centre for Risk Management on risk perception and communication and on the governance and social theory of risk, this multidisciplinary research group has made major contributions to the development of risk both as a field of academic study and body of policy-relevant know-how. Our research is focused around three interlinked themes:
  • Natural and Environmental Health Hazards.
  • Risk Regulation and Governance.
  • Risk Perception and Communication.

We are distinctive for our ability to synthesize and span divisions between the natural and social sciences and for applying that know-how beyond Europe and North America to developing countries as well.
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Interests:
Aeolian geomorphology, complex systems; physics of saltation, turbulence in boundary layers, vegetation and aeolian sand transport, development of dune landscapes, self-organization models, aeolian streamers, spatio-temporal variability in transport.
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020 7848 2421
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Interests:
Natural hazards (wildfires, earthquakes, floods, landslides), environmental hazards (heavy-metal contamination), time series analyses, and confronting models with data in the broad environmental sciences.
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020 7848 2466
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Interests:
Health geography; consumption; critical geographies of public health; lifestyles; political economy of food; urban political ecology.
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Critical water resources geography; social networks and environmental management; global approaches to terrorism; South Asia.
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020 7848 1667
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Politics of climate change; environmental history; philosophy of science; social theory; North America.
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020 7848 2622
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Interests:
Historical geography; 19th-century labour protests; public welfare, wealth and the middle class; social exclusion of young people; London.
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020 7848 2721
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Dr Potts works in the broad research field of urbanisation and migration in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly southern Africa. She also works on land and environmental issues in the region in the context of political ecology. Her research on rural-urban migration in sub-Saharan Africa examines migration rates and motivations, rural-urban linkages, urban-rural movements, migrants' land rights and analytical approaches to urban migrancy and migrants within the Africanist literature. In terms of urbanization she is interested in the nature of urban growth, evaluating the ways in which changing economic patterns in most African countries have had profound effects on contemporary urbanization and rates of net in-migration. An important research interest focuses on how structural adjustment policies in most sub-Saharan African countries have affected the livelihoods of the urban poor, as their real incomes have fallen and informalization of the economy has progressed. These two strands of her research have been followed through since 1985 with an ongoing longitudinal research project on rural-urban migrants in Harare, Zimbabwe. She also has a longstanding interest in the nature and provision of low-income housing in African cities. She has recently published two co-edited volumes on development challenges in East and southern Africa, and on African urban economies and in 2010 will publish a new book on circular migration in sub-Saharan Africa which brings together her work both on general trends there in urbanization and internal migration and her longitudinal work on these issues in Zimbabwe. The linkage between land and migration has drawn her research also towards issues of land tenure and land reform in southern Africa, and the tensions between the approaches and policies towards environmental and agricultural issues designed by policy makers and economists, and the experience and perceptions of poor, rural people. Dr Potts also has a research interest in human fertility in Africa.
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020 7848 1572
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Risk regulation; regulatory transparency; accountability and public participation; regulatory reform; science and governance.
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Gender & livelihoods in the global South; women-targeted microfinance in West Africa & Latin America; feminist critiques of citizenship, economy & social inclusion; transnationalism and financial democracy.
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Gentrification; urban public spaces; urban renaissance; geographies of youth; architectural geography.
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020 7848 2243
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Interests:
Numerical modelling of global scale transport and chemistry of atmospheric compounds; natural & anthropogenic emissions; transport sector emissions; greenhouse gases and climate impact.
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Interests:
Modelling land surface and ecological impacts of environmental change especially land use change and climate change; desertification and land degradation in arid and semi arid environments; hydrological processes and impacts in Mediterranean and tropical environments with particular emphasis on vegetation hydrology interactions; tropical forest processes and dynamics especially with respect to tropical montane cloud forests; decision and policy support tools for modelling human impacts on the environment in dryland and tropical humid environments; environmentaol monitoring and remote sensing particularly from aerial photography and ground penetrating radar; Colombia, Ecuador, Philippines, Spain, Italy, Greece, North Africa.
Tel:
020 7848 2280
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Interests:
Human impacts and adaptation to climate change, human vulnerability to natural hazards, international development, sustainable urbanisation, institutions and governance in risk management.
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020 7848 2462
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Interests:
Earth observation; remote sensing; global biomass burning; atmospheric pollution; carbon cycle; infrared temperature measurement; environmental modelling; volcanology; geophysical hazards; spectroscopy.
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020 7848 2577
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Aquatic ecology; ecosystem function; river and estuary invertebrates; ecological responses to environmental change.
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Alternative food production and consumption, ethical and fair trade systems, contemporary consumption and commodity geographies, rural development, qualitative research methods.
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020 7848 2525
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Remote sensing; GIS; semi-arid and arid zone geomorphology and geoarchaeology; land degradation and soil erosion; the Sahara Desert, India and Spain.
Tel:
020 7848 2798
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Risk communication and management; renewable energy policy; transboundary environmental issues; telecommunications; biosafety; food and pharmaceuticals.
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020 7848 1404
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Political ecology; forestry policy; NGOs and environmental politics; urban pollution; Asia.
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020 7848 2258
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Interests:
Geography of international boundaries and territorial disputes; use of historical archives in political geography; Arabia and the Persian Gulf.
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020 7848 1345
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Interests:
Labour mobility and housing within large organisations; allotments and community gardening; geographies of ageing and masculinity; Japan.
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020 7848 2628
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Urban governance and community development; the impact and implications of urban policy; the geographies of disability and the built environment.
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020 7848 2487
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Riparian plant ecology and hydrogeomorphology; landscape ecology; plant physiological variability and its influence on ecological processes.
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020 7848 1233
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Urban climatology; surface-atmosphere exchanges: heat, carbon and water; micrometerological measurements; land-surface parameterisation schemes.
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020 7848 2275
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Interests:
Urban regeneration and gentrification with special reference to London; the geography of education – specifically choice and achievement; the relationship between gentrification and education and/or ethnicity; change in East London; changes in class structure.
Tel:
020 7848 1693
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