Changing Environments in Global Perspectives

We are a challenged-based interdisciplinary group working at the intersection of physical geography, human geography and environmental science to understand changing environments from global perspectives.

Research themes

Changing environments

Our research applies geographical thought to understand contemporary challenges facing natural, built, digital, urban and social environments around the world


Our research applies geographical thought to understand how contemporary global challenges may be addressed through social, technical, and digital innovations 

Research making an impact

Breathing Infrastructures: Green Fences and Urban Air Quality in Buenos Aires, Argentina 

This project seeks to demonstrate the efficacy of green barriers in filtering air pollution out of schoolyards to reduce environmental risks on children’s health and development, as well as the multiple social and ecological co-benefits that this form of urban greenery can produce when designed effectively and with multipurpose intentionality. It has been selected as one of 23 projects that the British Academy is supporting through the Urban Infrastructures of Well-being scheme. Dr Miguel Kanai of the Department of Geography is the project’s Principal Investigator. He’s working with an interdisciplinary team including Professor Beverley Inkson from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Anna Jorgensen from the Department of Landscape Architecture.

Using ultraviolet camera smartphone technology to build resilience to volcanic hazards in developing countries

Dr Andrew McGonigle and Dr Tom Pering from the University’s Department of Geography have been awarded a contract to monitor volcanoes including Lascar and Lastarria with gas sensing technology developed within the Sheffield Volcanology Group. The scientists’ work using the low-cost equipment – which is 10 times cheaper than previously applied camera technology – will help predict volcanic eruptions and protect ‘at risk’ communities. The units enable imaging of the gas released from volcanoes at safe distances from the source, providing valuable information for volcano monitoring agencies. The technology has already been used for individual field campaign deployments in Hawaii, Chile, Perú, Ecuador, Vanuatu, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea and Italy, in partnership with local volcano monitoring agencies – leading to important advances in our understanding of how underground gas flow processes drive activity observed at the surface. This latest project will enable automation of these devices, so they can gather valuable longer-term monitoring data to track activity trends through time.



Miguel Kanai

Dorothea Kleine

Andrew McGonigle

Tom Pering

Ankit Kumar 

Charis Enns

Frances Cleaver

Luke Whaley

Vanesa Castan-Broto

Grant Bigg

Chris Clark

Ed Rhodes

PhD students

Hannah Mottram

Hannah McCarrick

Jennifer Veenstra

Sandra Barragan Contreras

John Nnko

Mauro Cruz Mercado

Itzel San Roman Pineda

Recent and Upcoming Events

  • Taking nature into account: Is a progressive approach to market-based mechanisms for managing nature possible? December 12th, 2019 ; 1:30 - 5:00 pm in the Octagon Center, Organized by the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) and the Department of Geography. 

  • Interdisciplinary PhD Workshop on Infrastructure and Development, May 12-13, 2020, organized by the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID), the Department of Geography and Urban Studies and Planning.

Study with us

Join an international community of geographers and help tackle the biggest issues in our changing world.

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.