Dr Dimitris Ballas

Dimitris Ballas

Room number: E20
Telephone (internal): 27923
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7923
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7923
Email: D.Ballas@Sheffield.ac.uk
Research Website: http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk
Twitter: @dimitris_ballas

Dimitris Ballas is an economist by training (1996, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece) and also has a Master of Arts (with distinction) in Geographical Information Systems (1997, University of Leeds, UK) and a PhD in Human Geography (2001, University of Leeds, UK). He has worked as a part-time lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University (1999) and as a teaching assistant at Hull University Business School (2000).

Subsequently, he has been a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds (School of Geography, 2000-2003). In January 2004 he took up his appointment as a lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 2007.

Research Interests

Economic Geography; Spatial dimensions of socio-economic polarisation and income and wealth inequalities; socio-economic applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS); geographical impact of area-based and national social policies; basic income policies and social justice; exploring geographies of happiness; local labour market segmentation and socio-economic polarisation;spatial microsimulation; regional economics and regional science methods; local labour market policies and problems

Current research

Dimitris Ballas has extensive experience in using GIS and spatial microsimulation for the evaluation of the socio-economic and spatial impact of national social policies, as well as area-based policies.

He has recently completed an ESRC mid-career research fellowship project (in the context of the "Understanding Population Trends and Processes" programme). This project aimed to critically review past studies and theories of happiness and to add a geographical dimension to recent innovative work of economists, psychologists and other social scientists in this relatively new research area. In particular, amongst the key objectives of the project were to analyse secondary survey data in order to determine what are the factors and life events increase or decrease the level of well-being of different types of individuals and to then explore the geographical distribution of subjective happiness and well-being using appropriate statistical modelling methods. For more details see UPTAP web-link under "Further details" on the top right hand-side of this page.


My specialist teaching is in the field of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and socio-economic applications with a particular emphasis on the study of economic geography and analysis of social and spatial inequalities with the use of state of the art human-scaled visualisation (human cartograms) techniques, computer simulation and related quantitative modelling methods.

In addition, I teach on a range of modules related to economic and social geography and research methods in human geography. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations in these areas. My teaching style is research-led, typically comprising a combination of lectures, student seminars, tutorials and computer lab practical sessions.

Dimitris teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including:

GEO161 Geographical Data Analysis 1
GEO323 Social Geography of Europe
GEO358 Geography of Europe Field Class
GEO361 GIS and the Social Sciences
GEO369 Social and Spatial Inequalities

GEO6016 Data, Visualisation and GIS
GEO6024 Quantitative Methods for Social And Spatial Inequalities (SASI) 1
FCS652 Quantitative Methods for Social Science Research

All staff also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual students at all three undergraduate levels in the following modules:
GEO163 (Information & Communication Skills for Geographers)
GEO263 or GEO264 (Research Design in Human or Physical Geography)
GEO356 (Geographical Research Project)

Key Publications

  • The Social Atlas of Europe
Image of textbookMany of us think of European countries as discreet entities—their own languages, cultures, food, and economies squarely contained within their national boundaries. But in fact Europe is at once a unified place and a sophisticatedly fragmented one, and national boundaries rarely reflect its social and economic realities. The social atlas of Europe is the first atlas to map Europe according to these realities, from the perspective of human geography rather than simply a political one. Using innovative full-colour visualization methods, it reconsiders European identity through its many different facets: economy, culture, history, and human and physical geography, visualizing Europe and its people in a more fluid way, in some cases using maps without artificial national boundaries. It utilizes the latest available demographic, social, and economic data through state-of-the-art geographical information systems and new cartography techniques. Through these new visualizations, this highly illustrated book offers fresh perspectives on a range of topics, including social values, culture, education, employment, environmental footprints, health and well-being, and social inequalities and cohesion. It is a bold rethinking of Europe as we know it and will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the continent in its truest form. –
More information can be found at the Policy Press web-site

  • Armstrong, H, Ballas, D, Staines, A (2014), A comparative classification of labour market characteristics of British and Greek islands, European Urban and Regional Studies, vol. 21, pp. 222-248.
  • Ballas, D, Dorling, D, Nakaya, T, Tunstall, H, Hanaoka, K (2014), Income inequalities in Japan and the UK: a comparative study of two island economies, Social Policy and Society, vol. 13, pp. 103-117
  • Lovelace, R, Ballas, D, Watson, M (2014), A spatial microsimulation approach for the analysis of commuter patterns: from individual to regional levels, Journal of Transport Geography, vol. 34, 282-296
  • Ballas, D, (2013), What makes a ‘happy city’?, Cities, volume 32, s39–s50.
  • Campbell, M, Ballas, D, Dorling D, Mitchell, R (2013), Mortality Inequalities: Scotland versus England and Wales, Health and Place, volume 23, pp. 179–186
  • Ballas, D. and Tranmer, M. (2012). Happy People or Happy Places? A Multi-Level Modelling Approach to the Analysis of Happiness and Well-Being. International Regional Science Review, 35(1), 70-102.
  • Ballas, D. and Dorling, D. (2007). Measuring the impact of major life events upon happiness. International Journal of Epidemiology, 36, 1244-1252.
  • Geography matters
    Geography mattersSimulating the local impacts of national social policies, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in early 2005, written by Dimitris Ballas, Dave Rossiter, Bethan Thomas, Graham Clarke and Danny Dorling. This book presents possibilities of creating a simulation model that can be used for the estimation of the spatial impacts of social policies, as well as their socio-economic impact. The book builds on past work in the area of microsimulation to present a new spatial simulation methodology including the dynamic simulation of household spaces as an alternative to household simulation. Microsimulation has been widely used by governments around the world for the analysis of redistributive policies and budget changes. Nevertheless, the book argues that there have been very few examples of extending these simulation models to enable the estimation of geographical impacts of policies.
    Free PDF copies of book available from JRF Bookshop

Other information

Dimitris Ballas is currently Deputy Director and Management Board member of the Centre for Well-being and Health in Public Policy (CWiPP). He is also the Geography Study Abroad and ERASMUS Tutor as well as the Dyslexia and Disability Liaison Officer and Mature Students Adviser.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers (since January 1998), a member of the Radical Statistics (Radstats) group, and a life member of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). In addition, he has served as Treasurer of the Regional Science Association International between 2004 - 2012 and as Secretary of the British and Irish Section of the Regional Science Association International between August 2001 - August 2005.

Dimitris has been involved in research projects funded by the European Commission, the Irish Government, the Irish Rural Economy Research Centre, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Welsh Assembly Government, Leeds City Council, British Telecom, the UK Office for the Deputy Prime Minister, the UK Department for Transport and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.