Environment, infrastructure and sustainability

Suggested PhD projects to undertake within this research area.

A woman reads a book on a grassy area. The city of San Francisco can be seen in the background.

Find out more about our research on environment, infrastructure and sustainability.

Professor Liz Sharp: public engagement, adaptation to climate change, green infrastructure, participation, water

My interests lay in public engagement in environment and infrastructure planning and development, with a particular focus on water and green infrastructure. I am fascinated by processes of policy change and how the interplay of different individuals’/organisations’ perspectives is played out in the evolution of their practices. I have worked on waste management and water supply but my current research is focused on public engagement in the design and development of green infrastructure for flood resilience. My research focuses on policy change in the UK and Europe but I have supervised a variety of PhDs with foci across the world.

Suggested PhD topics:

  • Investigations of how and when civic society groups have intervened to improve the environment of their area through working with or protesting against the relevant authorities in relation to water infrastructure 
  • Studies of how green infrastructure is being implemented in specific locations with an emphasis on whether and how the authorities are engaging the public in the design and development of the features 
  • Systematic investigations of authorities responses to changing understandings about green infrastructure through a study of policy documentation and/or practices. For example, in a UK context it might be appropriate to look at surface water management plans to investigate the links between these and statutory local plans.  

Contact Professor Liz Sharp

Dr Aidan While: climate change, automation and robots, planning control, environmental change, strategic planning

Aidan's core research interests are in climate policy and climate politics; the spatial, environmental and societal impacts of automation; and the changing context for planning control at different spatial scales. His research is international in scope and he has experience of supervising PhD research in China, South Korea, India, North America, South America as well as the UK. 

Potential PhD projects:

Robotics, automation and the future of cities - how are robotics, AI and automation impacting on urban infrastructures and daily lives? What does this mean for the future of cities? What are the benefits and possible downsides of robotics and automation in the city?

Automation, the environment and climate change - how is automation being used in response to climate turbulence and environmental change?  What does this mean for the ability of different groups and interests to exist in a world of climate change?

Growth management through urban planning - how is urban planning being used to facilitate the development of rapidly growing places? How are social, economic and environmental interests being addressed?

The impact of climate change on urban life and urban futures - how are different places and interests responding to climate change and environmental turbulence? What does that mean for uneven development and socio-environmental inequalities?

Contact Dr Aidan While