Academic lead: Simin Davoudi, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Environmental GovernanceParticipation; Institutions, Rules and Regulations; Planning

Researchers in Newcastle are engaged with both philosophical questions about, and practical implications of, environmental governance. Our research addresses questions such as: what is to be governed in our interrelationship with nature? How is it to be governed? How governable are these interrelationships? And why should they be governed, for what purpose? In addressing questions such as these, we have undertaken research in a number of environmental areas ranging from the use of resources in urban development processes to the management of waste and the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Featured project:

Team pictureESPON TANGO: Territorial Governance, Best Practices for New Perspectives

What is ‘territorial’ governance and what are the key attributes of ‘good’ territorial governance? These two questions are at the heart of the ESPON TANGO project which aims to develop practical advice for ‘good’ territorial governance based on exiting literature and empirical evidence gathered from contemporary governance practices in 12 case studies across Europe. It focuses on key success factors in achieving territorial development objectives such as competitiveness, cohesion and sustainability. The researchers are particularly interested in examining the role of spatial planning in territorial governance and in developing synergies through vertical and horizontal co-ordination of public policies, programmes and projects. The rationale for the research is based on the argument that good territorial governance is critically important in achieving coherent public policy and allocating the reducing public budget efficiently and fairly. In addition to contributing to the development of the conceptual framework of the research and identifying qualitative indicators for good territorial governance, the Newcastle Team will also undertake two UK case studies (Greater Manchester Combined Authority and North Shields Fish Quay Neighbourhood Planning). These involve documentary analysis, interviews with key informants and field visits. The ESPON TANGO consortium consists of 6 European partners and is led by Nordic Centre for Spatial Planning (NORDREGIO) in Stockholm.  The Newcastle University team is led by Professor Simin Davoudi and includes Professor Ali Madanipour, Professor Geoff Vigar and Paul Cowie, all based at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

Programme:  EU ESPON

Principal Investigator:  Professor Simin Davoudi, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

The website is available here.

Featured researchers:

Professor Simin Davoudi

Simin Davoudi is Professor of Environment, Policy & Planning at the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape and the ‘Justice & Governance’ Theme Coordinator at the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS). Her research interests centre around environmental planning and her most recent books include: Conceptions of Space and Place in Strategic Spatial Planning (Routledge, 2009), and Planning for Climate Change (Earthscan, 2009). Simin has undertaken research for a wide range of international and national organisations and research funding bodies, and is published widely. Her recent research projects include:

  • 2009-2012: Sustainable Urban Metabolism for Europe (SUME), funded by EU Framework Programme 7, core partner and WP leader (c. €3,000,000, Ncl share: c. €451,720);
  • 2009-2011: Territorial Impact of Climate Change, ESPON, core partner (c. € 1,000,000, Ncl share, €100,000), led by Technical University of Dortmund;
  • 2009-2011: ARCADIA (Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and Decision-making using Integrated Assessment), funded by the EPSRC, Co-Investigator, led by J. Hall, Newcastle University, c. £1,000,000 (share: £133,915).

Dr Pamela Woolner

Pamela’s current research interests centre on understanding and developing the learning environment. This includes examining the historical and research background to recent developments in school buildings, and investigating the participation of users (including students, teachers, non-teaching staff and the wider community) in the design process. She has become increasingly interested in how visual techniques, including photo elicitation and mapping activities, can facilitate such participation. Recent projects include:

  • Exploring the fitting of practice to context at Oakfields Community College
  • Exploring Independent Learning (in KS5 and HE)
  • Review of the role of attitudes, aspirations and behaviours in educational attainment (for JRF)

Professor David Leat

David is Director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT) and believes that our current education system is fundamentally unjust, driven by a 'performativity' culture which disadvantages students whose strengths lie beyond literacy and mathematics and or have learning difficulties.  Current governance structures in education (and beyond) are over centralised and influenced by a very particular political discourse which subverts local interests and governance and suppresses creativity. He is interested in forms of curriculum and governance that achieve a better balance between elite forms of knowledge and local community knowledge and resources (whilst accepting that this is fraught).  Additionally he believes that education should pay higher regard to affective relationships at all levels and not be attuned only to power relationships.  Dialogue is fundamental to such interests and beliefs. Recent projects include:

  • Formative evaluation of Open Future, a primary curriculum innovation with 4 strands 'Grow It', 'Cook It', 'Film It' and 'Ask It' (Philosophy for Children) for the Helen Hamlyn Trust. Part of the formative work is in developing a progression framework for a skills based curriculum.
  • Evaluation of the ACTS Project (Activating Children's Thinking Skills) in East Ayrshire, funded by the Scottish Executive.
  • A research project on coaching for CfBT and the National College of School Leadership, investigating what happens in coaching sessions and testing whether an intervention makes an impact on both coaching practice and classroom practice.
  • Working as part of the CfLaT team on the Campaign for Learning Learning To Learn project involving some 25 schools in 3 Local Education Authorities.
  • A number of small funded projects supporting schools undertaking action research as part of school improvement.

Mr Rob Wilson

Rob is interested in the challenges of information and measurement in local governance (the VCS/Third sector and local authorities) and co-productive approaches to community engagement around sustainability issues. His most recent project is with Northumberland County Council on the Local Carbon Framework Beacon co-production and evaluation (2011). DECC's Low Carbon Framework Beacon programme represents an important opportunity to pilot a range of place based approaches developed through co-production between local authorise and communities in order to inform with the aim of learning from local initiatives about approaches to reducing carbon. Wilson with colleagues is working with Northumberland Council one of the national Beacon sites to support the maximisation of learning, develop the processes and evaluate the effects in the context of heritage buildings and community leadership.

Dr Martin Farr

Martin’s research focuses on British government, parties, elections and media, with both a contemporary and a historical focus. He wrote an article on the 'December Crises' of 1916 and 1915, and has been working on conference papers and articles concerning the 1918 General Election in South Wales, the Labour Party and strategic bombing in the Second World War, and post-war British mass tourism. He has co-edited two volumes on interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives on the ‘British Abroad’ based on a conference he co-organised in 2011: ‘Travellers and Tourists, and Experiencing Imperialism’.

Dr David Webb

David is interested in the discourses and practices which structure governance formations in different places and the way in which formations become resilient and/ or change. He is increasingly interested in the subjectivities of professionals working within such environments and in any potential capacity they may have to adopt multiple and conflicting identities for the purpose of pragmatically seeking flexible and more just forms of governance while recognising the boundaries and limitations of practice.

Dr Anthony Zito

Tony’s research interests are: the European Union (European Community); domestic environmental politics and policy-making; European political economy; European public policy and policy-making; international environmental politics and policy-making; international political economy; and international organisations. Recent activities include:

  • Awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for February 2007- October 2011 for a project entitled ‘Comparing Environmental Agencies and Governance’. To learn more about this ongoing project see the project website:
  • Writing a monograph which summarises the complete empirical results of the ESRC Future Governance Programme Project entitled ‘Innovation in Environmental Governance: a Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instruments.’ This is a co-authored monograph with Dr. Rüdiger Wurzel and Dr. Andrew Jordan.
  • Writing a monograph entitled 'Policy Networks and Communities: Theories and Approaches in Political Science' for Palgrave. This work brings together a wide range of network approaches in the social sciences in order to explicate the concept of political and policy learning.
  • Won a competition to edit a special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy. The focus of the special issue will be the EU and learning theory.

Professor Peter Stone

Peter Stone is Professor of Heritage Studies in the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies. He has published widely on heritage management, interpretation and education. Peter has worked extensively overseas and advised UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre on the development of the World Heritage Education Programme. In 2003 Peter was the advisor to the Ministry of Defence with regard to the identification and protection of the archaeological cultural heritage in Iraq. He gave evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee regarding the Draft Cultural Heritage (Armed conflicts) Bill, that was intended to enable the UK to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict.

Peter co-edited, with Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, ‘The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq’ (2008). In 2008 he worked with staff of the Oriental Institute in Chicago to produce a travelling version of their exhibition 'Catastrophe! The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq'. Peter's current research interests include the development of holistic approaches to the management of large heritage sites and the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict. Peter's most recent book ‘Cultural heritage, ethics and the military’ is due for publication in April 2011. He is heavily involved in lobbying the UK Government to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Peter is also collaborating with a number of colleagues to produce a publication on the changing emphasis of management along Hadrian's Wall.

Mr Peter Eckersley

Peter is a PhD student working on climate change mitigation, urban climate governance and local governance models.

Ms Joanne Swaffield

Joanne is a PhD student working on the communication of climate change and discourses of climate change.


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