Human Geography Research Group

Town centre landscape busy with peopleThe Human Geography research group conducts theoretically and empirically informed research aimed at understanding how social practices and relations are conditioned by space and place.

The Human Geography research group has an excellent track record of grant capture across the UK’s Research Councils, the EU’s Framework Programmes, the Nuffield Foundation, the European Science Foundation, and a range of government bodies and charitable organisations from across the world. 

Colleagues have good external collaborations and have established an excellent public engagement profile. We strongly engage with policy, especially with regard to urban regeneration, imprisonment, renewable energy, fuel poverty and climate change mitigation strategies. 

The group is arranged in a series of subgroups, bringing expertise together on particular topics. Subgroups reflect the evolving interests of colleagues.

Research themes

Big Data and Economic Geography

'Big data analytics are increasingly driving corporate and business strategy, informing policy and unpacking the complexity of urban dynamics.

Group members are both critically analysing these trends and also developing new methodologies for engaging with, synthesising, visualising, and analysing data.  

Within broader economic geographies the group undertakes spatial economic analysis, examines urban and regional economic geography, and (in)formal economic practices in transitional space-economies.


Adapting to Energy and Environmental Uncertainties

The subgroup uses a range of theoretical perspectives to interrogate how environmental change and energy uncertainties are understood and experienced by individuals and communities, across scales from the household to the nation, and the consequences for justice, equality, and resilience.

Work also engages with the construction and negotiation of environmental discourses and knowledges, and their mediation by and through formal and informal institutions and governance. 


Spatial policy and governance

'Processes of urban and regional change are highly dynamic, responding to a constantly shifting policy landscape.

Building on long standing connections to local, regional and national policy making and professional planning communities, the group critiques current planning practice and provides a set of analytical tools to inform decision making.  

The group conducts research at a variety of scales from the neighbourhood to the region working on spatial planning, economic strategy and community engagement.


Bodies, landscapes and materialities

Humans and the world are continually engaged in a process of co-construction, meaning that human behaviour is always both mediated and context dependent.

Critical perspectives on the psychological and bodily dynamics of situated human behaviour are brought to bear by group members on a variety of topics including public policy based on affective forms of governance, spatial media and the geoweb, prison design and visitation, urban arts and creativity, embodied mapping and urban mobility.


Geopolitics, political transitions and the carceral

Research examines the interplay between space, place, power and politics; the materialities and practices that constitute political behaviours; and the the spatial registers of everyday and elite politics.

Current work engages with the spaces and practices of detention and imprisonment, migration, refuge and enclosure; the practices and technologies of protest and state surveillance; the material and discursive bases of diplomacy and state representation; and novel forms of state expression and conceptualising the state as assemblage.