The Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Completed PhDs

Completed in 2012

Name Project Title Supervisor(s)

Joanne Jordan

The Role of Social Capital in Enhancing Community Resilience to Climate Change

Dr. Geraint Ellis
Dr. Manoj Roy
Dr. Brendan Murtagh

This project explored how communities can enhance their resilience to adapt to climate change in the context of coastal communities in south-west Bangladesh. This research used the Sustainable Livelihoods approach as a conceptual framework to provide an understanding of the variables and relationships that make different communities more resilient to climate-induced stress.  In particular, this research focused on examining the level of interrelationship between different forms of social capital and community resilience. Empirically the project is situated in village communities at risk of climate shock events and using primarily qualitative methods it sought to trace their response strategies, survival techniques and capacity to adopt. Theoretically, it tested the value of social capital in determining their capacity to cope, adapt and ultimately remain resilient in the face of global climate change. Situated responses that take account of resources, cultural histories (in particular the strength of association) and the capacity to develop economic and physical capital rather than social capital per se, may be at the heart of the notion of resilience. Westernised concepts have important benefits but crucial limitations when applied to the particular conditions, value sets and modes of community working in the South. The uncritical importation of social capital and its liberal political basis need to be treated with caution especially in crises circumstances and management reposes in developing nations.


Completed in 2011

Name Project Title Supervisor(s)

Heather Ritchie

A study into unravelling the marine planning problem: how can stakeholder perspectives be used to advance the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process?

Dr. Geraint Ellis
Prof. Sharon Turner

This research explores how stakeholder perspectives can be used to advance the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process in the Irish Sea region of the UK. The research begins with the identification of a “marine problem” (Peel and Lloyd, 2004), defined primarily as a planning problem, arising from, inter alia, a lack of coherent regulatory guidance for activities in the marine environment. It is proposed that a new system of planning for the marine environment, in the form of Marine Spatial Planning, may be the solution to this problem; however until the problem is fully understood, it is suggested that MSP cannot be effectively advanced. Current research dominating MSP debates has merely addressed the rudimentary development of MSP and has primarily relied on emphasising expert opinion and institutional analysis. The concept of stakeholder engagement, whilst being a core element of the parallel activity of terrestrial spatial planning, has been left out of many of the MSP debates, and so the research into unravelling the marine problem, will also present how stakeholder engagement has a central and critical role to play in advancing the MSP process, by opening up the debate to a wider, more pluralistic audience. It is expected that this is likely to result in a more informed and accepted way of managing the marine environment.