Personal profile

Research interests

Steve is a Senior Researcher at the SEI centre in the University of York specialising in community resilience, wellbeing and participatory research methods.

He has specialised in the development of communication approaches for improved environmental decision-making outcomes. These have been aimed at increasing knowledge sharing, improving the capacity for pro-environmental behavioural change, and boosting local community resilience and wellbeing.

He has developed the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial modelling within focussed on using maps as communication tools at different governance scales through the development of methods and applications of participatory GIS (PGIS). Steve’s PGIS approaches have been used to development and planning activities in developing countries assessing issues around natural resource management such as agriculture water management and the in the UK investigating a range of environmental concerns including air quality, rural inequalities and urban redevelopment.

He is currently looking at sustainable urban development for older people in relation to mobility and wellbeing ( Steve will be using participatory mapping approaches with different stakeholders in three UK conurbations to identify options for improving health and wellbeing of older people. Steve is also looking at the options for using drones to monitor environmental change.

Steve’s recent research includes investigating the impact of green infrastructure (GI) on residents, businesses and workers in London for Defra and Victoria BID. This involves assessing co-benefits such as changes in environmental behaviour and purchasing decisions of people and businesses in areas with increasing GI but also importantly economic returns in terms of customer footfall and workers wellbeing. (See Green Victoria Project)

He has also been researching approaches to build community resilience. This has involved participatory action research to try and encourage greater community interaction and knowledge exchange. Key findings from his projects investigating whether environmental messages stick to the person or the place of delivery can be seen at ( and building community resilience can be seen at (

Steve’s research has also included developing PGIS methods to encourage community engagement on environmental issues including environmental and social histories through the Open Air Laboratories Project (OPAL)funded by the Big Lottery. These engagement activities have been undertaken with a mixture of so called hard-to-reach groups and school children including those in deprived UK communities. A set of video tutorials on these methods is available

He has extensive experience of project management and has provided training and capacity building support for various institutes in diverse locations including Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, South Africa, China, Ivory Coast and India. In addition he has undertaken lecturing for masters and doctoral students in the Universities of York (UK), Turku (Finland), ITC (the Netherlands) and Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana).

He has written over 30 academic papers and book chapters over the past ten years and been principal or co-investigator in grants with a value of £750K over the past six years. He was Deputy Director of the Institute between 1999 and 2014.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or