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Dr Ruth Potts

Dr Ruth Potts

Lecturer in Spatial Planning

School of Geography and Planning

+44 (0)29 2087 4970
1.63, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am an environmental planner with an interest in how decisions are made, and affect environmental outcomes. My work explores the dynamics of governance in complex systems, and identifies factors that enable or inhibit planning systems to deliver specific and intended spatial outcomes. Much of my research to date has focussed on the governance arrangements surrounding the planning and management of the Great Barrier Reef, and developing an understanding of how structural-functional perspectives can be used in governance evaluation. More recently, my research has focussed on technology in public spaces, and its effect on place-making, sense of place, and planning for public spaces.



  • PhD (Environmental planning and governance), Queensland University of Technology, Australia (2015)
  • Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning (Honours 1A), Griffith University, Australia (2011)


  • Lecturer, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, Wales (2018-present)
  • Lecturer, School of Environment, Science, and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Australia (2016-2017)
  • Sessional academic, Queensland University of Technology, Australia (2013-2016)
  • Sessional academic, Griffith University, Australia (2009-2016)

Professional memberships

  • Academic member of the Planning Institute of Australia









I currently contribute to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules on topics including environmental governance, environmental management, and urban design.

In an increasingly urbanised world, environmental quality is highly threatened. Many natural resources continue to degrade despite significant investment in planning and management, such as the Great Barrier Reef.  My research explores the link between the quality of decision-making and planning arrangements for natural resource management, and environmental outcomes. My research draws on ideas, concepts and theories from a range of different disciplines, including political sciences, sociology, geography, and spatial planning. I am also involved in emerging research at the nexus of technology and urban design, exploring augmented reality games like Pokémon Go and their impact on the way in which people use public spaces.


I am happy to supervise students interested in the following topics:

  • Environmental governance
  • Natural resource management planning
  • Environmental planning
  • Environmental policy
  • Urban governance
  • Urban theory
  • Augmented reality games
  • Public spaces
  • Technology and planning