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UoA 14 Geography and Environmental Studies

Our research focuses on the planning, governance and sustainability of cities, regions, and rural spaces. We cover a broad range of our research expertise, from establishing global policy frameworks for research and intervention on sustainable urban food, to shaping homelessness legislation in England and Wales. We have an embedded interdisciplinary approach, coupled with a policy-facing research agenda. For REF 2021, we submitted almost twice as many researchers to this unit compared with 2014.

We are 9th in the UK for research power - an indicator of the scale and quality of our submission. 90% of our submission is considered to have outstanding or very considerable impact in terms of reach and significance.

We foster an inclusive, diverse and collaborative research community. Reflective of this, we submitted 100% of our eligible staff to this Unit of Assessment.

Our results

Quality level 4 star % 3 star % 2 star % 1 star %Unclassified %
Outputs 17.758.923.40.00.0

Our research environment

Our work is organised into 4 research groups: Economic and Political Worlds; Environment; Social and Cultural Geography; and Spatial Planning and Analysis in City Environments.

Projects include the corporate responses to Brexit, food security, homelessness, the environmental impact of sport and cultural events, and climate change and flooding.

During the REF period we were awarded funding that equated to £7.15 million, this included 36 Economic and Social Research Council grants, 6 Arts and Humanities Research Council grants, 2 Engineering and Physical Science Research Council grants, 3 Natural Environment Research Council grants, one Global Challenges Research Fund grant and one Medical Research Council grant. Amongst others, these are accompanied by 6 British Academy grants, 7 British Council grants, 7 grants from the Commission of the European Communities and three grants from the Leverhulme Trust. In 2019, we were successful with a prestigious UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders application.

We have formal partnerships with key professional bodies in the fields of human geography and spatial planning including the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Town Planning Institute, and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

We have an extensive global network of co-investigators and research partners in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, covering more than 40 countries.

We are part of Social Science Research Park (SPARK) the world's first social science park, based on our £300 million innovation campus.

Discover our research

Our research is organised around 4 groups with our research activity having a high impact in shaping relevant policy debates and influencing international agendas.

aerial view of Cardiff showing teh castle and stadium and environs

Reforming homelessness legislation in Wales

Dr Pete Mackie’s research into Welsh homelessness legislation led to the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and has informed policy debates in Scotland, Canada, and Australia.

City skyline and park

Research at the School of Geography and Planning

We play an internationally leading role in research and academic inquiry associated with the development, management and sustainability of cities, regions and rural spaces.

Impact at the School of Geography and Planning

Our research activity is very broadly based and draws upon interdisciplinary social science, and particularly the linkages between human geography and planning and relevant policy debates.