Prof. Gordon Walker

Gordon Walker

Division of Geography

Lancaster Environment Centre

Lancaster University
Tel: 01524 510256



My broad area of research interest is the social and spatial dimensions of environment, sustainability and risk issues. Recent research and writing has focused on environmental justice theory, concepts and practice and the investigation of inequalities in the distribution of environmental goods and bads; sustainable consumption and practice, systems and transition managementsocial dimensions of sustainable energy technologies,  public engagement with community energy projects; stakeholder participation in decision making and the use of deliberative methods; spatial planning for technological risks and natural hazards; public perceptions of risk and risk communication and warning for natural hazards; the use and production of environmental science by NGOs and the commodification of science in consumer products; the use of Q-methodology in geographical research.

Details of publications and research projects can be found below. Also see these dedicated research project web sites:

Environmental Justice Research and Resources (a set of pages about environmental justice, including report downloads) 

Environmental Inequalities Seminar Series (details of all seminar sessions, powerpoints, discussion paper)

flood damageFlood, vulnerability and resilience: a real-time study of local recovery following the floods of June 2007 in Hull


INCLUESEV (join the cluster if you are interested)



Community Energy InitiativesCommunity Energy Initiatives (with database of projects and downloads of outputs)


An offshore turbineBeyond Nimbyism: public engagement with renewable energy technologies (outputs from project including case study summaries now available)



Current supervised research students

Hugh Deeming  'Vulnerability and Storm Surge: evaluating the role of social networks in building community resilience to an extant threat'

Sam Brown       'Understanding Vulnerability to Heat Waves; the practices of heat adaptation'

Elspeth Kent     'Conceptualising Adaptation to Climate Change: the politics of ensuring fitness in conditions of uncertainty'

Yonjoo Jeong    'Public perceptions of Wind Farm Development in Japan and Korea' 

Neil Simcock   'Renewable Energy, Cooperative Behaviour and Property Regimes'


External Roles

Committee member of the of the Planning and Environment Research Group of the RGS-IBG; Independent Member of the Health and Safety Commission Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances (ACDS) (2000 - 2005); Member of the Public Education Group of the National Committee on Informing and Warning the Public (1998-2003); Member of the Steering Committee of the European Union and Mediterranean Disaster Information Network (EU-MEDIN) (2003-); Member of the Advisory Group of the Sustainable Development Research Network (2002-6)

Member of the Editorial Board of the journals ‘
Local Environment’ (Sept 2004 - );  'Studies in Social Justice' (2007 - ); 'Environmental Justice' (2009-)


Local Environment - The International Journal of Justice and SustainabilityEnvironmental JusticePage Header


Recent Publications






Journal papers

Shove E and Walker G (in press) Governing transitions in the sustainability of everyday life. Research Policy .

 Walker G, Cass N, Barnett J and Burningham K (in press) Renewable energy and socio-technical change: imagined subjectivities of ‘the public’ and their implications, Environment and Planning A

Walker G (2009) Beyond Distribution and Proximity: exploring the multiple spatialities of environmental justice, Antipode, 41 (4), pp 614-636

Walker G P, Hunter S, Devine-Wright P, Evans B, High H (2009 in press) Trust and community: exploring the meanings, contexts and dynamics of community renewable energy, Energy Policy, accepted for publication. 

Cass N and Walker G (2009) Emotion and rationality: the characterisation and evaluation of opposition to renewable energy projects. Emotion, Space and Society, 2, pp 62-69

Walker G (2009) Globalising environmental justice: the geography and politics of frame contextualisation and evolution, Global Social Policy, 9(3) pp 355-382

Walker G and Eames M (2008) Environmental Inequalities: reflections on a transdisciplinary seminar series, Local Environment, 13(8), 663-667

Brown S and Walker G (2008) Understanding Heat Wave Vulnerability in nursing and residential homes, Building Research and Information (special issue 'comfort in a lower carbon society'), 36(4) 363-372.

Walker G P (2008) Decentralised systems and fuel poverty: are there any links or risks? Energy Policy, 36(12), 4514-4517

Walker G P (2008) What are the barriers and incentives for community-owned means of energy production and use, Energy Policy, 36(12), 4401-4405

Eden S, Bear C and Walker G (2008) Mucky Carrots and other proxies: problematising the knowledge fix for sustainable and ethical consumption, Geoforum, 39(2); 1044-1057

Eden S, Bear C and Walker G (2008) The sceptical consumer? Exploring views about food assurance, Food Policy, 33(6), 624-630.

Shove E and Walker G (2008) Transition Management and the Politics of Shape Shifting, Environment and Planning A, 40, pp 1012-1014

Walker G P and Devine Wright P (2008) Community Renewable Energy: what does it mean? Energy Policy, 36, 497-500.

Eden S, Bear C and Walker G (2008) Understanding and (dis)trusting food assurance schemes: Consumer confidence and the ‘knowledge fix’. Journal of Rural Studies, volume 24, pp 1-24

Shove, E. and Walker, G. (2007) ‘Caution! Transitions ahead: politics, practice and sustainable transition management’, Environment and Planning A, 39(4) 763 – 770

Walker G P and Shove E (2007) Ambivalence, sustainability and the governance of sociotechnical transitions, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 9 (3/4), pp 213-225

Walker G and Cass N (2007) Carbon reduction, "the public" and renewable energy: engaging with sociotechnical configurations, Area, 39(4), pp 458-469

Walker G (2007) Environmental justice and the distributional deficit in policy appraisal in the UK, Environmental Research Letters, 2, 045004,

Shove E and Walker G P (2007) Caution! Transitions ahead: politics, practice and transition management, Environment and Planning A, vol 39, pp 763-770

Walker G P, Hunter S, Devine-Wright P, Evans B, Fay H (2007) Harnessing Community Energies: explaining and evaluating community-based localism in renewable energy policy in the UK, Global Environmental Politics, Volume 7, No 2, 64-82

Walker, Gordon P and Bulkeley, Harriet (2006) Geographies of Environmental Justice. Geoforum, 37 (5). pp. 655-659. [Editorial for special issue on Geographies of Environmental Justice]

Eden S, Donaldson A and Walker G (2006), Structuring Subjectivities in human geography: Q methodology and the analysis of environmental views, Area, Vol 37, no 4, pp413-422.

Eden S, Donaldson A and Walker G, (2006) Green groups and grey areas: scientific boundary work, NGOs and the changing nature of environmental governance, Environment and Planning A, Vol 38, pp 1061-1076

Bickerstaff K and Walker G P (2005) Shared visions, unholy alliances: power, governance and deliberative processes in local transport planning, Urban Studies, Vol 42, no 5, pp 2133-2144.

Bulkeley, Harriet and Walker, Gordon P (2005) Environmental Justice: A New Agenda for the UK. Local Environment, 10 (4). pp. 329-332. [Editorial for special issue on Environmental Justice in the UK]

Walker G P, Mitchell G, Fairburn J and Smith G (2005) Industrial pollution and social deprivation: evidence and complexity in evaluating and responding to environmental inequality, Local Environment, Vol 10, no 4, pp 361-377.

Bickerstaff K and Walker G P (2003) The place(s) of matter: matter out of place – public understandings of air pollution, Progress in Human Geography, Vol 27, no 1, pp 45-67.

Bickerstaff K and Walker G P (2002) Risk, Responsibility and Blame: an analysis of vocabularies of motive in air-pollution(ing) discourses, Environment and Planning A, vol 34, no 12, pp 2175-2192

Buckingham-Hatfield S and Walker G P (2002) From UNCED to the WSSD: reasons to be cheerful, Local Environment, Vol 7, No 3, pp 237-240.

Bickerstaff K, Walker G and Tolley R (2002) Transport planning and participation: the rhetoric and realities of public involvement, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol 10, No 1

Bickerstaff, K.J., and Walker, G.P. (2001) Participatory local governance and transport planning, Environment and Planning A, Vol 33, pp 431-451.

Bickerstaff, K.J., and Walker, G.P. (2001) Public understandings of air pollution: the ‘localisation’ of environmental risk, Global Environmental Change, Vol 11, pp 133-145.

Book chapters

Mitchell G and Walker G (2007) Methodological Issues in the Assessment of Environmental Equity and Environmental Justice. In: Deakin et al., (Eds.) Sustainable Development: The Environmental Evaluation Methods, E F Spon

Simmons P and Walker G P (2005) Technological risk and sense of place: industrial encroachment on place values in A Boholm and R Lofstedt (eds) Facility Siting: Risk, Power and Identify in Land Use Planning, London: Earthscan.


Sarah Damery, Gordon Walker, Judith Petts and Graham Smith (2007) Addressing Environmental Inequalities: Water Quality, Science Report: SC020061/SR2, Environment Agency, Bristol.

Sarah Damery, Judith Petts, Gordon Walker, Graham Smith (2007) Addressing Environmental Inequalities: Waste Management, Science Report SC020061/SR3, Environment Agency, Bristol.

Gordon Walker, Sarah Damery, Judith Petts, Graham Smith (2007) Addressing Environmental Inequalities: Flood Risk, Waste Management and Water Quality in Wales, Science Report SC020061/SR5, Environment Agency, Bristol.

Carolyn Stephens, Ruth Willis and Gordon Walker (2007) Addressing Environmental Inequalities: Cumulative Environmental Impacts, Science Report: SC020061/SR4, Environment Agency

Gordon Walker, Kate Burningham, Jane Fielding, Graham Smith, Diana Thrush and Helen Fay (2006) Addressing Environmental Inequalities: Flood Risk, Science Report: SC020061/SR1, Environment Agency

Fairburn J, Walker G and Smith G (2005) Investigating Environmental Justice in Scotland - Links Between Measures of Environmental Quality and Social Deprivation Report UE4(03)01, Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Edinburgh

Smith G R, Arnot C, Fairburn J and Walker G (2005) A National Population Data Base for Major Accident Hazard Modelling HSE Report Series, 297/2005, HSE Books, Sudbury

Mitchell, G and Walker, G. (2003) Environmental Quality and Social Deprivation. R&D Technical Report E2-067/1/TR, The Environment Agency, Bristol, 61pp,

Walker, G., Mitchell, G., Fairburn, J. and Smith, G. (2003) Environmental Quality and Social Deprivation. Phase II: National Analysis of Flood Hazard, IPC Industries and Air Quality. R&D Project Record E2-067/1/PR1, The Environment Agency, Bristol, 133pp,

Mitchell, G. and Walker, G. (2003) Environmental Quality and Social Deprivation. Phase I: A Review of Research and Analytical Methods. R&D Project Record E2-067/1/PR2, The Environment Agency, Bristol, 107pp, ISBN 1 8443 22 246

Recent Research Projects

CAPHAZ-Net - Social Capacity Building for Natural Hazards: Towards More Resilient Societies. FP7 2009-2001. with Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig with Institute for International Sociology, Gorizia ISIG Italy, FHRC Middlesex University; Autonomous University Barcelona; Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts; Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research; DIALOGIK Non-Profit Institute for Communication and cooperative research Stuttgart; Lancaster University.

Interdisciplinary cluster on Energy Systems, Equity and Vulnerability funded by EPSRC/RCUK Energy programme 2009-11. CI with Karen Bickerstaff (PI) at Durham.


Communication and Dissemination of Probabilistic Flood Warnings, 2008-9 with Nigel Watson, Will Medd and Elham Kashefi, Collingwood Environmental Planning and HR Wallingford. Funded by Environment Agency 

flood damageFlood, vulnerability and resilience: a real-time study of local recovery following the floods of June 2007 in Hull, 2007-9 with Will Medd, Nigel Watson, Maggie Mort and Beccy Sims (all lancaster) funded by ESRC, EPSRC and EA.


Beyond NIMBYISM: a multidisciplinary investigation of public engagement with renewable energy, 2006-9, TSEC/ESRC funded, led by Patrick Devine Wright (Manchester) with Surrey, Northumbria, Loughborough.

Environmental Inequalities Seminar Series, ESRC/NERC Transdisciplinary Seminar Series, with Malcolm Eames Brunel, 2006-7

North West Hydro Resource Model, JOULE funding, 2006-9 with Engineering, CEH and other departments at Lancaster. Responsibility for WP5 on public engagement. Further Information

Improving Institutional and Social Responses to Flooding, Environment Agency, 2007-8, consortium led by Collingwood Environmental Planning

Addressing Environmental Inequalities, Environment Agency, with Judith Petts and Sarah Damery (University of Birmingham) Kate Burningham and Jane Fielding (University of Surrey), Carolyn Stephens and Ruth Willis (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) Malcolm Eames (PSI) and Karen Lucas (University of Westminster), 2005-6 Further Information

Support on Common European Strategy for Sustainable natural and induced technological hazards mitigation (SCENARIO)
FP6 Specific Support Action 2006-8 with 8 European Partners Further information

Environmental, health and social justice review, DEFRA via Sustainable Development Research Network, Collaborators: Malcolm Eames (PSI) and Karen Lucas (University of Westminster), 2004,  Further Information

Environmental Justice Impact Assessment, Friends of the Earth, with Gordon Mitchell Leeds University, 2004,  Further Information

Investigating Environmental Justice in Scotland: links between measures of environmental quality and social deprivation, SNIFFER, with John Fairburn and Graham Smith, Staffordshire University and Gordon Mitchell Leeds University, 2004  Further Information

Applied Multi Risk Mapping of Natural Hazards for Impact Assessment (ARMONIA) European Commission Framework 6 with 10 partners across Europe 2004-7,  Further Information

Community energy initiatives: embedding sustainable technology at a local level, ESRC (Sustainable Technologies Programme) with Bob Evans (Northumbria), Patrick Devine-Wright (Manchester), 2004-5,  Further Information

Credibility Claims as Scientific Commodities, ESRC (Science in Society Programme), with Sally Eden, University of Hull, 2004-6,  Further Information

Strategy for Stakeholder Involvement in the GTSA Development Programme, NIREX, 2003, 

Environmental Quality and Social Deprivation, Environment Agency
with Gordon Mitchell, Danny Dorling, University of Leeds, 2003,  Further Information