The Politics of Hope and Crisis in Community Led Disaster Recovery (Doctorate Research)

This project investigates the dynamics of urban crisis politics and hopeful community action in the context of the devastating 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes in Aotearoa New Zealand. I take a dual approach towards the geographies of hope and crisis in the post disaster urban environment to explore the political nature of disaster recovery at both the government and community level, and the on-going implications of post disaster political and social change. As part of this research I have analysed the New Zealand government’s approach to disaster recovery as a form of exceptional crisis politics, as well as the transformative and progressive forms of community led recovery that are contributing to change in how people interact with the urban environment and each other.


Towards a critical geography of disaster recovery politics: Perspectives on crisis and hope

Available in full here

Governing Through Disaster (co-authored with Dr Bronwyn Hayward)

Available through ResearchGate here


Anthropocentric Resilience and Disaster Response in the 2016 Tasmanian Bushfires (Research Assistant with Dr Lauren Rickards)



Grassroots Response Capacity to Disaster (Masters Research)

This research focussed on the role of grassroots community groups in facilitating community resilience during the Christchurch 2010/11 earthquakes and the role of place in doing so. I found that place specific strategies for urban resilience need to be enacted from a grassroots level while being supported by broader policies and agencies.  Using a case study of Project Lyttelton – a group aspiring towards a resilient sustainable future who were caught at the epicentre of the February earthquake – I demonstrated the role of a community group in creating resilience through self-organised place specific action during a disaster.

Project Lyttelton provided emotional care, basic facilities and rebuilding assistance to the residents of Lyttelton, proving to be an invaluable asset. These actions are closely linked to the characteristics of social support and social learning that have been identified as important to socio-ecological resilience. In addition, this research built on an understanding of place and identity and its role in shaping resilience to such dis-placing events. Drawing on community narratives of the displacement of place identity, the potential for a progressive sense of place as instigated by local groups was found as a potential avenue for adaptation by communities at risk of disaster and place destabilisation.


Thesis available in full here

Research report



Shifting Relationships to Place: A relational place based perspective on SES resilience (co-authored with Dr Sophie Bond)

Available in full here

Local Responses to Disaster: The value of community led disaster response action in a resilience framework

Available in full here

Bouncing Back to Capitalism? Grassroots autonomous activism in shaping discourses of resilience and transformation following disaster (co-authored with Dr Sophie Bond)

Available in full here

Resilience for Whom? Emerging Critical Geographies of Socio-Ecological Resilience

Available in full here


Maintaining Momentum in Aotearoa Transition Towns (Research Assistant with Dr Sophie Bond and Dr Amanda Thomas)

Transition Towns are an interesting and dynamic grassroots movement that began in Totnes in the United Kingdom in the mid 2000s. Since then the movement has gained momentum and spread globally with groups now present across the continents of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Transition Towns are seeking to tackle climate change and peak oil with a positive, creative, community level response that re localises how we live. Through activities such as raising awareness, community gardens, alternative currencies and engaging with local government Transition Towns seek to create alternatives to the dominant capitalist culture.

Our research project looked at the impact of Transition Town groups in Aotearoa New Zealand, the ways they maintain momentum and the workings of group dynamics. We worked with two case studies in the Wellington region to further examine the effect of these groups in their local communities.

Transition Towns Aotearoa Research report 


Maintaining grassroots activism: Transition Towns in Aotearoa New Zealand (co-authored with Dr Sophie Bond and Dr Amanda Thomas)

Available in full here