Professor Iain White

PhD Adviser (Environmental Planning)

Qualifications: BA (Hons) Lancaster, Mtpl, PhD University of Manchester, MNZPI

School of Social Sciences


About Iain

Iain White is Professor of Environmental Planning at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He is a planner who is committed to engaging beyond the discipline to researchers, practitioners and communities to conduct science in a way that generates real world impact. This focus typically spans the science-policy-practice interface, from theory all the way through to outcomes. It also tends to be conducted in an interdisciplinary manner, usually representing planning within multi-million dollar research platforms that span multiple disciplines and even countries. This approach has been applied most notably with regard to natural hazards, and most recently relating to housing quantity and quality. He is currently a Hallsworth visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, UK.

He has recently published 'Environmental Planning in Context' (2015) with Palgrave and is also the author of 'Water and the City' (2010) published by Routledge. He has two forthcoming books in 2018: The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning and Sustainability, with Profs Simin Davoudi, Hilda Blanco, and Richard Cowell; and Why Plan: Planning Theory for Practitioners with Prof Graham Haughton.

His work has been supported by a significant number of research grants and he has been awarded a number of multi-million dollar projects as either PI or Co-I. These awards have come from a number of sources: research councils, the European Union, government agencies, NGOs, the Asia-Pacific network and the private sector. He has been an invited Keynote speaker over 10 times, including in the UK, Ireland, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. He is also a TEDx speaker.

He is currently a Scientific Leader of 'National Science Challenge: Building, Better Homes, Towns and Cities' ($24m), a researcher in 'National Science Challenge: Resilience to Natures Hazards' ($59m), and has recently finished a research project for the National Science Challenge: Deep South ($51m) on the vulnerability of New Zealand's water infrastructure to climate change.

To support this approach he is also active in science communication and engagement. He frequently presents to stakeholders, chairs public debates, and has appeared on various science programmes, such as Nanogirl's Science and Comedy podcast, 'Stupid Questions for Scientists' or Radio NZs 'Our Changing World'. More generally he has also been interviewed as an expert by the press over 50 times, including for the BBC TV, BBC Radio, TVNZ, Stuff, The NZ Herald, The Spinoff, Dominion Post, and RadioNZ.


decision making; environmental change; environmental impacts; environmental policy and politics; environmental resources and planning; environmental risks; sustainability.

Research Interests

His main research interests are connected to the interdisciplinary nature of planning and the translation of science into policy and practice.

Featured Publications

White, I. (2018) Environmental Planning, in Castree, N., Hulme, M. and Proctor, J. D. (eds) Companion to Environmental Studies, Routledge: London. 343-346.

White, I. (2018) New Zealand's water systems particularly vulnerable to climate change,  Planning Quarterly, 208, March. 14-20.

Haughton, G. and White, I. (2017) Risky Spaces: creating, contesting, and communicating lines on environmental hazard maps, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, DOI: 10.1111/tran.12227.

O'Hare, P. and White, I. (2017) Beyond 'just' flood risk management: the potential for-and limits to-alleviating flood disadvantage, Regional Environmental Change, DOI 10.1007/s10113-017-1216-3.

Wallace, P., Martin, R. and White, I. (2017) Keeping Pace with technology: drones, disturbance and policy deficiency, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2017.1353957.

O'Hare, P., White, I. and Connelly, A. (2017) Insuring we fail? Flood risk, vulnerability and the limits to 'bouncing back', Town and Country Planning, April, 160-164.

White, I. and Haughton, G. (2017) Risky times: Hazard management and the tyranny of the present, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, in press online first.

O'Hare, P., White, I. and Connelly, A. (2017) 'Insurance as Maladaptation', in Chandler, C. and Coaffee, J. (eds) The Routledge Handbook of International Resilience, Routledge: London. pp 238-250.

White, I. (2017) 'Past, Present and Future Water: the challenges in creating more beneficial trajectories', in Bell, S., Allen, A., Hofmann, P. and Teh, T-H. (eds) Urban Water Trajectories, Springer: London. 165-178.

Haughton, G. and White, I. (2016) Groundhog Day: the great floods of 2015, Town and Country Planning Journal, March, 134-137.

White, I.,Connelly, A., Garvin, S., Lawson, N. and O'Hare, P. (2016) Flood resilience technology in Europe: identifying barriers and co-producing best practice, Journal of Flood Risk Management. In press.

O'Hare, P., White, I. and Connelly, A. (2015) Insurance as maladaptation: Resilience and the 'business as usual' paradox, Environment and Planning C, 1-19. DOI: 10.1177/0263774X15602022.

White, I. (2015) 'Environmental Planning in Context', Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke.

Connelly, A., Gabalda, V., Garvin, S., Hunter, K., Kelly, D., Lawson, N., O' Hare, P. and White, I. (2015) Testing Innovative Technologies to Manage Flood Risk, Proceedings of the ICE - Water management, 168 (2), February: 66-73.

White, I., Connelly, A., Garvin, S., Lawson, N. and O'Hare, P. (2015) Towards Best Practice in Property Level Flood Protection, Town and Country Planning Journal, February: 74-79.

White, I. and O'Hare, P. (2014) From rhetoric to reality: which resilience; why resilience; and whose resilience in spatial planning?, Environment and Planning C, 32 (5): 934-950.

White, I. (2014) 'Castles in Sand: The Shifting Sources of Flood Risk and the Implications for Governance', in Glavovic, B. and Smith, G. (eds) Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Natural Hazards Planning, Springer, 101-121. Contents Page

White, I. (2013) Water and Spatial Planning - 'If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change...', Town and Country Planning Association Journal, October, 82 (10): 422-425. TCP-special-issue-urban-ecology.pdf

White, I. (2013) 'The more we know, the more we don't know: Reflections on a decade of planning, flood risk management and false precision, Planning Theory and Practice 14 (1): 106-114. Planning-Theory-and-Practice-Special-Issue-on-Flooding.pdf

O'Hare, P and White, I. (2013) Deconstructing Resilience: Lessons from Planning Practice, Planning, Practice & Research 28 (3): 275-279. Deconstructing Resilience pdf

Carter, J. and White, I (2012) Environmental Planning and Management in an Age of Uncertainty: the Case of the Water Framework Directive. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 113, 228-236. Scenarios-for-Environmental-Planning.pdf

Potter, K., Ward, S., Shaw, D., Macdonald, N., White, I., Butler, D. and Kellagher, R. (2011) Engineers and planners – the role of partnerships in pursuing sustainable water management objectives, Engineering Sustainability, 164, 239-247. Engineers and Planners pdf

White, I. (2010) 'Water and the City: risk, resilience and planning for a sustainable future', Routledge: London

White, I., Kingston, R. and Barker, A. (2010) Participatory GIS and Public Engagement within Flood Risk Management, Journal of Flood Risk Management, 3, 337-346. Public Engagement and Flooding.pdf

Douglas, I., Garvin, S., Lawson, N., Richards, J., Tippett, J. and White, I. (2010) Urban pluvial flooding: a qualitative case study of cause, effect and non structural mitigation, Journal of Flood Risk Management, 3, 112 - 125. Urban Flooding.pdf

White, I. and Alarcon, A. (2009) Planning Policy, Sustainable Drainage and Surface Water Management: a case study of Greater Manchester, UK, Built Environment, 35 (4), 516-530. SUDS and Planning Policy and Practice pdf

Carter, J., White, I and Richards, J. (2009) Sustainability Appraisal and Flood Risk Management: Exploring Linkages within the English Planning System, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 29, 7-14.

White, I. (2008) The Absorbent City: urban form and flood risk management, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning, December (DP4), 151 – 161. The Absorbent City pdf

Richards, J., White, I. and Carter, J. (2008) Local Planning Practice and Flood Risk Management in England: Is there a collective implementation deficit?, Urban Environments, No. 2. 11-20.

White, I. and Richards, J. (2007) Planning Policy and Flood Risk: The Translation of National Guidance into Local Policy, Planning, Practice and Research, 22 (4), 513-514.

Tourbier, J. and White, I. (2007) 'Sustainable Drainage and Conveyance Systems (SUDACS)', in Ashley, R.; Garvin. S., Pasche, E., Vassilopoulos, A. and Zevenbergen, C. (Eds) Advances in Urban Flood Management, Taylor and Francis, London, pp 13-28.

Douglas, I., Kobold, M., Lawson, N., Pasche, E., and White, I. (2007) Characterisation of Urban Streams and Urban Flooding, in Ashley, R.; Garvin. S., Pasche, E., Vassilopoulos, A. and Zevenbergen, C. (Eds) Advances in Urban Flood Management, Taylor and Francis, London, pp 29-58.

White, I. and Howe, J. (2005) Unpacking Barriers to Sustainable Urban Drainage Use, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 7 (1), 27-43.

White, I. and Howe, J. (2004) Like a fish out of water: The relationship between planning and flood risk management, Planning Practice and Research 19 (4), 415-425.

White, I. and Howe, J. (2004) The Mismanagement of Surface Water, Applied Geography 24 (4), 261-280.

White, I. and Howe, J. (2003) Flooding, pollution and agriculture, International Journal of Environmental Studies 60 (1), 19-28.

White, I. and Howe, J. (2003) Planning and the European Union Water Framework Directive, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 46 (4) 621-631.

Howe, J. and White, I. (2002) The Geography of the Autumn 2000 Floods in the UK, Geography: An International Journal 87 (2), 116-125.

White, I. and Howe, J. (2002) Flooding and the role of planning in England and Wales: A critical review, Journal of Environmental Management and Planning 45 (5), 735-745.

Howe, J. and White, I. (2002) The potential implications of the Water Framework Directive on Domestic planning Systems: A UK case study, European Planning Studies 10 (8), 1027-1038.

Howe, J. and White, I. (2002) Farming, flooding and pollution, ECOS 23 (2), 45-54.

Howe, J. and White, I. (2001) Flooding: are we ignoring the real problem and solution, Regional Studies, 35 (6), 368-371.

Howe, J. and White, I. (2001) Sustainable urban drainage: a neglected area of planning, Town and Country planning, 70 (9), 242-249.

Howe, J. and White I. (2001) Awareness and Action in the UK, Urban Agriculture, 4, 11-13.

Google Scholar page

Other Media

Hanna, C., White, I. and Glavovic, B. (2017) Designing with Nature, Build Magazine, 159, 1 April.

White, I. (2017) Unprecedented, but not unexpected, Waikato Times Opinion piece, 17 March.

White, I. (2016) Hamilton - a clear foundation for growth, New Zealand Property Professional, Winter.

Radio New Zealand, Our Changing World, 26 May 2016 'Learning from Past Floods'

White, I. and Haughton, G. (2016) Groundhog Day - Again: how to break the disaster-response cycle, Water New Zealand, May, 27-29.

White, I., Glavovic, B. and Schneider, P. (2016) Next Generation Resilience, Build Magazine, 153, 1 April.

Haughton, G. and White, I. (2016) Groundhog Day: why the government needs a new approach to stop failing on flooding, Cities@Manchester Blog. 16th March.

Radio New Zealand, Nine to Noon, 20 January 2016 'Flooding Danger Spreads Further in NZ'

Radio New Zealand, Afternoons, 4 June 2015 'Flash Floods on the Rise'

White, I. (2015) 'Protecting Properties Against Floods' Build Magazine 148, 1 June., 5 June 2015 'As flooding worsens, new ideas needed'

Radio New Zealand, Morning Report, 20 January 2015 'Inefficient use of land cause of housing crisis' and 'Home Truths for Property Buyers'.

Inaugural Professorial lecture 'The more we know, the more we don't know: Flood Risk Management in the 21st Century' 18 November 2014.

FreeFM interview discussing 'Planning and the Environment' 18 November 2014.

Radio New Zealand, Nine to Noon, 'Floodwater Management and Environmental Planning', 31 January 2014.

1 hour radio interview discussing Environmental Planning and Water: FreeFM: In Deep programme 19 Nov 2013

'Governments Shirk Their Responsibilities in the Name of Resilience', The Conversation, 12 June 2013

'Resilience: Motherhood Statement, Rhetorical Slogan or Neo-Liberal Shift?' Cities@Manchester Blog, 16 Jan 2012

Forthcoming Publications

Davoudi, S., Blanco, H., Cowell, R. and White, I. (eds) (2018) The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning and Sustainability, Routledge: London.

Haughton, G. and White, I. (2018) Why Plan: Planning Theory for Professionals, Lund Humphries: London.

Recent Publications

  • Wallace, P. J., & White, I. (2018). The impact of predictive models as decision support tools in environmental planning. In Joint Conference of the New Zealand Geographical Society and the Institute of Australian Geographers (NZGS/IAG): Creative Conservations, Constructive Connections. Conference held at Auckland, New Zealand.

  • Hanna, C., White, I., & Glavovic, B. (2017). Designing with nature. Build Magazine, 159(April/May), 42-44.

  • O’Hare, P., & White, I. (2017). Beyond ‘just’ flood risk management: the potential for—and limits to—alleviating flood disadvantage. Regional Environmental Change, 18(2), 385-396. doi:10.1007/s10113-017-1216-3

  • O'Hare, P., White, I. C., & Connelly, A. (2017). Insuring we fail? flood risk, vulnerability and the limits to 'bouncing back'. Town and Country Planning, 86(4), 160-164.

View all research publications by Iain White

Papers Taught


Iain welcomes inquiries regarding PhD supervision on a variety of topics connected to Environmental Planning. He is particularly interested in topics connected with risk, decision-making, or natural hazards.

Associations and Memberships

Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute (MNZPI)

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
White, Prof Iain 9166 iainw HI.2.01 Environmental Planning