Professor Iain White

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

([email protected])

About Iain

Iain White has been Professor of Environmental Planning at the University of Waikato in New Zealand since 2013 and is currently the Associate Dean Research for Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Science. Prior to this he was the Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Ecology at the University of Manchester in the UK.

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. He has recently applied this intellectual approach to analysing why systemic change within institutions is so difficult, in particular with regard to new forms of spatial development, climate change adaptation, and addressing the housing crisis.

He was previously a Hallsworth visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, UK (2018-2019) and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia (2019-2022) and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester (2022-2024). In 2020 he won the University of Waikato Vice Chancellor's award for Research Excellence and in 2021 the New Zealand Planning Institute John Mawson Award of Merit. He is also the Co-Chair of the Australasian Cities Research network (ACRN) and Chair of the Hamilton Arts Trust, which designs and organizes the successful Boon Street Art festivals.

He is the author of four books. 'Environmental Planning in Context' (2015) with Palgrave and 'Water and the City' (2010) published by Routledge. His most recent books are: The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning (2019), with Prof Simin Davoudi (University of Newcastle, UK), Prof Hilda Blanco (USC Price, US), and Richard Cowell (University of Cardiff, UK); and Why Plan? Theory for Practitioners (2019) with Prof Graham Haughton (University of Manchester, UK). He has over 50 peer reviewed articles or book chapters.

He has led or co-led over 20 research projects, many of which are within multi-million dollar programmes. 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 is currently leading teams of researchers in the National Science Challenge: Resilience to Natures Challenges ($40m, 2019-2024), and also the MBIE Endeavour project 'Reducing flood inundation hazard and risk across Aotearoa-New Zealand' ($15.5m, 2020-2025).

To support this approach he is also active in science communication and engagement. He is a TEDx speaker and often presents to stakeholders, chairs public debates, and has appeared on various science programmes. More generally he has been interviewed as an expert by the press over 50 times, including for The Guardian, 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

Hanna, C., White, I. and Glavovic, B. (2021), Managed Retreats by whom and how? Identifying and delineating governance modalities, Climate Risk Management

White, I. and Lawrence, J. (2020) Continuity and change in national riskscapes: a New Zealand perspective on the challenges for climate governance theory and practice, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society,

Junqueira, J., Serrao-Neumann, S. and White, I. (2020)  A systematic review of approaches for modelling current and future impacts of extreme rainfall events using green infrastructure, Journal of Cleaner Production

Haughton, G., White, I. and Pinto, N. (2020) Planning in the post-pandemic era, Town and Country Planning, April/May: 139-140.

Hanna, C., White, I. and Glavovic, B. (2020) The Uncertainty Contagion: Revealing the Interrelated, Cascading Uncertainties of Managed Retreat, Sustainability, 12 (2),

Connelly, A., O'Hare, P. and White, I. (2020) "The best flood I ever had": Contingent resilience and the (relative) success of adaptive technologies, Cities, 106: 102842.

White. I. (2019) Rigour and Rigour Mortis? Planning, calculative rationality, and forces of stability and change, Urban Studies, 57 (14): 2885-2900.

White, I. and Nandedkar, G. (2019) The Housing Crisis as an Ideological Artefact: analysing how political discourse defines, diagnoses, and responds, Housing Studies,

Davoudi, S., Blanco, H., Cowell, R. and White, I. (eds) (2019) The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning and Sustainability, Routledge: London.

Haughton, G. and White, I. (2019) Why Plan: Planning Theory for Professionals, Lund Humphries: London.

Hanna, C., White, I. and Glavovic, B. (2019) Managed Retreat in Practice: Mechanisms and Challenges for Implementation, Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Natural Hazard Science, Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Squires, G. and White, I. (2019) Resilience and Housing Markets: Who is it Really For? Land Use Policy, 81, 167-174.

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, 22: 412-419.

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, [email protected] 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?' [email protected] Blog, 16 Jan 2012

Recent Publications

  • Glavovic, B. C., Smith, T. F., & White, I. (2021). The tragedy of climate change science. Climate and Development. doi:10.1080/17565529.2021.2008855

  • Hanna, C., White, I., & Glavovic, B. (2021). Managed retreats by whom and how? Identifying and delineating governance modalities. In At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience, Relocation and Climate Justice. Columbia Climate School and the Earth Institute Virtual Conference.

  • White, I. (2021). Delivering the 20 Minute City in Hamilton, NZ. In The Town and Country Planning Association, London, UK. Retrieved from

  • Reu Junqueira, J., Serrao-Neumann, S., & White, I. (2021). Managing urban climate change risks: Prospects for using green infrastructure to increase urban resilience to floods. In T. Letcher (Ed.), The Impacts of Climate Change A Comprehensive Study of Physical, Biophysical, Social, and Political Issues (pp. 379-396). Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-822373-4.00013-6

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)