Professor Iain White

Iain White

PhD Advisor (Environmental Planning)

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

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).

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 around 50 peer reviewed articles or book chapters.

He has led or co-led 21 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 has been an invited Keynote speaker 12 times in 5 different countries, has given 17 invited lectures in 4 different countries, and frequently peer reviews research proposals from various international funding bodies or undertakes research governance roles.

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, 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.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

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.

Research Interests

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

Recent Publications

  • Hanna, C., White, I., & Glavovic, B. (2020). The Uncertainty Contagion: Revealing the Interrelated, Cascading Uncertainties of Managed Retreat. Sustainability, 12(2), 736. doi:10.3390/su12020736 Open Access version:

  • White, I., & Beaven, S. (2019). Resilience in Practice. In National Science Challenge: Resilience to Natures Hazards. Wellington, New Zealand.

  • Hanna, C., White, I., & Glavovic, B. (2019). Planning to Retreat: Governance challenges and policy learning in New Zealand. In Climate Adaptation Initiative. Colombia Law School Conference: At what point managed retreat?. New York.

  • White, I. (2019). Climate risks and political risks. In Food for Thought. Climate change - Managing risk and fostering resilience discussion, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand.

Find more research publications by Iain White


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

Contact Details

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

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