Aerial shot of portsmouth

Development, Wellbeing and Justice research

Explore our work in development, wellbeing and justice, one of our areas of expertise in Physical and Human Geography

Geographic inequality is rising in many parts of the world – between continents and nations, between northern and southern Europe, and the ‘north-south divide’ in Britain – and social unrest and political disharmony is rising with it.

Our research in Development, Wellbeing and Justice explores the factors and geographical contexts that contribute to this inequality – from whether an area is socially diverse, rich or poor, urban or rural, to how it is governed and represented politically. We seek to understand how these factors affect the health, wellbeing, and economic and social development of a community. 

We're examining whether democratic governance leads to stronger economic growth, and if the dominance of London harms the rest of the UK. We're investigating whether lower-income communities are exposed to greater pollution, studying the differences in the quality of public services across different neighbourhoods, ethnic groups and social classes, and exploring whether living close to green spaces leads to more active, healthier lifestyles. 

We're also researching populations around the world at greater risk from natural disasters (such as wildfires and flooding) and resource depletion (such as soil erosion and water shortages). We want to better understand the environmental refugee crises that follow natural disasters and find ways to sustainably manage natural resources and environments.

Our work is frequently published by leading academic journals in the field, including the Journal of Economic Geography, Urban Studies, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open, Geopolitics, and the Geographical Journal.

Our research focuses on the following topics

  • Geographies of Health and Wellbeing
  • Social and Cultural Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • Political Geography
  • Development Studies
  • Historical Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Environmental Justice

Research methods

We use various research methods including geo-demographic and spatial analysis using Geographical Information Systems (GIS); statistical analysis of secondary data on the economy, population, land use and environment; qualitative analysis of social media, text and video evidence; and in-depth interviews with decision makers, interest groups and members of the public.


Discover our areas of expertise

Development, wellbeing and justice is one of our 2 areas of expertise in Physical and Human Geography – explore the other area below.

Environmental change

We're looking at how the planet's climate has changed over time, and how human activities – and a growing population – is changing our environment today.
Aerial view of scenic Greenland Glaciers and icebergs
Read more

Research groups

Quality of Life Health and Wellbeing Research Group

We're researching how to enhance our diverse experiences of life focussing on student experience, later years and individuals with learning disabilities.


Peace Conflict and Security Research Group

We're researching the complex reality of the struggles over the meaning of security, citizenship and rights.


Interested in a PhD in Physical & Human Geography?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Physical & Human Geography postgraduate research degrees page.