Environmental Processes and Policy


This theme includes research on the physical environment and its processes, of environmental policy and politics, and of governance for sustainable development. Projects have largely been funded by Environmental Protection Agency, the Irish Research Council and the European Foundation.

Associated Staff

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The ESS is an academically-driven survey designed to chart and explain the interaction between “Europe's changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations”.

Entering its eighth round, the ESS enables researchers to examine the distribution of people’s social values, beliefs and norms and how these differ across nations as well as the direction in which they are evolving.

The survey functions as a time series and has been conducted in more than 30 countries. It is centrally administered and implemented and coordinated in each participating country.

  • ‌PI: Dr Eoin O’Neill, Dr Finbarr Brereton and Prof. Peter Clinch

Funding: Irish Research Council and the former UCD School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy
The aim of this project is to examine issues relating to Flood-risk Perception, Awareness and Policy by exploring people's perceptions of, and behavioural responses to, environmental and land use externalities caused by natural hazards and human activities. We then assess policy options to influence settlement patterns and improve environmental outcomes.

Based on a face-to-face households survey, the project has involved extensive manual and digital processing of cognitive maps using GIS.

  • ‌Web: http://www.ecoplanresearch.org
  • Prof. Mark Scott, Dr. Karen Foley, Dr. Marcus Collier, Dr. Michael Lennon
  • Funded: Environmental Protection Agency

The EcoPlan project examined avenues for the Irish planning system to deliver ecologically sound outcomes through principles developed from the ecosystem approach and mobilised through the green infrastructure (GI) concept. GI is an interconnected network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities and wildlife.

A key contribution of the project has been the development of an interactive learning toolkit, GI Quest, to disseminate and integrate GI thinking in spatial planning practice.