Group of people protesting for an environmental cause.
Sustainability is integral to building resilient communities. It helps to develop environments that are vibrant and functional today, yet adaptable to future challenges. By prioritising environmental protection, economic resilience, social equity, and quality of life, sustainable placemaking fosters societies that are healthy, inclusive, and capable of thriving in the long term.

Environment and sustainability research insights

At Plymouth, the environment and sustainability research theme uses the lens of place to offer a transdisciplinary perspective on environment and sustainability. Drawing from fields such as politics, geography, sociology, psychology, literature, education, and the arts, we focus on the human experience and values. 
Working with local communities, organisations, authorities and schools, we uncover cultural and social influences on environmental attitudes and explore ethical considerations to foster communication and advocacy and guide efforts toward a more sustainable future. 
Net Zero Visions – Tiverton Pannier Market Mural
Get Involved Awards 2024
Community groups, charities, and social enterprises were invited to collaborate with our researchers to gain a deeper understanding of local issues and acquire valuable insights. By developing new projects, our goal is to establish a network of community organisations and academics working together to exchange ideas and address real community challenges in our city in 2024 through research and collaboration. 
2023 Get Involved Awards 

Plymouth Perspectives on Place

Girl using mobile smart phone. social media. shutterstock

Why is promoting your company’s sustainability narrative through social media still important?

If you’re not using the power of social media to promote your business then the truth is you’re being left behind.
Dr Hanne Knight  discusses the evidence suggesting that many of today’s ethically conscious consumers make purchasing choices based on a business’s sustainability credentials, and explores how small businesses can highlight these credentials through social media channels. 
Person holding handwritten cardboard sign that says 'save our planet' with illustrations of flowers

How can the education system help to fight the climate crisis?

If the education system is to rise to the challenge, there must be a step change in how it prepares young people for a rapidly changing world.
Professor Alison Anderson explores how this can be achieved through embedding climate change education across the secondary curriculum, alongside an emphasis on critical thinking and media literacy skills.

Academic theme lead

Professor Alison Anderson 

Professor Anderson has more than 30 years of experience in public engagement and environmental communication and has undertaken extensive interdisciplinary research on behavioural science and climate change. She submitted evidence to the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee Inquiry, which was cited in the House of Lords report ‘In our Hands: Behaviour Change for Climate and Environmental Goals.’ Her research on empowering youth voices to mobilise behaviour change was exhibited at COP26, and her work has been featured in international media. 
Alison is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science, a founding member of the International Environmental Communication Association, and a former Editor-in-Chief of the Routledge journal Environmental Communication.
Alison Anderson (1280x720)

Our researchers


Recent books

The news media has become a key arena for staging environmental conflicts. Through illuminating examples, from climate change to oil spills, the book provides a timely and far-reaching analysis of the media politics of contemporary environmental debates.

Other themes in our place-based research

SHAPE disciplines address global challenges associated with marine, health and sustainability through the lens of place

Through five place-based research themes, we investigate the intricate relationships between communities, the natural world, and technology.
Locally, we co-create sustainable solutions to complex problems in order to build resilient and thriving neighbourhoods, cities, and regions. This work transcends geographical, social and political boundaries to become applicable on a global level.
Place-based research concept: crowd of people standing on a computer motherboard.
SHAPE – Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy