My research is concerned with the creation, maintenance and erosion of wellbeing in places. I have examined the processes that contribute to distress and difficulty in particular towns, cities and regions, while also working to identify the collaborations, policies and practices able to facilitate wellbeing within them. A particular focus in recent years has been post-disaster recovery in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.
My early work considered rural and urban places disrupted by economic restructuring and neoliberal welfare reform, while more recent projects have focused on disaster-affected places. In examining a range of disrupted environments, I have given close attention to the nature and relational constitution of spaces within these settings that some experience as supportive, enabling and even therapeutic. Empirical investigations in this regard have encompassed community drop-in centres, retreat centres, respite care agencies, residential care facilities, and urban community farms.
I am currently the Managing Editor of the New Zealand Geographer, and a member of the editorial board for Social and Cultural Geography and the Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies.
Current and recent projects:
• The Post-Disaster City: Recovery and Transition in Christchurch, New Zealand
This co-authored book project examines processes of recovery and transition following the Canterbury earthquake sequence. We draw on empirical research from Christchurch to consider how cities and communities negotiate environmental disruption, whether slow or rapid onset.