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Geography And Environmental Studies

Unit of Assessment
Research Assessment Exercise 2008






By percentage of research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard

UOA 32 Geography and Environmental Studies

FTE Cat A Staff submitted for assessment






London School of Economics and Political Science







Economic growth and biodiversity loss, the impact of the weather on the growth of European cities, violence among street youth in Mexico and identifying the economic drivers of differences in development are all areas of research which have contributed to the success of the Department of Geography and Environment in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise|.

With 70 per cent of the department's research judged as either world-leading or internationally excellent, the department has made substantial progress since the previous RAE in 2001 and is ranked joint seventh in the country (using the grade point average).

Professor Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, head of the department, said: "Our research agenda and the staff we recruit reflect the strength of LSE as a world class social science institution. We view Geography as an integrative discipline and the cutting edge work of our academics is enhanced through cross-disciplinary collaboration, partnerships with other departments, and frequent interaction with governments, international organisations and other institutions."

The department organises its research around the four main issues of economic geography, environmental governance, cities and development.

Much of the research on economic geography is conducted in the new ESRC/BERR/DCLG/WAG Spatial Economics Research Centre. Academics working in this area seek to increase the understanding of why some regions, cities and communities prosper, whilst others do not. For example, Dr Steve Gibbons has studied the effect of primary school performance on property prices in the UK. He estimates that, on average, each 10 per cent improvement in the proportion of children in a neighbourhood reaching the target level in Key Stage 2 tests at age 11 pushes up property prices in that area by 6.9 per cent.

The department's work on environmental policy and governance has been recognised by the establishment of LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the newly awarded ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. These centres bring together experts from several disciplines to examine how our political and economic systems can adapt to climate change and what mechanisms might deliver acceptable and efficient reductions in emissions. The Chair of the Institute is Lord Stern of Brentford, author of the influential government report, The Economics of Climate Change.

Research on cities has looked at the challenges posed by economic, social, and political processes in urban areas and at how local individuals and institutions manage and respond to these challenges. Professor Ian Gordon, for example, studied the effects of residential segregation in perpetuating inequality and social exclusion. He found that living in a 'good' or a 'bad' neighbourhood had less of an impact than a person's individual or family circumstances. This suggests that the desire for a social mix promoted by many urban planners may not necessarily significantly reduce educational failure or poverty.

Research in the area of development includes work on issues such as growth, poverty, post earthquake reconstruction in India, street children, urban restructuring in central and South America, policy making in post apartheid South Africa and the changing position of women and children in urban areas of the global South.

Clearly much of the research in the department is highly policy-relevant. This is reflected in the demand for faculty as advisers and consultants to organisations such as the World Bank, the OECD, the European Union, a large number of UN agencies and other international bodies and UK government departments.

See Definitions of Quality| 4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and u/c

See RAE 2008 Analysis of Results| in the RPDD website for more detailed information.