Smart Sustainable Futures

Smart Sustainable Futures

Human Geography research at the University of Aberdeen focuses on core strengths centred around the theme of Smart Sustainable Futures, with particular emphasis on:   

  • Green Economy
  • Transport and Mobility
  • Rural Sustainability

Our vision is to build successful and vibrant research collaborations which identify theoretical insights and practical pathways to enhance environmental, social, and economic wellbeing through high quality, impactful research. To do this, the theme has built interdisciplinary expertise on issues relating to, for example:

  • the green economy
  • community resilience
  • intelligent mobility
  • behaviour change
  • demographic ageing in rural communities
  • agri-food governance
  • natural resource management
  • digital innovation

Human Geography also has strong internal and external networks, facilitated through the Centre for Transport Research (CTR); the Social, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Group at the James Hutton Institute; and the recently-completed RCUK dot.rural Digital Society Hub. We also collaborate with the School of Law and School of Biological Sciences in a range of research initiatives.


Green Economy

The transition to a low carbon and sustainable society is a major global challenge. The nature of this transition, its speed and effectiveness is source of political, social, and economic debate based upon fundamental science. Human geography at Aberdeen is addressing this challenge, combining multidisciplinary research expertise from the natural and social sciences, and drawing on strengths that include:

  • critical analysis of green economy delivery at international, national, and local scales
  • sustainable coastal and marine environments, industries, and communities
  • transport, tourism, water, and energy solutions for low-carbon transitions
  • active participation in policy, governance, and community engagement on low carbon and sustainable societies

Green economy research is led through the Green Economy Research Centre (GERC), which brings together interdisciplinary expertise across the School of Geosciences and the University of Aberdeen to explore the dynamics, processes, political economy and impacts of green economy transitions in a variety of spatial and sectoral contexts.


Transport and Mobility

Human Geographers at Aberdeen have developed expertise in a wide range of transport and mobility topics, including:

  • public transport and intelligent mobility
  • new technological applications for transport
  • policy evaluation
  • globalisation and transport
  • accessibility planning
  • travel behaviour
  • security, trust, and privacy issues in intelligent transport systems
  • tourism and transport

This area has achieved significant momentum through the Centre for Transport Research (CTR) which acts as the focus for transport research across the University.


Rural Sustainability

Rural social science research has a long history at the University of Aberdeen. Recent and current research by Human Geographers is framed around rural sustainability and the following specific themes: 

  • alternative food networks
  • community resilience
  • agricultural policy
  • demographic change and migration in rural areas
  • demographic ageing in rural communities
  • technology and digital divides