The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Dr Liza Griffin

Dr Liza Griffin

Lecturer in Environmental Politics

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
3rd Sep 2012

Research summary

My research lies broadly within the fields of critical governance studies and political ecology.  I have written about how we collectively manage socio-ecological problems and what is at stake in the different political regimes and governing techniques intended to address them (E.g. good governance, nudge, public participation, resilience etc.).

I am particularly curious about by the governance of ‘wicked problems’, i.e. issues that are transboundary, invisible, intractable or knotty. For example, I have published on discourse and practice of ‘good governance’ in the context of EU fisheries, one of the most complicated and divisive sectors in Europe. In this work, I have argued that the failures of good governance are not merely to do with  implementation deficits, but instead can constitute more systemic failure. Governance theory addresses issues of power, but it does not recognise the many important spatially contingent and relational forms of power that are exercised in actual governing practice. For instance, it frequently overlooks spatial practices and strategies, such as ‘scale jumping’, ‘rescaling’ and the discursive redrawing of governing boundaries. I am interested in how these these spatial power relationships may have implications for social justice, democracy and effective policymaking. 

Another developing research focus relates to community resilience. I am involved in research projects that examine the benefits and limitations of a community-focussed approach to flooding, assessing whether it will likely help or hinder resilience in actual, ‘lived communities’. This work has explored the spatial and temporal tensions involved in the adoption of community resilience as a governance strategy and what is at stake in current policy discourse on communities. 

My interest in resilience has led me to explore it in a number of interdisciplinary and collaborative contexts. 

Teaching summary

Liza has taught politics, geography and planning at the University of Westminster, Oxford Brookes, Oxford University, Birmingham City University and Birkbeck.


University of Westminster
Other qualification, Professional Certification | 2009


Liza completed her PhD in geography at the Open University in 2007 after which she joined the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster. She worked as a research fellow on a programme of research entitled Governance and Sustainability and then, in 2009, became a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Westminster.