National and Regional Spatial Planning
My primary research interest is in large-scale spatial planning, or more simply, regional planning. This is to do with the way towns, cities, villages and other settlements interact with one another to create regional systems at a social, economic and environmental level. I explore regional planning through studies of the ways in which settlement patterns, historical geography, commuting patterns and so forth change over time.
I am particularly interested in the settlement patterns of Britain, and how those have changed over the centuries, and am currently completing a collection of essays on this topic, to be published this year.
The use of social network analysis to understand regional geography
I am also interested in the use of mathematical techniques derived from social network analysis to analyse commuting patterns over time. In particular, I am interested in the notion of polycentricity, and how this can be measured so that changes in can be analysed over time. Please refer to my paper on functional polycentricity (Green, 2007) for a complete description.
This is useful for exploring the ways in which live-work patterns are changing over time, and so helps us to think about how we might plan for such changes. Green 2008, for example, explores these changes across England and suggests that the pressure for settlement patterns to become more dispersed is unlikely to abate in the foreseeable future.
Scenarios and Futures
A further interest, which follows from my interests in long-term regional geography, is in the uses of scenarios and futures thinking to try to engage more effectively with how we might deal with changes to our environment over the years and decades ahead. Primarily, this has been explored through my work with the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), for whom I lead a task team whose remit was to produce a prototype national spatial strategy for England to the year 2050 (Green et al, 2011).
The diagram is taken from this report, and shows the primary functional axes of England.