Sarah Lindley


Personal profile

Supervision information

PhD students

I welcome applications from prospective PhD students in any area of my research interests, particularly those wishing to pursue a topic with a strong GISc dimension. Please feel free to email me if you wish to discuss the suitability of your research proposal prior to submitting a formal application. To date, I have supervised 13 PhD students, all to successful completion and have a further five students at various stages of their programmes.


Current PhD students

  • Timna Freeman (current) Re-Framing Environmental Impact Analysis for Power Infrastructure using GIS With Dr. Jonny Huck. Funded by the EPSRC Power Networks Centre for Doctoral Training.
  • Labib SM (current) Green Infrastructure and Human Health: A Multi-scale, Dynamic Approach of Investigating the Association Between Nature and Health Indicators with Dr Jonny Huck, Funded by the University of Manchester.
  • Kinga Wisniewska (current) Drying out development: Extent and consequences of groundwater depletion in India. With Prof. Bina Agarwal. Funded by EPSRC & the University of Manchester
  • Peter Kabano (current) Investigating the influence of Tropical Urban Climates on Vegetation Phenology With Dr. Angela Harris. Funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (Uganda) and IPCC.
  • Caitlin Robinson (current) Mapping vulnerability to fuel poverty in the UK: Implications for future energy demand and sector governance. With Prof Stefan Bouzarovski Funded by EPSRC through the Power Networks CDT.


Previous PhD students

  • Nicole Greenidge (awarded 2018) An Integrated National Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Development Investment Framework for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (Barbados).
  • Tekle Woldegerima Kahsay (awarded 2016) Urban Environment and Ecosystem Services of Addis Ababa and their implications for Urban Greenspace Planning. External student at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa University. With Prof Kumelachew Yeshitela Funded through EU CLUVA.
  • Dr Deusdedit Kibassa (awarded 2014) Adaptation potential of green structures to urban heat island in urban morphological types of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. External student (Ardhi, Dar es Salaam). With Dr Riziki Shemdoe. Funding: EU CLUVA.
  • Dr Andrew Speak (awarded 2013) Quantification of the Microclimate Modification Properties of Green Roofs in the Urban Environment NERC CASE Manchester City Council. With Dr. Claire Smith (Leicester) & Dr. James Rothwell.
  • Dr Cynthia Skelhorn (awarded 2013) Evaluation of the role of urban greenspace for climate adaptation and mitigation. Funding UK Energy Research Centre. With Prof Geoff Levermore.
  • Dr Anna Molter (awarded 2012) Measuring, modelling and estimating exposure of cohorts to airborne pollutants. With Prof Raymond Agius & Dr. Frank De Vocht.
  • Dr Bachir Ouedraogo (awarded 2012) Climate change, renewable energy and population impact on future energy demand for Burkina Faso's built environment. Funding: Sustainable Consumption Institute. With Prof Geoff Levermore & Dr. John Parkinson.
  • Dr Joseph Kandeh (awarded 2011) Multi-scale and Geospatial Assessment of Social Vulnerability and Coping Capacity. Funding: Commonwealth. With Dr. Chris Davies.
  • Dr Gina Cavan (awarded 2010) Modelling Climate Change: Interactions with Tourism and Environmental Capacity. Funding EPSRC. With Prof John Handley.
  • Dr Noresah Shariff (awarded 2007) Land use and growth impacts of new highways in Malaysia. With Prof Michael Hebbert. Funding: Malaysian Government.
  • Dr Noorazuan Md Hashim (awarded 2006) The impact of urbanisation on rainfall-runoff relationships in the Mersey catchment, UK. With Professor Ian Douglas. Funding: Malaysian Government.
  • Dr Manoj Roy (awarded 2006) Sustainability in the Urban Fringe of Developing Countries - a case study in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With Prof. John Handley.
  • Dr Crispin Bloomfield (awarded 2006) Reconstructive modelling in a Midwest region of Ireland. With Dr. David Shimwell

Further information


Other research

Selected climate adaptation and related projects

2010-13 Climate Change & Urban Vulnerability in Africa (CLUVA). 13 partners, 6 in Africa. SL the Manchester PI leading Task 2.2 on urban ecosystems and contributing to overall project management

2010-11 Justice, Vulnerability & Climate Change: An Integrated Framework (Joseph Rowntree Foundation). Project brings together ethical and empirical analysis of distribution of vulnerabilities to climate change. SL (Co-I) led empirical analysis of geodemographic and urban morphological data. W/ PI Prof John ONeill, SoSS

2007-10 Sustainable Cities: Options for Responding to Climate cHange Impacts & Outcomes (SCORCHIO) (EP/E017398/1). PI Levermore, MACE SL (Co-I) led WP3. Collaborators: Manchester, East Anglia, Newcastle and Sheffield with the Hadley Centre & Met Office. Research considers current and future patterns in urban heat island effect and proposes adaptation strategies

2008-11 INTERREG Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns (GRaBS). SL (Co-I) had knowledge transfer role from ASCCUE. Project aims to improve regional decision and policy making process in relation to planning and development of new and existing urban areas in 9 EU member states in the context of climate change (14 partners, 8 countries)

2007-09 Supermarket Adaptation to Future Environments (SAFE) Funded by Tesco Sustainable Consumption Institute. SL (Co-I) led WP 2 on environmental analysis. Project looked at climate change impacts and adaptations in retail sector. SL led the analytical work

2003-06 Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change in the Urban Environment (ASCCUE). EPSRC GR/S19233/01. Collaborators: Manchester, Cardiff, Southampton & Oxford Brooks. SL (Co-I) led the Manchester work package, developing risk assessment methodologies and characterising the urban environment

2006 Modelling the spatial risk of moorland wildfire. Project followed up on findings of CCVE and aimed to produce a stakeholder informed fire risk map for section 3 moorland in Peak District National Park. Funded by Moors for the Future

2004-06 Climate Change & the Visitor Economy (CCVE). Funded by Defra, Env. Agency & NW Devt Agency. SL (Co-I) led work on regional and local physical capacity analysis, contributed to analysis of climate related risk (inc. spatial risk assessment of wild fire occurrence in Peak District). 5/6 independent reviews rated the work Grade A. Led to work for Welsh Assembly

2002-04 Accessible Natural Green Space Standards in Towns and Cities: A review and toolkit for their implementation. Co-I SL w/ CURE. (Funded by English Nature). Led to follow-up project based in Wales (ANGSt II)

2001-04 Sloping Land Improvement Project (SLIP) British Council funded LINK programme w/ sub-institute of Geo in HCMC, Viet Nam (w/ Douglas & Mcmorrow)

Other research

Selected urban air pollution projects

2008-12: EU European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) (Project No. 211250). Funders EU FP7. The ESCAPE project, coordinated by Utrecht University in the Netherlands, is a study on the health effects of outdoor air pollution. It is conducted by 24 universities and research institutes and aims to improve understanding of the health effects of long-term exposure to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide. The Manchester work, led by Prof Raymond Agius (SL Co-I), involves fine particles and nitrogen dioxide monitoring and assessment of exposures and health outcomes for a Manchester-based childrens cohort

2007-09: Identification and verification of Ultrafine Particle affinity zones in urban neighbourhoods. Joint Env. & Human Health Prog NERC/Defra/EA/MOD/MRC. NE/E009565/1 PI Gallagher (SEAES), CoI (Agius, COEH). SL (CoI) led the geospatial modelling work, working with Paul Harris (Research Associate)

Research interests

Research Details

Geographical Information Science has been part of my research activity for nearly 20 years. However, I have been researching spatial patterns in emissions and pollutant concentrations for nearly as long (Lindley et al 1996; 1999; 2000; Lindley & Walsh, 2005). Recent projects in this area include the Joint Environment & Human Health Programme Affinity Zones project (Harris et al 2009) and the EU European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects project (ESCAPE). Urban air pollution and its management remains a continuing component of my ongoing research agenda.

Since 2003 I have also begun researching climate change adaptation, particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to urban heat. Themes include risk and vulnerability analysis and research into urban ecosystem services (Pauleit et al 2003; Nguyen Van De et al 2008; Dao Kim Nguyen et al 2008; Mcmorrow et al 2008; Qureshi et al 2009). This latter area of work was further developed through a network of African case study cities as part of the EU FP7 CLimate Change and Urban Vulnerability in Africa (CLUVA) project and I am now contributing to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Regional Assessment for Africa.

Having developed a spatial risk assessment and management framework through the EPSRC Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change in the Urban Environment (ASCCUE) project (Lindley et al 2006; 2007), I have subsequently sought to populate that framework with an improved evidence base for decision-making. ASCCUE helped to construct key datasets (e.g. Gill et al 2008) upon which an understanding of the geographical patterns of hazards and hazard drivers could be developed, e.g. via the Sustainable Cities: Options for Responding to Climate cHange Impacts & Outcomes (SCORCHIO) project (Smith et al 2009; 2011).

To complement this activity on hazards, I have recently been working to develop an improved understanding of the climate-related social vulnerability patterns underlying the potential for differential impacts. I have since worked on a UK wide index of socio-spatial vulnerability funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which was subsequently developed into the Climate Just information tool.

These projects have involved developing an inter-disciplinary understanding of what underpins expressions of risk and the methods which can be used to quantify associated geographical patterns. Learning is being brought together in a new multi-disciplinary project into urban ecosystem services in Greater Manchester, Green Infrastructure and the Health and wellbeing Influences on an Ageing population (GHIA). Much of my work has been based in the urban laboratory of Greater Manchester, but the methods, tools and results which flow from it are often more widely transferable both in the UK and elsewhere.



My teaching commitments vary from year to year. However, the following are indicative of my teaching contributions:

Year 1

  • GEOG 11092 - Approaches to Geographical Research Introduction to GIS and remote sensing
  • GEOG 12011 - Academic Tutorials

Year 2

  • GEOG 20380 - Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing students develop a practical portfolio containing results from two assessed practicals
  • GEOG 20820 - Doing Geographical Research: Dissertation tutorials
  • GEOG 20072 - Overseas fieldwork (Iceland)

Year 3

  • GEOG 30180 - Applying GIS: Air Quality Management module: students use GIS to construct a spatial emissions inventory.
  • GEOG 30700 - Third Year Team Projects


  • GEOG 60951 - MSc Geographical Information Science: GIS and Environmental Applications covering an introduction to GIS, practical assignments and a longer environmental application project.
  • MSc Dissertation Tutoring


BA (Hull), M.Sc. (Edinburgh), PhD (MMU)

Education, Qualifications and Career

  • 2017 - to date; Professor of Geography, Department of Geography, School of Environment, Education and Development (Geography), University of Manchester
  • 2015 – 2017: Reader in GIS, School of Environment, Education and Development (Geography), University of Manchester
  • 2009 – 2015: Senior Lecturer in GIS, School of Environment and Development (Geography) University of Manchester
  • 2001 – 2009: Lecturer in GIS, School of Geography, University of Manchester
  • 1999 – 2001: Research Associate, Centre for Urban and Regional Ecology (CURE), School of Planning and Landscape, University of Manchester
  • 1996 – 1999: Research Fellow Atmospheric Research and Information Centre (ARIC) Manchester Metropolitan University
  • 1993 – 1998: Atmospheric Research and Information Centre (ARIC) Manchester Metropolitan University PhD ‘Development of a spatially resolved emissions inventory for local air quality management applications’ (University scholarship)
  • 1992 – 1993: MSc Geographical Information Systems University of Edinburgh (NERC scholarship)
  • 1987 – 1991: BA (Hons) Geography, University of Hull

Professional Activities

  • 2017 - date: Research Director, Department of Geography
  • 2015 – date: Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Regional Assessment for Africa
  • 2012 – date: Mentorship of Geography's Environmental Processes Research Group
  • 2007 – 2010: Coordinator of Postgraduate Research for Geography
  • 2002 – 2009: Member of Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group
  • 2005 – 2008: Member of the Faculty of Humanities Professorial Promotions Committee
  • 2003 – 2006: Chair of the EPSRC Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate Data Management Group
  • 2001 – 2011: Co-Director of CURE
  • 2000 – 2001: Manager of the Centre for Urban and Regional Ecology (CURE)


Research interests

I am a quantitative geographer specialising in the use of geospatial analysis to understand the outcomes of human-environment interactions. My main research interests are associated with urban air pollution, climate adaptation and urban ecosystem services. Much of my research activity is motivated by the need to develop sustainable responses to current and future environmental challenges. I therefore often work in multi-disciplinary teams and in collaboration with stakeholders. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Thomas Ashton Institute
  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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