As a Senior Research Fellow (Associate Professor) at the Stockholm Environment Institute (in the Department of Environment and Geography, University of York), Jon is a social scientist with research interests in processes that can lead to increasingly equitable human development. This work cuts across the fields of development studies, human geography and environmental governance. He has a particular focus on community-based climate change adaptation and the governance of food and agriculture at different scales. Recently, this has translated into work investigating the potential of participatory planning and social learning processes as a means of accounting for power and social justice in ‘resilient’ development. Jon's background in human rights development practice informs his work and research interests remain applied and, as such, frequently interdisciplinary, with a particular emphasis on reconciling social science insights with the application of physical science to real-world problems.
Currently, Jon leads work on ‘Equitable Resilience’ within SEI’s Transforming Development and Disaster Risk (TDDR) initiative. TDDR aims to improve understanding of how risks are created and how they accumulate. Analysis builds on the recognition that disaster risk and development are closely linked: the people and assets exposed to risk as well as the extent of their susceptibility and capacity are largely determined by developmental processes. The study of ‘Equitable Resilience’ is key to this work, as resilience is frequently framed as a strategy to link development, disaster risk reduction and recovery imperatives, yet lacks a coherent description of how social relations underpin the distribution of costs and benefits. His current research projects include:
a GCRF funded project that is investigating the drivers of (in)equitable resilience in Bangladesh (PI);
a DFID funded project exploring how environmental impact simulations can be embedded in participatory approaches to livestock livelihood planning across three countries in sub-Saharan Africa (PI);
a GCRF funded project investigating how scientists and engineers can work with vulnerable communities in Vanuatu through integrated participatory technology development for water monitoring (co-I).
In addition, for several years Jon has collaborated with Oxfam in Vanuatu to undertake research related to the resilience of communities in the most disaster-prone country in the world. This has been focused on informing Oxfam’s programming through critical engagement with practice and, in particular, has explored communities’ experiences of development and disaster (most notably following landfall of Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015). Jon recently became an Associate Editor for the journal Climate and Development.