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Steve Cinderby
Senior Researcher; Co-leader SEI Transforming Governance research theme



Steve Cinderby, PhD in Participatory GIS methods, MSc in Remote Sensing and BSc in Geography. Steve has over 25 years of professional experience working in developing country and European research projects. He has worked at SEI-York since 1991 was Deputy Director from 1996 to 2014. He is now a Senior Researcher focussed on community resilience, urbanisation issues (including green infrastructure and mobility) and their links to wellbeing. He also helps lead the SEI Transforming Governance research theme which examines how governance processes can become more inclusive and accountable, and how governance outcomes can become more effective and equitable.

Key skills

Community resilience building and pro-environmental behavioural change; Co-design and co-investigation of environmental management; Participatory Geographic information systems application and training; GIS (ESRI Arc GIS and Q-GIS); qualitative research methods including qualitative research software (NVivo), research ethics.


  • PhD (Environmental Science), University of York
  • MSc (Applied Remote Sensing and Image Processing, Cranfield Institute of Technology)
  • BSc (Geography, Anglia Polytechnic University)
  • 2014 - Present Senior Researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute (University of York centre), York, UK.
  • 1996 - 2014 Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (University of York centre), York, UK.
  • 1991 – 1996 Research Associate, Stockholm Environment Institute at York, York, UK.
  • 1990-1991 Remote Sensing Laboratory Technician, Cranfield Institute of Technology

Departmental roles

  • Ethics Committee Member



Steve specialises in the use of geographic information systems (GIS), participatory methods and behaviour change initiatives. His Participatory GIS methods have been applied in developing countries assessing natural resource use and agriculture water management and the in the UK investigating environmental concerns including flood management, rural inequalities and urban redevelopment.
Steve has been involved in a number of behaviour change initiatives including a personalised marketing campaign to change travel behaviour. He has worked on an initiative trying to build community resilience and sustainability in a social housing community in York. He has also evaluated the behaviour change impacts of green infrastructure on businesses, visitors and residents in terms of wellbeing, economics and consumption patterns.
He has extensive experience of project management and has provided training and capacity building institutes in diverse locations including Tanzania, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Netherlands, South Africa, China, Ivory Coast and India.


2013-2016 Mobility, Mood and Place (Funder: Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, UK)
The three-year research project funded by the EPSRC through the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Cross-Council Programme, builds on evidence that how we experience environments influences our mood and, in turn, our willingness to be active. Bringing together experts from the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, York and King’s College London, the research is partnered by a network of stakeholder bodies and involves co-design with a range of participants, including stroke survivors and people with dementia, as well as innovative mobile neural imaging methods to explore real-time emotional responses to place. Working with the Lothian Birth Cohorts of people in their 70s and 90s, our research is the first to consider the influence of local environments in which people have lived from childhood.
SEI York staff: Chris Neale

2013-2016 Co-Motion - mobility and well-being (Funder: Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, UK)
The Co-Motion project is investigating the links between mobility and well-being among older people. We all experience major changes in our lives, particularly as we grow older, and these changes can make a difference to mobility and well-being. The project will work with older people in York, Leeds and Hexham who have experienced such changes. This will lead to intensive co-design workshops with older people to create policies and tools to make this easier, as well as work with national and local stakeholders.
SEI York staff: Howard Cambridge

2011-2017 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) (Funder: Natural Environment Research Council, UK)
BESS is a six-year research programme designed to answer fundamental questions about the functional role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes and the delivery of ecosystem processes at the landscape scale and how these are likely to change in an uncertain future.
SEI York staff: Howard Cambridge, Annemarieke de Bruin, Erik Willis, Kevin Hicks

2015-16 Whole System Value Modelling (Funder: N8)
This pilot interdisciplinary research brings together different stakeholders knowledge and perspectives of environmental management processes into one coherent framework. Building upon the Millennium Assessment framing – focussed discussions with farmers in a watershed have been undertaken using participatory mapping to identify their production approach and consequent environmental impacts but also critically linking these to the management of landscapes and ultimately farmer’s wellbeing. Using complementary information from the water industry this pilot project aims to investigate whether this knowledge can be usefully combined within Bayesian modelling. The models will be tested to identify opportunities to mitigate water pollution without compromising farmer’s operations including wellbeing.
SEI York staff: Jon Ensor

2015-16 Transforming Development and Disaster Risk (Funder: Sida)
This project seeks to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) with equitable, sustainable and resilient development. It will carry out context-specific research on a range of disaster risks to pursue development that enables society to take account of new and emerging risks.
SEI York staff: John Forrester, Jon Ensor, Neela Matin

2015-16 Behaviour and Choice (Funder: Sida)
This project will examine how to bring about changes in behaviour, choice and decision-making at the household level. By doing so it will support the design and implementation of more effective development programmes and governance interventions. Decision making around cookstoves are currently being investigated in Kenya.


PhD Students

Gabor Makrai, PhD Computer Science (Ongoing) “Decision support tools” – Joint Supervisor

Guido Rutten, PhD Environmental Science

Lena Jeha, PhD Environmental Science (Ongoing) “REDD+ Conservation in Mt Elgon Forest Reserve” – Joint Supervisor

Alex Dorgan, PhD Environmental Science (Ongoing) “REDD+ Conservation in Tanzanian Forest Reserves” – Joint Supervisor (student registered at Sheffield University)


Selected publications

2017 Tilley S., Neale, C., Patuano A., and Cinderby S.  "Older People’s Experiences of Mobility and Mood in an Urban Environment: A Mixed Methods Approach Using Electroencephalography (EEG) and Interviews". Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 14(2), 151 doi: 10.3390/ijerph14020151

2016 Bracken, L.J., Oughton,E.A. , Donaldson,  A., Cook,B ., Forrester, J. Spray, C., Cinderby,  S., Passmore, D. and N. Bissett. "Flood risk management, an approach to managing cross-border hazards".  Natural Hazards, 82(Suppl 2): 217. doi: 10.1007/s11069-016-2284-2

 2015 Cinderby, S., Haq, G., Cambridge, H., and Lock, K. “Building community resilience: Can everyone enjoy a good life?” Local Environment. doi: 10.1080/13549839.2015.1100597.

2015 Rich, K.J., Ridealgh, M., West, S.E., Cinderby, S., Ashmore, M., “Exploring the Links between Post-Industrial Landscape History and Ecology through Participatory Methods”. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0136522. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136522.

2015 Forrester, J., Cook, B., Bracken, L., Cinderby, S. and A. Donaldson “Combining participatory mapping with Q-methodology to map stakeholder perceptions of complex environmental problems” Applied Geography, vol. 56, Jan 2015, Pages 199–208.

2012 Cinderby, S., de Bruin, A., White, P.C.L., and Huby, M. “Analyzing Perceptions of Inequalities in Rural Areas of England Using a Mixed-methods Approach”. Public Participation Geographic Information Systems Special Issue. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 1–92.

2011 Cinderby, S., De Bruin, A., Mbilinyi, B., Barron, J. And Kongo, V. “Participatory Geographic Information Systems for Agricultural Water Management Scenario Development: A Tanzanian Case Study.” International Journal of Physics and Chemistry. Waternet 2010 Special Issue.

2009 Cinderby, S. “How to reach the ‘hard-to-reach’: the development of Participatory Geographic Information Systems (P-GIS) for inclusive urban design in UK cities”. Area, 2009.

Full publications list

See full list on SEI website

Steve Cinderby

Steve Cinderby

Telephone: 07552 285888