Dr J.J. Patterson

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Research Fellow


James Patterson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM).

His current research project is titled: 'Institutional Innovation for Adapting to Climate Change in Water Governance within Cities (INNOVCITIES)'. This project investigates types and mechanisms of institutional innovation occurring in cities for enhancing adaptability under climate change. It is funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship (grant No. 659065).

James is a social science researcher in water and environmental governance, with a cross-disciplinary background spanning social and natural sciences. His core research theme is understanding social and political change for sustainability. Key theoretical lenses through which he explores this theme include: institutional change, collective action, adaptive governance, and sustainability transformations.

Before joining IVM, James was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and conducted his PhD research at the University of Queensland, Australia. Prior to this, he was a Research Consultant in urban water policy and planning at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, and was originally trained in civil and environmental engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

James is a Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance project, and a Fellow of the Future Earth young scientists programme. He has organised workshops at several international conferences, and contributed to public engagement on sustainability issues in forums such as The Conversation and The Guardian science-policy blog.

5 key publications

Beunen, R. & Patterson, J.J. (2016). Analysing institutional change in environmental governance: exploring the concept of ‘institutional work’. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2016.1257423

Patterson, J., Schulz, K., Vervoort, J., van der Hel, S., Widerberg, O., Adler, C., Hurlbert, Anderton, K., Sethi, M. & Barau, A. (2016). Exploring the governance and politics of transformations towards sustainability. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2016.09.001 

Patterson, J.J. (2016). Exploring local responses to a wicked problem: context, collective action, and outcomes in catchments in subtropical Australia. Society & Natural Resources. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2015.1132353 

Patterson, J.J., Smith, C. & Bellamy, J. (2015). Enabling and enacting ‘practical action’ in catchments: responding to the ‘wicked problem’ of nonpoint source pollution in coastal subtropical Australia. Environmental Management, 55, 479–495.

Patterson, J.J, Smith, C. & Bellamy, J. (2013). Understanding enabling capacities for managing the ‘wicked problem’ of nonpoint source water pollution in catchments: A conceptual framework. Journal of Environmental Management,128, 441–452.