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I am a human geographer but much of my teaching is on our hazards and disaster management courses. I use interactive teaching methods, involving realistic scenarios wherever possible, to convey this exciting, dynamic and increasingly important subject. I also involve practitioners in the courses, so students can share their knowledge first hand and develop skills used in a range of different hazards and disaster/emergency contexts. This, along with field work, ensures our students are well prepared for the workplace when they graduate.
Previously based in the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University, in 2010 I was awarded my PhD - 'The Conscious Community: Belonging, identities and networks in local communities' response to flooding'. This qualitative research examined the varied ways in which local people respond to flooding and what enables or hinders their ability to work together as a 'local community'.
I continue to conduct qualitative research on the social aspects of hazards, focusing in particular but not exclusively on flooding in the UK. I take a critical approach to key concepts such as vulnerability and resilience which shape our approach to managing disasters.
Some recent research themes include:
The potential for spatial planning to promote resilience to flooding and erosion in Europe
Community resilience in emergency response and recovery situations in the UK
The role of small businesses in community resilience
For more info:
Senior lecturer in Human Geography
Researcher on the European THESEUS project (Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate) Grant Agreement 244104. This was the largest Integrated Project within coastal risk assessment and mitigation funded by the European Commission (6,530,000 €) and consisted of 31 partner institutes. The THESEUS-project consortium developed a Decision Support System (DSS) to help decision makers and practitioners design sustainable coastal protection strategies. My role was to explore the potential of spatial planning to promote resilience and reduce the impacts that hazards have on the coast. Qualitative research methods were used to compare across a number of European field sites. July 2012 - Nov 2013.
Member of the expert advisory group for the 'Flood Advocacy & Support Service for Communities in Wales' research project for the Welsh Government. The project was carried out by AD Research and Analysis together with researchers at Cardiff University. (Completed July 2012)
Developed a successful shared research application with Collingwood Environmental Planning for a project proposed by the UK Government Cabinet Office (funded by DSTL). Co-authored final report. Helped to organise and facilitate a workshop bringing together: Cabinet Office and DSTL staff, Emergency Planners, Neighbourhood Managers (local council), Environment Agency officers, Health Protection Agency staff, National Flood Forum Representatives, community members and academics. (Completed April 2012)
Researcher on EPSRC/RGS-IBG funded project: "An exploration of the factors influencing small business adoption of flood resilience measures" (Completed Nov 2011)
Report editor and contributor to the EU funded CapHaz-Net Research Project - Social Capacity Building for Natural Hazards: Toward More Resilient Societies, WP3 Risk Perception. Dialogik, Germany (Completed Sept 2010)
Coates, Tracey and Tapsell, Sue (2019) Planning for an uncertain future : the challenges of a locally based collaborative approach to coastal development decisions. Environmental Science and Policy, 101, pp. 24-31. ISSN (online) 1462-9011
Coates, Tracey (2015) Understanding local community construction through flooding: The ‘conscious community’ and the possibilities for locally based communal action. Geo : Geography and Environment, 2(1), pp. 55-68. ISSN (online) 2054-4049