Dr Debbie Hopkins
  • Department Research Lecturer in Transport Studies
  • Junior Research Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford


Debbie joined the Transport Studies Unit (TSU), in February 2016, as a research fellow in low carbon mobility and energy demand. In June 2017, Debbie became jointly appointed by the TSU and the School of Geography and the Environment as a Departmental Research Lecturer. Debbie completed her master's degree (with distinction) from King's College London in 2010, and PhD from the University of Otago (New Zealand) in December 2013.

From 2014 to 2016, Debbie was a research fellow on the Energy Cultures research programme at the Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago (New Zealand). She also held a postdoctoral position with the Otago Climate Change Network (2013-2014). Debbie is an associate investigator on the Built Environment and Active Transport to School (BEATS) project (School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago), and a research affiliate of the Centre for Sustainability (Otago). Her research is broadly concerned with the social dimensions of climate change, the social practice of mobility, and low-carbon mobility transitions. Debbie is the Associate Editor (Sustainable Transport & Mobilities) of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

Current Research

Debbie is a human geographer and environmental social scientist, interested in socio-spatial interpretations and experiences of environmental issues. Her research is broadly concerned with the social dimensions of climate change, socio-technical transitions, and the mobility of people and goods. This is informed by the following interrelated research directions:

  • The social practice of mobility;
  • Low carbon mobility transitions;
  • Innovations to reduce transport energy demand and carbon emissions;
  • Social dimensions of urban goods mobility;
  • Socially determined perceptions of weather, climate and climate change, risk perceptions, representations of climate change, and frames of vulnerability;
  • Climate change and tourism

Debbie is a research fellow with the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, a collaboration between the Universities of Sussex, Manchester and Oxford. At CIED, Debbie's research is examining the energy implications of smart and automated goods mobility.


Debbie teaches on the Final Honour School (FHS) and MSc programme in Geography. She teaches part of the FHS Special Subject course 'Transport and Mobilities' along with Dr Tim Schwanen and Dr Jennie Middleton. Debbie also teaches part of the 'Cities, Mobility and Climate Change' Elective to students across the School's MSc Students, led by Dr Tim Schwanen.

Debbie teaches on the Department of Continuing Education MSc Sustainable Urban Development module 'transport and sustainability', and is involved in the TSU's short-course programme 'Global Challenges in Transport'. Between April 2016 and March 2017, Debbie was the acting course director for the Global Challenges in Transport programme, and module leader for the MSUD transport and sustainability module.

Debbie has previously taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses on research method, environment & society, energy, transport & mobility, and climate change.


Debbie actively seeks out opportunities for engagement beyond academia. To this end, she has contributed to a sustainability column with the Otago Daily Times (Otago), and helped with the development of city and national government policy (e.g. the advisory/ technical group, Te Ao Turoa - Dunedin's draft Environment Strategy, Dunedin City Council). Debbie was a founding committee member of the New Zealand Royal Society Early Career Researcher Forum, and the Otago Climate Change Network, and is a committee member of the RGS-IBG Transport Geography Research Group.



Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Hopkins, D. (forthcoming) Winter sports resources, climate change and the ironies of sports-related mobilities. Chapter 7 in, Higham, J.E.S. and Hinch, T. (eds.) Sport Tourism Development (Edition 3). Channel View Publications, Clevedon, UK.
  • Hopkins, D. and Higham, J.E.S. (forthcoming) Climate change and tourism. In, Cooper, C., Gartner, B., Scott, N. and Volo, S. (eds.) Sage Handbook of Tourism Management. SAGE, London, UK.
  • Hopkins, D. and Markowitz, E. (forthcoming) Geographies of climate change. In, Nisbet, M.C., Schafer, M., Markowitz, E., Ho, S., O'Neill, S. and Thaker, J. (eds.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
  • Hopkins, D. and Mandic, S. (2017) Purposeful leisure mobilities: reframing the walk to school. In, Hall, C.M., Ram, Y. and Shoval, N. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Walking Studies: Leisure, Travel and Wellbeing. Routledge, London. 488 pp. ISBN: 978-1-13-819534-9.
  • Higham, J.E.S. and Hopkins, D. (2014) Wildlife viewing: “Call it consumption!”. Chapter 22 in, Gossling, S., Scott, D. and Hall, M. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and Sustainability. Routledge, London.
  • Hopkins, D. and Becken, S. (2014) Socio-cultural resilience. Chapter 39 in, Hall, M., Williams, A. and Lew, A. (eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Tourism. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-118-47448-8.
  • Hopkins, D. and Higham, J.E.S. (2012) Framework conventions for climate change: An analysis of global framework conventions with reference to resource governance and environmental management approaches in New Zealand. Chapter 22 in, Holden, A. and Fennell, D. (eds.) A Handbook of Tourism and the Environment. Routledge, London. pp. 227-240.


Book Reviews

Selected media Coverage