MA (Geography), PhD (Geography) (Edinburgh)

Human geography

Professor Gordon Waitt is a cultural geographer interested in the social impacts of energy poverty and household sustainability. In recent years, he has worked with colleagues on the dilemmas of household sustainability, ethnically-diverse environmental knowledge and low-income energy household energy upgrades. Central to his research is the importance of everyday experiences. He employs mixed-qualitative research methods, conducting fieldwork across Australia, but primarily in Wollongong and Sydney. Qualitative research highlights everyday experiences, routines and rhythms. This approach brings forward the importance of the seemingly mundane in policy debates, thereby offering new ways to think about energy and environmental justice. For example, although many people understand the importance of household sustainability, how they make sense of home, self and family relies on consumptive lifestyles, including their use of cars, air conditioners and multiple refrigerators. Likewise, some migrants from the Majority World arrive with understandings of household water as precious and limited; however once exposed to the Australian network of pipes and dams, their awareness and usage may quickly change to one of endless supply. Finally, low older income households may ‘make do’ with minimum heating and cooling not only to reduce energy bills but to sustain understandings of themselves as ‘strong’ and ‘independent’. Central to his contribution is the identification of these dilemmas and offering potential was to address them. His latest ARC-funded research investigates the challenges of bicycles as a solution to traffic congestion, young people’s use of sports betting applications and the everyday experiences of individuals who rely upon powered mobility devices.  

1. Waitt, G & Harada, T 2019, Spaces of energy wellbeing: Social housing tenants’ everyday experiences of fuel poverty, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers,

2. Waitt, G., Roggeveen, K., Gordon, R., Butler, K. & Cooper, P. 2016, Tyrannies of thrift: Governmentality and older, low-income people's energy efficiency narratives in the Illawarra, Australia, Energy Policy 3745

3. Waitt, G. 2018 Ethnic diversity, scarcity and drinking water: a provocation to rethink provisioning metropolitan mains water, Australian

 Geographer, 49:2, 273-290, DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2017.1394805

4. Waitt 2014 Bodies that sweat: the affective responses of young women in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, Gender, Place &

 Culture, 21:6, 666-682, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2013.802668

5. Waitt G, & Nowroozipour, F. 2018 Embodied geographies of domesticated water: transcorporeality, translocality and moral terrains, Social & Cultural Geography, DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2018.1550582