Geography / Geology
School of Environmental Sciences

David Gibbs

Professor David Gibbs

Professor of Human Geography

School of Environmental Sciences

  • Profile
  • Teaching
  • Research Interests
  • PhD Supervision
  • Recent Publications
  • Twitter



I completed my BA degree at the University of Manchester and then returned to Manchester after working for a year, to undertake my PhD, which dealt with spatial restructuring in the British clothing industry.  After a very short period working as a consultant in London, I was employed as a research associate at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University.  In 1985 I moved to Manchester Metropolitan University (then Manchester Polytechnic) as a Lecturer in Geography, and subsequently became Senior Lecturer, Principal Lecturer and finally Reader in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences.  In 1996 I moved to Hull to take up the post of Professor of Human Geography and was recently Head of Department.

I have also held visiting posts in the Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, the School of Earth Sciences, Macquarie University, New South Wales, and Monash University, Victoria. I am a member of the editorial boards of Local Environment, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Environment and Planning C and NETCOM.



  • 16208 : Field Study Italy
  • 16275 : Economies and Territories
  • 16463 : Contemporary Research in Human Geography

Research Interests

Research Interests

  • City-regions, new economic spaces and sustainability
    I am working with Andy Jonas and Aidan While (Sheffield University) on two inter-related projects. First, we have had funding from the British Academy for a project entitled ‘Understanding the Growth Dynamic of New Economic Spaces: The Role of a Politics of Collective Provision’. Second, have worked on a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation entitled ‘Growth Politics and Planning for High-Tech New industrial Spaces in Asia’ which extends the British Academy-funded work to studies of Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur.  
    I am also working with Rob Krueger (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA) on a project entitled ‘The New Economy, Sustainability and Regional Development’.
  • Genetics and biosciences
    I have been engaged on two projects in the area of biosciences and genetics. First, together with Professor Chris Cocklin (James Cook University) and Dr. Jacqui Dibden (Monash University), I worked on an Australian Research Council funded project looking at regulation and governance of GMOs in the food and agriculture sectors in Australia and the UK. Details of the project are available here
    Second, I worked on an ESRC-funded project entitled ‘Genetics, Genomics and Genetic Modification in Agriculture: Emerging Knowledge-Practices in Making and Managing Farm Livestock’ with Lewis Holloway, Ben Gilna (now at the Centre for Biosafety, Tromso), Carol Morris (Nottingham) and John Dupre (Exeter).
  • Low carbon economies
    From January 2010-December 2012 I worked on a project entitled ‘Low Carbon Shipping: A Systems Approach'. This was a £1.6m EPSRC-funded project as part of a consortium between University College London, Newcastle University, Strathclyde University, Plymouth University and Hull University. The project was concerned with reducing carbon emissions from the shipping industry at all stages from ship design through to transport logistics. My role in the project was as part of a work package on Shipping, Ports and Logistics, with a specific focus on port operations and the environmental impact of ports.
    I also worked on a project together with Sally Eden and Paul Barratt (Staffordshire University) into Low Carbon Supply Chains funded through the Centre for Low Carbon Futures from March 2010-February 2012. This also involved the Universities of York and Sheffield. Our part of the project was to research the nature of current supply chain interventions by firms to reduce carbon emissions, as well as the policy context. 
  • Green Entrepreneurs: Transition to a Sustainable Economy?
    This project is funded by the University of Hull from April 2011-March 2013. Together with Kirstie O’Neill, I am examining what makes for successful green entrepreneurs and how can Britain encourage more of them? To date, there has been a lot of discussion about the potential of the green economy to help the national economy (in terms of generating jobs and GDP) but relatively little academic work has been conducted with those entrepreneurs running green businesses. As well as offering a snapshot of the state of green business in the UK, the project aims to provide insights into how policy makers can best serve green entrepreneurs. The research has conducted detailed interviews with over 50 green businesses as well as policy makers and support organisations. In particular, we have interviewed entrepreneurs trying to make a difference to the environment through their business and where an environmental commitment is intrinsic to the business and not just an add-on. We are interested in what really motivates people to become green entrepreneurs in the first place, what challenges or opportunities they face and why some regions seem to foster green businesses more successfully than others. Project website
  • Searching for New Dynamics in Climate Change Politics: Impact and Implications of EU-China Cooperation
    This project is funded by a British Academy Small Research Grant/Sino-British Fellowship Trust from April 2012-March 2014. I am working on this with my colleague Xiudian Dai in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Hull. The aim is to investigate the development of the partnership between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China to address climate change. Addressing GHG reductions and climate change are now a key part of the domestic political agenda in China with the development of a comprehensive climate change policy. This is at odds with perceptions outside China of an unwillingness to forgo economic development at the expense of the control of GHGs and debates as to whether the Chinese government will agree binding GHG reduction targets. For EU policy makers, China is not only a contributor to global warming, but may also be a source of global solutions. The rationale for this is a belief that there may be a win-win outcome for both the EU and China - the EU needs China to help achieve a post-Kyoto deal, China can access the latest clean energy technologies from the EU, helping to deliver its domestic climate change policies. We are examining the two-way benefits that this may bring, in contrast to most research which has either focused on the economic challenges to the West or on the global environmental consequences from China’s recent development. In particular, we are exploring the views and attitudes of both EU and Chinese policy makers rather than limit ourselves to Western perceptions.
  • Potential Research Topic Areas for PhD Supervision
  • Governance in local and regional development
  • GMOs and the biosciences sector
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Eco-industrial development and industrial ecology
  • Green entrepreneurs
  • Sustainability transitions
  • New technologies and regional development

PhD Supervision

Current PhD Supervision

  • PhD China Scholarship Council, Green entrepreneurs in China, Zhen Yu.
  • PhD Brunei Government, Sungai Lian Industrial Park: Can Brunei achieve sustainable industrial development, Sarinah Omar
  • PhD Brunei Government, Analysis of the suitability of the socio-technical transition to the development of low carbon transportation in Brunei Darussalam, Muhammad Amirruddin Haji Abdullah.
  • PhD, From the ground up: community food production practices for well-being, sustainability and social cohesion, Jennifer Nielsen

Recent Publications

Recent Publications

For a full list of publications, please visit my google Scholar page.


  • Gibbs, D and O’Neill, K (forthcoming) Rethinking socio-technical transitions and green entrepreneurship: the potential for transformative change in the green building sector, Environment and Planning A.
  • Gibbs, D, Rigot-Muller, P, Mangan, J and Lalwani, C (forthcoming)The role of sea ports in end-to-end maritime transport chain emissions, Energy Policy.
  • Rigot-Muller, P, Lalwani, C, Mangan, J, Gregory, O, Gibbs, D (2013) Optimizing end-to-end maritime supply chains: A carbon footprint perspective, International Journal of Logistics Management, 24(3), early view.
  • O’Neill, K and Gibbs, D (2013): Towards a sustainable economy? Socio-technical transitions in the green building sector, Local Environment, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2013.818954.
  • While, A, Gibbs, D and Jonas, A (2013) The competition state, city-regions, and the territorial politics of growth facilitation, Environment and Planning A, 45, 2379-2398.
  • Gibbs, D, Krueger, R and MacCleod, G (2013) Grappling with smart city politics in an era of market triumphalism, Urban Studies, 50(11), 2151-2157.


  • Dibden, J, Gibbs, D and Cocklin, C (2012) Framing GM crops as a food security solution, Journal of Rural Studies (available online).
  • Gibbs, D and Krueger, R (2012) Fractures in meta-narratives of development: An interpretive institutionalist account of land use development in the Boston city region, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(2), 363-380
  • Gibbs, D and O’Neill, K (forthcoming 2012) Green Entrepreneurship: Building a Green Economy? Evidence from the UK in S Underwood, R Blundel, F Lyon & A Murray (eds) Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Volume II: Social and Sustainable Enterprise: Changing the Nature of Business, Bradford: Emerald.
  • Koh, S C, Genovese, A, Acquaye, A, Barratt, P, Rana, N, Kuylenstierna, J and Gibbs, D (2012) Decarbonising product supply chains: design and development of an integrated evidence-based decision support system – the supply chain environmental analysis tool (SCEnAT), International Journal of Production Research (available on-line).


  • Jonas, A, While, A and Gibbs, D (2011) Carbon control regimes, eco-state restructuring and the politics of local and regional development in A. Pike, A. Rodriguez-Posé and J. Tomaney (eds.) Handbook of Local and Regional Development, 283-294.
  • Jonas, A, While, A and Gibbs, D (2011) The new urban politics as a politics of carbon control, Urban Studies, 48(12), 2537-2554.


  • Dorfman, P, Gibbs, D, Leksmono, N, Longhurst, J and Weitkamp, E (2010) Exploring the context of consultation: the case of local air quality management, Local Environment, 15(1), 15-26.
  • Jonas, A, While, A and Gibbs, D (2010) Managing infrastructural and service demand in new economic spaces: The new territorial politics of collective provision, Regional Studies, 44(2), 183-200.
  • Leksmono, N, Dorfman, P, Burnet, F, Gibbs, D, Longhurst, J  and Weitkamp, E (2010) Enhancing consultation practices on Air Quality Management in local authorities, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 53(5), 559-571.
  • While, A, Jonas, A and Gibbs, D (2010) From sustainable development to carbon control: eco-state restructuring and the politics of urban and regional development, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35(1), 76-93.


  • Gibbs, D (2009) Eco-industrial parks and industrial ecology: strategic niche or mainstream development? in F Boons and J Howard-Grenville (eds.) The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology, Edward Elgar, 73-102.
  • Gibbs, D, Holloway, L, Gilna, B and Morris, C (2009) Genetic techniques for livestock breeding: Restructuring institutional relationships in agriculture, Geoforum 40, 1041-1049.
  • Holloway, L, Morris, C, Gilna, B and Gibbs, D (2009) Biopower, genetics and livestock breeding: (re)constituting animal populations and heterogeneous biosocial collectivities, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 34(3), 394-407.
  • Krueger, R and Gibbs, D (2009) Competitive global city regions and ‘sustainable development’: An interpretive institutionalist account in the South East of England, Environment and Planning A 42(4), 821-837.


  • Gibbs, D (2008) Industrial symbiosis and eco-industrial development: An introduction, Geography Compass, 2/4, 1138-1154.
  • Gibbs, D (2008) Sustainable entrepreneurs, ecopreneurs and the development of a sustainable economy, Greener Management International, 55, 62-77.
  • Krueger, R and Gibbs, D (2008) Third wave sustainability?  Sustainable development, smart growth and regional development in the US, Regional Studies, 42, 1263-1274.
  • McManus, P and Gibbs, D (2008) Industrial Ecosystems?  The Use of Tropes in the Industrial Ecology and Eco-Industrial Park Literature, Progress in Human Geography 32(4) 525-540.
    • Cocklin, C, Dibden, J and Gibbs, D (2008) Competitiveness versus ‘clean and green’? The regulation and governance of GMOs in Australia and the UK, Geoforum, 39(1), 161-173.
    • Deutz, P and Gibbs, D (2008) Industrial ecology and regional development: Eco-industrial development as cluster policy, Regional Studies, 42, 1313-1327.


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