Sarah Crowe

PhD student

Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, Energy Environment and Society

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Following completion of a BA (hons) in Archaeology and English and an MA entitled, ‘Cities, Culture and Regeneration’ at The University of Liverpool, Sarah went on to work across the UK for local authorities and large housing associations. During this time, Sarah played a lead role in the locality planning process, developing community action plans and community planning engagement activity. She also developed and implemented projects in regeneration areas in partnership with community groups and businesses. These projects were aimed at delivering economic growth and physical redevelopment as well improvements to the social, environmental and cultural aspects of these areas.

Sarah returned to university in 2019 to complete an MSc in Spatial Planning with Urban Conservation, graduating with a distinction from the University of Dundee. Alongside her studies, Sarah worked as a Planning Officer at SEPA in which she led responses to planning application consultations in relation to flood risk. She also advised on opportunities for placemaking and for the enhancement of blue/ green infrastructure and worked to ensure that environmental objectives were integrated within development.


Supervisors: Professor Sue Dawson and Dr Husam Al Waer

Waterfronts in cities constitute part of the critical boundary between the natural and man-made environments, intimately linking the city and its residents with water. Waterfronts are core to the network of blue and green spaces within urban areas and encompass a range of uses with economic, social, environmental and well-being benefits. The impacts of climate change means that we will see more extremes of rainfall and threats from coastal and urban flooding, threatening these mixed-use spaces. Resilience to climate change is one of the key components of change that waterfront cityscapes must address. In particular, the exposure to climate change-related extreme weather events in this mixed-use space. 

The overall aim of the research is to investigate how placemaking and blue green infrastructure can combine to mitigate flood risk and deliver liveable waterfronts. Place-based, rather than engineering solutions to flood risk, as utilised in Hafen City, Hamburg, see water as an integral part of the landscape. They highlight the importance of ensuring mixed use open spaces and sustainable design and infrastructure when designing and delivering climate change adaptations to flooding threats. A key focus of this PhD lies in the developments in flood risk management and assessment of risk using a multi-disciplinary approach. It includes input from engineering, geoscience, policy and urban planning. Furthermore, it will utilise community-based approaches to resilience and well-being. 

The anticipated outcomes of this research include the delivery of a suite of recommendations regarding how to combine blue green infrastructure with placemaking which will be applicable to multiple coastal cities. It will also aim to influence policy by using the Tay waterfront as a demonstrator of how placemaking can combine with blue and green infrastructure to deliver liveable waterfronts. Furthermore, the research will expand our knowledge regarding areas and level of flood risk along the Dundee waterfront.

Research Interests

I am interested in how placemaking, urban planning, community engagement and nature-based solutions can combine to mitigate flood risk and increase climate resilience.


Urban Conservation Module Lead
This module aims to develop specialist knowledge into the challenges presented in regenerating and sustainably managing historic urban places and demonstrates the constraints and opportunities encountered by the planner working within the historic environment. It provides an introduction to the principles which underpin contemporary urban conservation practice, and the statutory, procedural and executive responsibilities of local planning authorities.

Urban Regeneration (Summer School Module)
This module investigates urban regeneration as a means of improving the social, cultural, physical and economic issues which an area may face. Specifically, the module explores how and why places may vary over time before looking at why regeneration activities may be needed. It also provides an introduction into how the qualities of a place may be evaluated and some of the strategies used in regeneration. The module concludes by looking into how successful regeneration has been and the factors which make a sustainable city.