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Associate Professor Janet Stephenson 

Director, Research Associate Professor

Janet Stephenson imageTel +64 3 479 8779
Email janet.stephenson@otago.ac.nz

Research background

Janet Stephenson is passionate about collaborative, interdisciplinary research. Her research interests include indigenous resource management; the interconnections between people and their local environments; and the role of individuals and organisations in the transition to a sustainable future.

Janet has been Director of the Centre for Sustainability since February 2011. Her academic background is in sociology, planning and human geography. She joined the Centre as a Senior Research Fellow at the end of 2008, having previously taught in the Geography Department at Otago University from 2002–2008.

She is the New Zealand Universities' representative on the Cross-Agency-Government Committee for the Ministry of Transport's Transport Knowledge Hub.

Janet is on the steering committee for the University of Otago research themes Catchments Otago, Otago Energy Research Centre, and Transport Research Network.

She is on the Advisory Board of INCLUDE, a Norwegian research centre for socially inclusive energy transitions.

She is also a member of the Coastal People: Southern Skies collaboration that connects communities with world-leading, cross-disciplinary research to rebuild coastal ecosystems.

Current PhD Students

  • Carsten Dortans - Changes in household energy behaviours following adoption of solar generation.
  • Sarah Harrison - Health and wellbeing impacts of climate change in South Dunedin
  • Ben Tombs - Does the Crown have obligations to act ahead of inevitable damage and loss due to climate change?
  • Jamie Metzger - The state of mauri of taonga held in museums
  • Kakau Foliaki - Energy Cultures in Tonga
  • Suzanne Claessen - Exploring children’s relations with local biodiversity through cartooning
  • Jefferson Dew - Demand response in agricultural electricity consumption
  • Will Stovall - Environmental philosophy in the Black Hills, South Dakota
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Research 

 Current projects

  • Kainga and Climate Change (2019-2024). Associate investigator in this project which is working with 7 rural Māori communities om how they and their descendants can better shape a future that builds community and environmental resilience in response to climate change. Funded by MBIE Endeavour Fund.
  • Dunedin Energy Study  (2015- ). A collaboration with Dunedin City Council, we produce annual reports assessing Dunedin’s annual consumption of different fuels, their main uses, and the related greenhouse gas emissions.

Current funded international collaborations

  • Flexeffects (2019-2022) examines how flexible electricity use among households can be achieved amongst Norwegian households, trialling various way to incentivise flexible electricity consumption. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council
  • Bioshare (2019-2022) explores bioeconomies as the ‘new oil’ for Norway and how benefit-sharing could be achieved in these new economies. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
  • Coolcrowd  (2017-2020) investigates crowdfunding as a mechanism for greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Funded by KLIMAFORSK, Norway.

Recent projects

  • Climate-Adaptive Communities (2018-19) Janet was Principal Investigator for this research programme funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge. The findings (including videos, webinars, a cartoon and policy advice) support local government staff to build community readiness to engage with coastal communities that are facing climate change challenges such as sea level rise.
  • Sustainable Seas (2017-2019) Janet was a member of the Science Leadership Team (SLT) on the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge 2017-2019. As cross-programme leader, she was responsible for the delivery of projects including how ecosystem-based management (EBM) fits into New Zealand’s legislative and policy frameworks, and an EBM case study trialled in Tasman and Golden Bays.
  • Demand Response in Agriculture (2017-2019) Janet's research in this National Science Challenge looked at the potential for dairy farmers with irrigated farms to become involved in demand response in the electricity system. PhD student Jefferson Dew  has a major role in this project.
  • Biosmart (2015-2018) Research on managing the transition to a smart bioeconomy. Led by Ruralis, Norway.
  • Vulnerable Communities and Climate Change (2017) involved a series of dialogues with stakeholders nationally about what issues communities were facing with climate change, and where research was required. Funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge, contracted to Motu.
  • Valuation Frameworks for marine decision-making (2016-2019) Janet was an Associate Investigator in this workstream of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.
  • Green Grid - Janet was a key researcher in the Green Grid research programme. The research examined how NZ’s electricity grid can be managed in future with higher levels of renewable energy, distributed generation, and consumer uptake of new grid-connected appliances such as photovoltaics, electric vehicles and energy management systems. The programme was led by the Epecentre, University of Canterbury.
  • Energy Cultures 2  - Janet led the four-year interdisciplinary Energy Cultures 2 research programme. It addressed the questions: How best might NZ realise cost-effective opportunities for energy efficiency and savings in homes, small businesses and their transport? What do new transport technologies and practices offer for greater efficiencies? The results are summarised for policy makers:
    Energy Cultures Policy Briefs

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Selected recent outreach (reports, videos)

Dunedin Energy Study 2018–19. Cook, F., Stephenson, J., & Jack, M. (2020).

Electric vehicle uptake in Dunedin 2019. Stephenson, J., & Cook, F. (2020).

Reducing GHGs on farms: A summary of options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on New Zealand livestock farms. Hamill, B. & Stephenson, J. (2020). A report from the Coolcrowd research project.

Communities and Climate Change [Cartoon strip]. Stephenson, J. & Neilson, C. (2019). From the Climate-Adaptive Communities project of the Deep South National Science Challenge.

Community Development for Climate Adaptation: One neighbourhood’s perspective. [Video] Stephenson, J. (2019). From the Climate-Adaptive Communities project of the Deep South National Science Challenge.

Community Development for Climate Adaptation: Dunedin City Council perspective. [Video]. Stephenson, J. (2019). From the Climate-Adaptive Communities project of the Deep South National Science Challenge.

Council-community engagement for a climate-impacted future. [Policy brief]. Stephenson, J., Barber, J., Barth, J., Bond, S., Diprose, G., Heyd, C., Kirk, N., Laurie-Fendall, R., Orchiston, C., Saunders, W., Simon, K., Thomas, A., Vincent, N. (2019).

Council-community engagement for climate adaptation [Webinar]. Stephenson, J. & Bond, S. (2019). From the Climate-Adaptive Communities project of the Deep South National Science Challenge.

Estimating the Technical Potential for Residential Demand Response in New Zealand: A Summary of Results. [Technical report]. Dortans, C., Anderson, B., Jack, M., & Stephenson, J. (2018). From the GREEN Grid project.

Communities and climate change: Vulnerability to rising seas and more frequent flooding [Report]. Stephenson, J., Orchiston, C., Saunders, W., Kerr, S., MacMillian, A., McKenzie, L., Bartlett, M., Boston, J., Brankin, C., Clare, S., Craddock-Henry, N., Glavovic, B., Kenderdine, S., Kennedy, M., Owen, S., Paulik, R., Rodgers, R., Torstonson, S., Tuahine, H., Willis, S. (2018). Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, Wellington.

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In the Media

New Zealand wants to build a 100% renewable electricity grid, but massive infrastructure is not the best option. The Conversation (online) (30 July 2020)

There are many things we can be doing to be setting our economy and society into a sustainable future.  Video Interview Interest (online) (23 April 2020)

Covid-19 has nothing on what’s coming Op-ed in Newsroom (online) (20 April 2020)

Wellington Flooding a Covid Recovery Reminder Op-ed in Newsroom (online) (22 April 2020)

The cost of climate change on our coasts Panel interview on Radio NZ (19 Sept 2019)

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Publications

Stephenson, J. (2020). Sustainability cultures: Exploring the relationships between cultural attributes and sustainability outcomes. In K. Legun, J. C. Keller, M. Carolan & M. M. Bell (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology (Vol. 2). (pp. 236-248). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781108554558.016

Bach, L., Hopkins, D., & Stephenson, J. (2020). Solar electricity cultures: Household adoption dynamics and energy policy in Switzerland. Energy Research & Social Science, 63, 101395. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.101395

Dortans, C., Jack, M. W., Anderson, B., & Stephenson, J. (2020). Lightening the load: Quantifying the potential for energy-efficient lighting to reduce peaks in electricity demand. Energy Efficiency, 13, 1105-1118. doi: 10.1007/s12053-020-09870-8

Dew, J. J. W., Jack, M. W., Stephenson, J., & Walton, S. (2020). Reducing electricity demand peaks on large-scale dairy farms. Sustainable Production & Consumption. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.spc.2020.08.014

Stephenson, J., Barth, J., Bond, S., Diprose, G., Orchiston, C., Simon, K., & Thomas, A. (2020). Engaging with communities for climate change adaptation: Introducing community development for adaptation. Policy Quarterly, 16(2), 35-40. doi: 10.26686/pq.v16i2.6480

Authored Book - Research

Ruckstuhl, K., Carter, L., Easterbrook, L., Gorman, A. R., Rae, H., Ruru, J., Ruwhiu, D., Stephenson, J., Suszko, A., Thompson-Fawcett, M., & Turner, R. (2013). Māori and mining. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago, 59p. Retrieved from https://ourarchive.otago.ac.nz/handle/10523/4362

Stephenson, J., Bauchop, H., & Petchey, P. (2004). Bannockburn heritage landscape study. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Conservation, 120p.

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Edited Book - Research

Ruru, J., Stephenson, J., & Abbott, M. (Eds.). (2011). Making our place: Exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 240p.

Stephenson, J., Abbott, M., & Ruru, J. (Eds.). (2010). Beyond the scene: Landscape and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 224p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Stephenson, J. (2020). Sustainability cultures: Exploring the relationships between cultural attributes and sustainability outcomes. In K. Legun, J. C. Keller, M. Carolan & M. M. Bell (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology (Vol. 2). (pp. 236-248). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781108554558.016

Stovall, W., Higham, J., & Stephenson, J. (2019). Prepared for take-off? Anthropogenic climate change and the global challenge of twenty-first-century tourism. In D. J. Timothy (Ed.), Handbook of globalisation and tourism. (pp. 174-187). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. doi: 10.4337/9781786431295

Ruru, J., Stephenson, J., & Abbott, M. (2011). Tension lines. In J. Ruru, J. Stephenson & M. Abbott (Eds.), Making our place: Exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 13-22). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Stephenson, J., Abbott, M., & Ruru, J. (2011). Shifting positions. In J. Ruru, J. Stephenson & M. Abbott (Eds.), Making our place: Exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 201-210). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Stephenson, J., & Gorrie, S. (2011). ‘Just part of who you are’: The hidden significance of landscape in the wind-farm debate. In J. Ruru, J. Stephenson & M. Abbott (Eds.), Making our place: Exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 185-200). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Ruru, J., Stephenson, J., & Abbott, M. (2010). Landscape's generosity. In J. Stephenson, M. Abbott & J. Ruru (Eds.), Beyond the scene: Landscape and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 197-202). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Stephenson, J. (2010). Patina: People and place in Akaroa. In J. Stephenson, M. Abbott & J. Ruru (Eds.), Beyond the scene: Landscape and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 151-166). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Abbott, M., Ruru, J., & Stephenson, J. (2010). Entering landscape. In J. Stephenson, M. Abbott & J. Ruru (Eds.), Beyond the scene: Landscape and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 13-21). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Bach, L., Hopkins, D., & Stephenson, J. (2020). Solar electricity cultures: Household adoption dynamics and energy policy in Switzerland. Energy Research & Social Science, 63, 101395. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.101395

Stephenson, J., Barth, J., Bond, S., Diprose, G., Orchiston, C., Simon, K., & Thomas, A. (2020). Engaging with communities for climate change adaptation: Introducing community development for adaptation. Policy Quarterly, 16(2), 35-40. doi: 10.26686/pq.v16i2.6480

Dew, J. J. W., Jack, M. W., Stephenson, J., & Walton, S. (2020). Reducing electricity demand peaks on large-scale dairy farms. Sustainable Production & Consumption. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.spc.2020.08.014

Dortans, C., Jack, M. W., Anderson, B., & Stephenson, J. (2020). Lightening the load: Quantifying the potential for energy-efficient lighting to reduce peaks in electricity demand. Energy Efficiency, 13, 1105-1118. doi: 10.1007/s12053-020-09870-8

Khan, I., Jack, M. W., & Stephenson, J. (2019). Identifying residential daily electricity-use profiles through time-segmented regression analysis. Energy & Buildings, 194, 232-246. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.04.026

Baldwin, C., Marshall, G., Ross, H., Cavaye, J., Stephenson, J., Carter, L., Freeman, C., … Syme, G. (2019). Hybrid neoliberalism: Implications for sustainable development. Society & Natural Resources, 32(5), 566-587. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2018.1556758

Suomalainen, K., Eyers, D., Ford, R., Stephenson, J., Anderson, B., & Jack, M. (2019). Detailed comparison of energy-related time-use diaries and monitored residential electricity demand. Energy & Buildings, 183, 418-427. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.11.002

Khan, I., Jack, M. W., & Stephenson, J. (2018). Analysis of greenhouse gas emissions in electricity systems using time-varying carbon intensity. Journal of Cleaner Production, 184, 1091-1101. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.02.309

Stephenson, J., Ford, R., Nair, N.-K., Watson, N., Wood, A., & Miller, A. (2018). Smart grid research in New Zealand: A review from the GREEN Grid research programme. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82(1), 1636-1645. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2017.07.010

Carrington, G., & Stephenson, J. (2018). The politics of energy scenarios: Are International Energy Agency and other conservative projections hampering the renewable energy transition? Energy Research & Social Science, 46, 103-113. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.07.011

Haerewa, N., Stephenson, J., & Hopkins, D. (2018). Shared mobility in a Māori community. Kōtuitui, 13(2), 233-245. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2018.1469516

Artelle, K. A., Stephenson, J., Bragg, C., Housty, W. G., Kawharu, M., & Turner, N. J. (2018). Values-led management: The guidance of place-based values in environmental relationships of the past, present, and future. Ecology & Society, 23(3), 35. doi: 10.5751/es-10357-230335

Stephenson, J., Spector, S., Hopkins, D., & McCarthy, A. (2018). Deep interventions for a sustainable transport future. Transportation Research Part D, 61, 356-372. doi: 10.1016/j.trd.2017.06.031

Stephenson, J. (2018). Sustainability cultures and energy research: An actor-centred interpretation of cultural theory. Energy Research & Social Science, 44, 242-249. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.05.034

Šunde, C., Sinner, J., Tadaki, M., Stephenson, J., Glavovic, B., Awatere, S., … Chan, K. (2018). Valuation as destruction? The social effects of valuation processes in contested marine spaces. Marine Policy, 97, 170-178. doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.024

Aguirre-Bielschowsky, I., Lawson, R., Stephenson, J., & Todd, S. (2018). Kids and kilowatts: Socialisation, energy efficiency, and electricity consumption in New Zealand. Energy Research & Social Science, 44, 178-186. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.04.020

Aguirre-Bielschowsky, I., Lawson, R., Stephenson, J., & Todd, S. (2017). Energy literacy and agency of New Zealand children. Environmental Education Research, 23(6), 832-854. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1054267

Ford, R., Walton, S., Stephenson, J., Rees, D., Scott, M., King, G., Williams, J., & Wooliscroft, B. (2017). Emerging energy transitions: PV uptake beyond subsidies. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 117, 138-150. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2016.12.007

Rees, D., Stephenson, J., Hopkins, D., & Doering, A. (2017). Exploring stability and change in transport systems: Combining Delphi and system dynamics approaches. Transportation, 44(4), 789-805. doi: 10.1007/s11116-016-9677-7

Hopkins, D., & Stephenson, J. (2016). The replication and reduction of automobility: Findings from Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Transport Geography, 56, 92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2016.09.005

Scott, M. G., McCarthy, A., Ford, R., Stephenson, J., & Gorrie, S. (2016). Evaluating the impact of energy interventions: Home audits vs. community events. Energy Efficiency, 9, 1221-1240. doi: 10.1007/s12053-015-9420-9

Stephenson, J., Hopkins, D., & Doering, A. (2015). Conceptualizing transport transitions: Energy Cultures as an organizing framework. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy & Environment, 4, 354-364. doi: 10.1002/wene.149

Stephenson, J., Barton, B., Carrington, G., Doering, A., Ford, R., Hopkins, D., Lawson, R., McCarthy, A., … Scott, M., Thorsnes, P., Walton, S., Williams, J., & Wooliscroft, B. (2015). The energy cultures framework: Exploring the role of norms, practices and material culture in shaping energy behaviour in New Zealand. Energy Research & Social Science, 7, 117-123. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2015.03.005

Stephenson, J., Berkes, F., Turner, N. J., & Dick, J. (2014). Biocultural conservation of marine ecosystems: Examples from New Zealand and Canada. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 13(2), 257-265.

Bell, M., Carrington, G., Lawson, R., & Stephenson, J. (2014). Socio-technical barriers to the use of energy-efficient timber drying technology in New Zealand. Energy Policy, 67, 747-755. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.12.010

Campion, R., & Stephenson, J. (2014). Recreation on private property: Landowner attitudes towards allemansrätt. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure & Events, 6(1), 52-65. doi: 10.1080/19407963.2013.800873

Rotarangi, S. J., & Stephenson, J. (2014). Resilience pivots: Stability and identity in a social-ecological-cultural system. Ecology & Society, 19(1), 28. doi: 10.5751/ES-06262-190128

Turner, N. J., Berkes, F., Stephenson, J., & Dick, J. (2013). Blundering intruders: Extraneous impacts on two indigenous food systems. Human Ecology, 41(4), 563-574. doi: 10.1007/s10745-013-9591-y

Stephenson, J., & Lawson, R. (2013). Giving voice to the 'silent majority': Exploring the opinions and motivations of people who do not make submissions. Policy Quarterly, 9(1), 26-33.

Schaefer, M. S., Lloyd, B., & Stephenson, J. R. (2012). The suitability of a feed-in tariff for wind energy in New Zealand: A study based on stakeholders' perspectives. Energy Policy, 43, 80-91. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.12.032

Dick, J., Stephenson, J., Kirikiri, R., Moller, H., & Turner, R. (2012). Listening to the kaitiaki: Consequences of the loss of abundance and biodiversity of coastal ecosystems in Aotearoa New Zealand. MAI Journal, 1(2), 117-130.

Stephenson, J. (2010). The Dimensional Landscape Model: Exploring differences in expressing and locating landscape qualities. Landscape Research, 35(3), 299-318. doi: 10.1080/01426391003743934

Stephenson, J., Lawson, R., Carrington, G., Barton, B., Thorsnes, P., & Mirosa, M. (2010). The practice of interdisciplinarity. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 5(7), 271-282.

Stephenson, J. (2010). People and place. Planning Theory & Practice, 11(1), 9-21. doi: 10.1080/14649350903549878

Stephenson, J., Barton, B., Carrington, G., Gnoth, D., Lawson, R., & Thorsnes, P. (2010). Energy cultures: A framework for understanding energy behaviours. Energy Policy, 38, 6120-6129. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2010.05.069

Campion, R., & Stephenson, J. (2010). The 'right to roam': Lessons for New Zealand from Sweden's allemansrätt. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 17(1), 18-26.

Stephenson, J., & Moller, H. (2009). Cross-cultural environmental research and management: Challenges and progress. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 39(4), 139-149. doi: 10.1080/03014220909510567

Graham, J. B., Stephenson, J. R., & Smith, I. J. (2009). Public perceptions of wind energy developments: Case studies from New Zealand. Energy Policy, 37(9), 3348-3357. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2008.12.035

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