Associate Senior Lecturer
My research asks how we can map, measure, model, and manage coupled environmental and social systems to achieve the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically and sustainable futures more generally.
I work across a wide range of systems and scales—from individual coastal river deltas; to rural land systems throughout the EU; to global scenarios of population, land use, and environmental change. I use and create large geospatial datasets to evaluate interactions among environmental, social, and economic dimensions of systems, and I deploy spatial statistical models and scenarios to determine how external drivers and management choices influence these outcomes.
Interdisciplinarity is at the core of my research. I actively collaborate with legal and governance scholars, economists, climate scientists, geographers, and land use modellers throughout Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, the United States, and Australia.
My teaching spans geographical approaches to sustainability, focusing on society-environment interactions in different contexts and across scales. I currently teach in MESS23 Geographies of Sustainability, and have previously taught Earth Systems Science in the LUMES program, as well as Bachelor courses in Global Climate Change and Land Change Science. I encourage our students to utilise the vast amounts of publicly available data from around the world to answer their own research questions relating to sustainability. I have previously supervised more than ten Master thesis students and currently co-supervise one PhD candidate at LUCSUS.
I am a broadly trained geographer with a strong background in the interdisciplinary study of coupled environmental and social systems across a range of scales and through a complex systems lens. My research makes use of the power of Geographic Information Systems, ever evolving approaches to geospatial analyses and mapping, and perspectives from the theories of hierarchy, complexity, resilience, power, and systems thinking.
I joined the team at LUCSUS as an Associate Senior Lecturer in September, 2022, following a research and teaching position at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, in the Netherlands. I have previous post-doc experience at LUCSUS and as an ORISE researcher with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
At the EPA I conducted hydrogeomorphic characterisation and spatial statistical modelling of nutrients in stream networks of the Ohio River Basin. I also developed an interest in viewing rivers as social-ecological systems, and began exploring the physical integrity of rivers and the well-being of local communities as interacting components of the same system.
Through my post-doc at LUCSUS I analysed the condition of agricultural systems throughout the EU and how the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (approx. €60 billion of spending each year) could better contribute to achieving the SDGs in Europe.
At Utrecht University I was a research in the interdisciplinary Water, Climate, and Future Deltas Hub. I analysed changing environmental and social conditions in coastal river deltas around the globe under a range of future scenarios (the "SSPs" and "RCPs"). These changing conditions set the context for risk and adaptation solutions in deltas, for which I analysed the feasibility and effectiveness of along with my colleagues from various disciplines.
I gained my PhD in Geography from the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. I investigated the spatial complexity of floodplain landscapes in Australia, South Africa, and the USA using light detection and ranging (lidar) digital elevation models, and determined external controls on floodplain surface complexity across a range of spatial scales. I also hold an Honours degree in Geography from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Canberra, Australia.
I grew up in Ngunnawal Country (Canberra, Australia), and have lived in Norway, USA, the Netherlands, and Sweden. I have a very international perspective on life and research, and enjoy collaborating with colleagues from a range of disciplines and from around the world. Please contact me if you are interested in collaborating!
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Murray Scown is a geographer with a passion for spatial analyses of complex, coupled environmental and social systems. His research utilises large geospatial datasets and GIS to map, measure, model, and manage land use and river systems across a range of scales from local to global. His research focuses on understanding the interacting spatial and temporal dynamics of environmental change, land use, power, and institutions. He is involved in ongoing interdisciplinary research with collaborators in the Netherlands, Poland, USA, and Australia exploring social-ecological resilience in land and river systems that are potentially threatened by environmental and societal change.