Dr Stephen James Knight-Lenihan

PhD, MSc (Hons)


Stephen is a senior lecturer whose research interests include ecological resilience, the planning implications of transitioning to a low carbon economy, integrated catchment management, sustainable transport and urban biodiversity management. He has worked in Papua New Guinea and South Africa on conservation and development issues and prior to joining the university in 2010 worked as an environmental consultant.

Research | Current

  • Low carbon cities
  • Ecological resilience
  • Biodiversiy offsets in urban systems

Teaching | Current

  • Ecological context of planning
  • Risk, resilience and strategic environmental assessments
  • Development and planning issues globally

Postgraduate supervision

  • Sustainable coastal tourism and resilience
  • Strategic environmental assessments in a cultural context
  • The influence of concepts of place on environmental management
  • The planning implications of coastal wetlands as mechanisms for reducing climate change risks


Head of Planning Programmes

Areas of expertise

Environmental planning

Ecological resilience

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Harker, J., Taylor, P., & Knight-Lenihan, S. (2017). Multi-level governance and climate change mitigation in New Zealand: lost opportunities. Climate Policy, 17 (4), 485-500. 10.1080/14693062.2015.1122567
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Prue Taylor
  • Knight-Lenihan, S. (2017). Why Definitions of Resilience Matter: The Example of Funding New Zealand’s Transport Sector. Urban Policy and Research, 35 (3), 333-346. 10.1080/08111146.2017.1295937
  • Knight-Lenihan, S. J. (2016). Distilling water's future. Resource Management Bulletin, 11 (14), 179-181.
  • Birkeland, J., & Knight-Lenihan, S. J. (2016). Biodiversity offsetting and net positive design. Journal of Urban Design, 21 (1), 50-66. 10.1080/13574809.2015.1129891
  • Azizul, M. F., Knight-Lenihan, S., & van Roon, M. (2016). Sense shaping place: repositioning the role of sense of place in social-ecological systems from a bioregional planning viewpoint. IAFOR Journal of Sustainability Energy and the Environment, 3 (1), 3-22. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32429
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marjorie van Roon
  • Knight-Lenihan, S. J. (2015). Resilient cities and lost opportunities: the case of transport funding in New Zealand. Paper presented at State of Australian Cities national conference, Brisbane, Australia. 9 December - 11 December 2015. State of Australian Cities Conference 2015: Refereed Proceedings. Related URL.
  • Knight-Lenihan, S. (2015). Benefit cost analysis, resilience and climate change. Climate Policy, 1-15. 10.1080/14693062.2015.1052957
  • Knight-Lenihan, S. J. (2013). Governance and ecological sustainability: The case of transport funding in New Zealand. World Transport Policy and Practice, 19.1, 25-34. Related URL.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 609
New Zealand

Web links