Dr Cathy Baldwin

Dr Cathy Baldwin (DPhil ISCA, 2012) is an Applied Anthropologist and Consultant specialising in the social, cultural and health and well-being aspects of, and effects that communities experience from urban development, planning and infrastructure, environmental management, and adaptation to climate change. Her other interests are ethnic relations, sustainable development, media and ICTs, and music. She is Visiting Research Academic at the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, Oxford Brookes University, and contributes to the UK-based health, spatial planning and sustainability consultancy, Ben Cave Associates. From 2013-2014, she was a Research Fellow at the World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington DC, under the EMBARQ programme on Sustainable Transportation and Urban Development, where she maintains a close link.

Recent research has concentrated on using health impact assessments (HIAs) as a way of looking at the influence of urban design and regeneration on social cohesion and subjective-well-being in communities; and infusing HIAs with an anthropological approach to assess the ways that development can change peoples’ relationships with their communities and built and natural environments with psychosocial health effect. As a consultant, Cathy has contributed conceptual, data gathering and community consultation input to several national-level HIAs and other impact assessments in the UK with civil engineering consultancy, Atkins, and Ben Cave Associates. 

At WRI, Cathy’s research brought a behavioural social science perspective to the sustainability and resilience of human communities in cities by tying together ideas of 'social sustainability' and 'community resilience'. Through a global spread of urban development case studies from different nations, she examined how the built environment and city development can influence pro-community behaviours and psychological responses that increase social capital and social cohesion in communities. These resources help people to improve their routine quality of life and wellbeing, and increase their adaptive capacity to respond effectively to the impacts of climate change in cities - by taking care of each other and their infrastructure post environmental-adversities such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and so on.

Cathy’s doctoral work at ISCA comprised a 2-year fieldwork study of Indian Sikh, Polish and English adults in Swindon, England, and a multi-level analysis of their perceptions of community, identities, sense of place and belonging at local-national-international/diasporic levels. Research also examined the impacts of information from media and life experience in shaping informants’ ideas. Fieldwork was carried out at a gurdwara, a Polish Community Centre, a national company, at civil society and leisure groups, and in private homes. Interview and observational data were combined with a quantitative survey, and a theoretical framework drawn from Social Anthropology, Sociology and Social Psychology.

Cathy started her career as a radio reporter at BBC World Service, and has advised NGOs on media issues, including Article 19, WaterAid, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization, and Refugee Council. She holds a DPhil (PhD) Social and Cultural Anthropology and an M.Sc Visual Anthropology from the University of Oxford, and an MA Anthropology of Europe and BA Music and Media Studies from the University of Sussex. In 2016-17, she is completing a Masters of Public Health at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She has conducted fieldwork in Reykjavik, Iceland and been a guest lecturer at the University of Iceland.


Under review

Baldwin, C and King, R (2016) ‘The socially sustainable resilient community, urban development and environmental adversities: a global perspective from a qualitative study’, paper submitted to Environment and Urbanization.

Baldwin, C and King, R (2016) ‘The socially sustainable resilient community, urban development and environmental adversities: policy recommendations for social planners’,  paper submitted to Environment and Urbanization.

Baldwin, C and King, R What about the people? The socially sustainable resilient community and urban development. Policy report. World Resources Institute. Washington DC.


Anderson, J and Baldwin, C (forthcoming) ‘Building well-being: neighbourhood flourishing and approaches for participatory urban design intervention’, chapter in the Handbook of Community Well-being, Springer Publications.

Baldwin, C (2015), ‘Assessing Impacts on People’s Relationships to Place and Community in Health Impact Assessment: An Anthropological Approach’, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (IAPA), 33(2): 154-159.

Coulter, P and Baldwin, C (2013) ‘Digital Deprivation: New Media, Civil Society and Sustainability’ in Tragardh, L, Witoszek, N and Taylor, B (eds) Civil Society in the Age of Wikileaks: Challenges to Monitory Democracy. Berghahn Books.

Baldwin, C (2012) Locating Britishness? Mediating Identity, Ethnicity, Community and Place in Multi-Ethnic Swindon. D.Phil thesis, University of Oxford. 

Baldwin, C (2008) Employee Perceptions of the Company: [Company Name], Swindon. Swindon: Company Name.

Baldwin, C (2008) Broadcasting Britishness? Identity, Diversity and the National Media: Report with Recommendations. University of Oxford: Saïd Business School. 

Baldwin, C, Crofts, C, Thomsen, L and Vemuri, V (2007) Guest editors. Minding the Gap: Reflections on Media Practice & Theory, Special Edition of Networking Knowledge: Journal of the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Postgraduate Network: 1(1).


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