Dr Stephen James Knight-Lenihan

PhD, MSc (Hons)


Stephen is a senior lecturer whose research interests include  planning for ecological restoration, climate change adaptation, resilience planning and  integrated catchment management. He has worked in Papua New Guinea and South Africa on conservation and development issues prior to joining the university in 2010. Currently Stephen is working on biodiversity net benefit and climate change adaptation in urban centres.

Research | Current

  • Biodiversity offsets in urban systems
  • Planning implications of climate change adaptation
  • Risk and resilience

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




Areas of expertise

Environmental planning

Ecological resilience

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of School research committee

Member NZ Centre for Environmental Law

Member of the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand

Member of the NZ Association of Impact Assessment

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Knight-Lenihan, S., & Scanlen, K. (2018). Climate compatible development in New Zealand. Policy Quarterly, 14 (4), 43-49. 10.26686/pq.v14i4.5148
  • 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. (2016). Distilling water's future. Resource Management Bulletin, 11 (14), 179-181.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/38506
  • 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


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 609
New Zealand

Web links