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Nicki Schiessel Harvey

Nicki is an environmental planning professional-turned-academic. Her research focuses on changing values of inland waterways and how values are incorporated into policy decision-making. Nicki was formerly an environmental planning consultant at Atkins Planning, Landscape and Heritage in Birmingham, focusing on EIA, Sustainability Appraisal and socio-economic assessment work on a range of public and private sector projects, including several canal restoration schemes.

This followed an early career in tourism management, several years’ tourism lecturing in the UK, and an MSc in Environmental Management and Tourism where her dissertation evaluated the changing uses of socio-economic impact assessment in planning and managing canal restoration projects. She then became a research analyst at the West Midlands Regional Observatory, the research arm of Advantage West Midlands.

There she worked with a range of data sources to manage the evidence base for Regional policymaking. This range of experience in the operational side of evidence production and policy sparked questions about how changing values affect evidence creation and about how, why and where evidence is shared and used.

Nicki returned to academia originally as a PhD researcher at the University of Sheffield, drawing on her heritage and environmental assessment experience in examining the ways changing values attached to urban waterways influence planning for urban waterway corridors. Since leaving those studies to join BCU in 2010 she has acted as course lead for undergraduate and postgraduate Planning and Environmental Sustainability programmes. She has stepped back from those roles to make time to complete her doctoral studies.

However she is part of the leadership team for the Water, Environment & Communities research group and a Trustee of the Inland Waterways Association for whom she completed a consultancy contract in 2019 exploring the multiple values of inland waterways. Her current research activity includes two World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) working groups: WG 228 - Extended Values of Low Use Inland Waterways (2020-2022) and WG219 - Guidelines for IW Infrastructure to Facilitate Tourism (2020-2022)

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