Academic Profile

Helge Peters is a human geographer working on sustainable water systems. His research combines ‘thick’ data gained from socio-cultural inquiry with big data in order to understand the varied social, economic, and cultural contexts shaping human choice at the nexus of technical systems and environmental change. Helge specialises in impact from human geography research. He has advised utilities, regulators, and non-profits on stakeholder engagement in the UK water sector. His impact portfolio further includes the development of a digital tool for river-scale sentiment analysis and the design of a change process for integrated urban water management.

Helge received his doctorate in Geography and the Environment from Oxford University in 2019. Prior to that he gained an MA (with distinction) in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Helge holds a BA from the College of Architecture, Media and Design, Berlin University of the Arts. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and formerly of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Current Research

Piloting Emotional AI to Link Well-Being with Water Quality

Public interest in water quality is on the rise. Innovative language technology such as emotional AI in combination with big data can promote understanding of the diverse ways in which the health of local water bodies matters for community well-being. In collaboration with non-profit partner Thames21, this project develops a data dashboard for monitoring social media sentiment about more than 400 water bodies in the Thames river basin. The River Sentiment Dashboard was launched in May 2022. This tool is the first of its kind to integrate sentiment analysis with environmental monitoring at water body scale in the UK. Helge serves as Co-Investigator on this project, leading on grant writing, budgeting, product ownership, and engagement. This project receives funding from the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council’s Impact Acceleration Account.

Community Water Management for a Liveable London

Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA) brings together innovative science with communities and stakeholders in London to promote sustainable water management and a better environment as the city grows. As a postdoctoral researcher, Helge delivers several projects within the CAMELLIA programme. These include change management for the sustainable transformation of the Wealdstone Brook catchment, organisational ethnography of the barriers to blue and green infrastructure financing in London, and user research for a suite of digital water management tools. CAMELLIA receives funding from UKRI Natural Environment Research Council’s Regional Impact of Science of the Environment programme.


Helge has taught and advised postgraduate students on the programmes MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Governance as well as MSc Water Science, Policy and Management. Please get in touch to discuss a dissertation proposal allied to his research profile.

Selected Publications

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Journal Articles