Philip Morrison

Philip Morrison profile picture photograph

Emeritus Professor
School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

I am an urban geographer with the following research interests:

  • The geography of happiness - the impact of place on subjective well-being. I begin with the observation that objective and subjective measures of local well-being are only weakly correlated and the questions this raises about the appropriate mix of wellbeing measures being developed to guide policy at both the national and local level. My empirical work is focusing the way we can measure the independent effect of people's place of residence (at various scales) on their subjective wellbeing, both 'globally' (overall satisfaction) and over a variety of 'domains' (satisfaction in particular spheres of life);
  • Patterns of internal migration within and between urban areas. Of recent concern has been the extent to which the geographical pattern of flows of migrants are consistent with what we know about the micro motives of migrants themselves and how inferring micro motives from macro flows alone can be quite misleading. Another theme concerns the pattern migration between neighbourhoods sorted by levels of deprivation. The central question here is the extent to which residence in poor areas can inhibit migration up the neighbourhood hierarchy;
  • The geography of the housing market. Of contemporary interest are the distributional effects of changing relationship between the demographic underpinnings of effective demand and their impact on tenure choice and residential location patterns, and;
  • Local labour markets. Here I continue to be concerned with the way cities are organised to match the competing as well as complementary demands of labour and capital. My focus on labour market geography examines the uneven way in which firms and labour interact spatially to clear local labour markets and the possible distributional implications of the underlying geography of the labour market.

I also have a long-standing interest in geovisualisation.


  • PhD University of Toronto (1978)
  • MA Victoria University of Wellington (1973)
  • BA Hons - 1st class VUW (1971)
  • BA VUW (1970)


New Zealand Geographical Society Distinguished Geographer Award 2013


Publications 1983 - Now