Dr Jim Uttley

BSc, PGDip, PhD

School of Architecture

Lecturer in Architectural Science

Departmental Language Coordinator

Green Impact Leader

UG Dual Programme Coordinator (Engineering)

People, Environments and Performance research group co-leader

Jim Uttley
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+44 114 222 0326

Full contact details

Dr Jim Uttley
School of Architecture
Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN

I have a background in Psychology and Behavioural Science and my research applies principles of behavioural research and environmental psychology to the built environment.

I completed my PhD in visual perception and lighting in 2015 before completing a 3-year postdoc in the Lighting Research Group at Sheffield. I then worked as a Research Fellow in Human Factors at the Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds, before returning to Sheffield.

One of my main interests is the influence of the built environment, particularly lighting, on active travel. I aim to support students by helping them understand how humans influence and are influenced by urban design. My previous research has examined the important visual tasks of pedestrians and how one of these tasks, obstacle detection, is influenced by lighting conditions. I have also explored how light and lighting influences the safety of road users, and the rates of walking and cycling at night.

I am an advocate of open science practices and believe strongly that transparency and scientific rigour should be cornerstones of research practice.

  • BSc Psychology (University of Sheffield)
  • PGDip Professional Skills (University of Sheffield)
  • PhD Lighting and visual perception (University of Sheffield)
Research interests

I am interested in behaviour within the built environment, including human factors related to transport infrastructure. I have a particular interest in how human behaviour is influenced by light and lighting.

I am also passionate about behavioural aspects of active travel, particularly how the built environment can encourage or discourage walking and cycling.

I also have a strong interest in behavioural research methodologies, including eye-tracking, psychophysics experiments and the use of virtual reality. The analysis of ‘big data’ has become an important aspect of my research. I aim to apply open research practices to my research going forward, and will advocate for these practices within any research projects I am involved in.

I have previously used large datasets about cycling and walking behaviour, and road safety, to understand the role of light and lighting in active travel.

PhD supervision areas:

  • Behaviour in the built environment
  • Light and lighting
  • Active travel within the built environment
  • Road safety
  • Behavioural research methods
  • Visual behaviour within the built environment

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers


Research group

Lighting Research Group

People, Environments and Performance 


White Rose Collaboration Fund - 'Improving public health by using road lighting to encourage cycling at night' (R/156259) - £11k

Teaching interests

I enjoy teaching and am currently studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, and seeking Fellowship membership of the Higher Education Academy. One of my main teaching aims is to integrate the latest research findings into the content that is taught to students. Another of my aims is to encourage more consideration of the human element amongst students of architecture and other built environment professions. It is my view that the behavioural aspects of buildings and the built environment are an important but often neglected area when it comes to training students.

I enjoy teaching research methods and believe a strong grounding in methods can stand students in good stead both within academia and outside. I believe strongly in encouraging students to consider open research practices and how they can ensure they produce reliable and replicable research.

Teaching activities
  • ARC208 - Environment & Technology - I teach environmental design within this module
  • ARC308 - Environment & Technology - I teach acoustics within this module
  • ARC6842 - Studio Design Project - I give a workshop about occupant and user behaviour
  • LSC304 - Site Planning for Housing - I give a workshop about behaviour within the built environment
  • ARC6854 - Environment & Technology in Design - I am module coordinator
  • ARC6990 - Sustainable Design Thesis Project - I am module coordinator
  • ARC6991 - Live Projects (MAAD programme) - I am module coordinator
  • White Rose DTP - I organise a 1-day workshop about open research practices
Professional activities and memberships
  • I lead the Division 4 Reportership within the CIE, DR4-54: Lighting for Cycling
  • Member of CIE Technical Committee 4-52: Road lighting for pedestrians
  • Member of Universities' Transport Study Group (UTSG)