Dr Madeleine Pill

School of Geography and Planning

Senior Lecturer

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+44 114 222 6183

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Dr Madeleine Pill
School of Geography and Planning
Room D20
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

My work takes a critical approach to the theory and practice of governance and policy at the urban/ local/ neighbourhood scales. I am interested in how state-society relationships are adapting to globalising transformations in variegated ways, including strategies of collaboration, collective action and contestation.

I completed my undergraduate degree (Geography, 1992) at Oxford University, and have postgraduate degrees in demography (Cardiff University, 1993), regeneration (University of Westminster, 1999), and a Master in Public Administration (Harvard University, 2001).

This training supported my pre-Phd career in urban policy, research and practice, including as a local government regeneration manager, in planning for housing supply in central (UK) and state (Australian) government, and as a researcher at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

After completing my PhD (2010) and a post-doctoral fellowship (at Cardiff University), I was senior lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney (2015-2019). I joined the University of Sheffield in 2020.

I am Deputy Director (Cities, Environment and Liveability pathway) for the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership and am the Department’s Director of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion.

Research interests

My critical approach to the theory and practice of governance and policy at the urban/ local/ neighbourhood scales takes a comparative perspective with a particular emphasis on the UK, US and Australia.

I am interested in changing state-society relationships and the scope for and limits to governments and citizens enabling or engendering change, equitable urban policy and international policy transfer.

My research into neighbourhood governance includes a comparative investigation in Baltimore (US) and Bristol; an assessment of approaches in London; development of the evidence base for policy approaches in Wales; and regarding the implications of England’s localism agenda.

My international comparative research on collaborative urban governance under austerity draws on research in Cardiff and Baltimore as part of major, interdisciplinary research teams.

I explore shifts in local government policy and practice, including changing forms of collaboration and attitudes towards inculcating, regulating or restricting informality; the rise of co-production as a contested approach; new municipalism and community wealth building; and the governance roles played by non-state actors, such as third sector organisations, ‘ed and med’ anchor institutions and philanthropic foundations.

My Australian research includes informal housing in Sydney and the governance implications of the UK to Australia policy transfer of place-based funding deals.

Current and recent research projects

  • Core cities creative ecology model (2020-21) AHRC
  • Strategic Planning, City Deals and Affordable Housing (2018-2020) Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
  • Organising the 21st Century City: An International Comparison of Urban Alliances as Citizen Engagement (2017-20) The Halloran Trust
  • Informal accommodation and vulnerable households in metropolitan Sydney: the scale, drivers and policy responses (2017-18) Sydney Policy Lab
  • Collaborative Governance under Austerity: An eight-case Comparative Study (2015-18) ESRC Urban Transformations
  • Transgob: the role of participatory urban governance in times of crisis and austerity (2013-15) Spanish Government National R&D Plan Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness


  • Davies JS, Blanco I, Bua A, Chorianopoulos I, Cortina-Oriol M, Feandeiro A, Gaynor N, Gleeson B, Griggs S, Hamel P , Henderson H et al (2022) New Developments in Urban Governance. Bristol University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pill M (2021) Governing Cities. Springer International Publishing. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Book reviews



Teaching activities

I have been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2014.

I teach on the following modules:

  • TRP6402 Perspectives on Spatial Planning and Development
  • TRP6403 Values in Planning
  • TRP215 Researching the city: applied skills for practice
  • TRP326 Values, Theory and Ethics in Spatial Planning
  • TRP 4012-6019  Citizen Participation in Planning and Development
  • TRP473-673 Mega urban projects