SsUU Research

A core mission of SsUU is driven by advancing the following components of broad research, education and practice agenda, emphasising a requirement for:

  • More explicit understandings of the human-environment relationship at the heart of approaches to research, teaching and practice, underpinned especially by phenomenological perspectives which provide foundations from which to see such relationships as mutually interdependent and mutually transforming.
  • Recognition of the interdependency of urban morphology and social processes, especially how these can better inform an integration of professional, top-down processes with community-led bottom-up processes in urban place making and its management and adaptation.
  • The primacy of transitional edges and microenvironments as socio-spatial components of urban order within research, education and practice, especially their key significance to the social life and vitality of the urban realm, the well-being of urban inhabitants, and the nature of their socio-spatial organisation to that significance.
  • Emphasis on the need for accessible and inclusive forms of communication capable of overcoming professional and community boundaries and discipline specific boundaries.
  • Development of cross-disciplinary research, education and practice that can define and operationalise better integration of built environment disciplines with environmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience and sociological principles focused on the socio-spatial dimensions of transitional edges and microenvironments.
  • Development of new readings of the urban realm more closely related to territorial functioning and in particular the need for a better balance between professional intervention and occupant self-organisation.
  • Reorientation of practice and policy to be more localised and context specific, emphasising the importance of longitudinal, time-sensitive partnership working.


Journal publications

Yin Y, Thwaites K, Simpson JC. (2022) Measuring Street Restorative Expectations in Shanghai Using Restorative Component Scale as an Explorative Approach. Urban Design International

Yin.Y., Thwaites.K., and Shao.Y.  (2022) Balancing Street Functionality and Restorative Benefit: developing an expectation-current approach to street design. Sustainability.

Simpson, J., Freeth, M., Simpson, K. J., and Thwaites, K. (2022) Street edge subdivision: Structuring ground floor interfaces to stimulate pedestrian visual engagement. Environment & Planning B, 0(0).

Simpson, J. (2021) Three-Dimensional Gaze Projection Heat-Mapping of Outdoor Mobile Eye-Tracking Data. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 5(1), 62-82.

Thwaites, K., and Simpson, J. (2020) Socially Restorative Urbanism: Principles and Practice for Socio-Spatial Urban Design. Landscape Architecture Journal, (27), 89-101. (Chinese Language Version).

Thwaites, K., Simpson, J., and Simkins, I. (2020) Transitional edges: A conceptual framework for socio-spatial understanding of urban street edges. Urban Design International, 25(4), 295-309.

Felstead, A., Thwaites, K., and Simpson, J. (2019) A Conceptual Framework for Urban Commoning in Shared Residential Landscapes in the UK. Sustainability, 11(21), 6119.

Simpson, J., Thwaites, K., and Freeth M. (2019) Understanding visual engagement with urban street edges along non-pedestrianised and pedestrianised streets using mobile eye-tracking. Sustainability, 11(15), 4251.

Simpson, J., Freeth, M., Simpson, K. J., and Thwaites, K. (2019) Visual engagement with urban street edges: insights using mobile eye-tracking, Journal of Urbanism, 12(3), 259-278.

Simpson, J. (2018) Street DNA: the who, where and what of visual engagement with the urban street. Journal of Landscape Architecture, 13(1), 50-57.

Shao, Y., Lange, E., Thwaites, K., and Liu, B. (2017) Defining Local Identity. Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 5(2), 24-41.

Mathers, A. R., Thwaites, K., Simkins, I. M., and Mallett, R. (2012) Beyond participation: the practical application of an empowerment process to bring about environmental and social change. Human Development, Disability and Social Change, (19)3, 37-57.

Thwaites, K. Simkins, I. S., and Mathers, A. R. (2012) Towards a Concept of Socially Restorative Urbanism: reflections on social and spatial dimensions of urban restorative experience. Landscape Review, 13(2) 26-39.

Thwaites, K., and Simkins, I. (2005) Experiential Landscape Place: exploring experiential potential in neighbourhood settings. Urban Design International, 10(1), 11-22.

Thwaites, K., Helleur, E., and Simkins, I. M. (2005) Restorative Urban Landscape Settings: Exploring the Spatial Dimensions of Human Emotional Fulfilment in Urban Open Space. Landscape Research, 30(4) 525-547.

Book chapters

Uttley, J., Simpson, J., and Qasem, H. (2018) Eye-tracking in the real world – insights about the urban environment, in Aletta, F. & Xiao, J. (eds) Handbook of Research on Perception-Driven Approaches to Urban Assessment and Design. Hershey, IGI Global, pp. 368-396.

Romice, O. R., Thwaites, K., Porta, S., and Greaves, M. (2016) Urban Design and Quality of Life, in Pol, E. (ed.) Handbook of Environmental Psychology. Springer, pp. 241-273.


Thwaites, K., Mathers, A. R., and Simkins, I. M. (2013) Socially Restorative Urbanism: the theory, process and practice of Experiemics. Routledge.

Thwaites, K., Porta, S., Romice, O., and Greaves, M. (2007) Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design: approaches to time-people-place responsive urban spaces. Oxon. Routledge. 

Thwaites, K., and Simkins, I. M. (2007) Experiential Landscape: an approach to people, space and place. Oxon. Routledge.