Professor Rowland Atkinson

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Research Chair in Inclusive Societies

Prof Rowland Atkinson
Profile picture of Prof Rowland Atkinson
+44 114 222 6936

Full contact details

Professor Rowland Atkinson
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Room F12
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

As Chair in Inclusive Societies I work both within USP and across the Faculty of Social Sciences and welcome contact from community leaders, policymakers and others interested in addressing these challenges. I am a member of the editorial advisory board for the journal Housing, Theory and Society and previously an editor of Housing Studies.

My work crosses the boundaries of urban and housing studies, sociology, geography and criminology. While my interests are broad much of it hinges on a concern to identify hidden and sometimes invisible social problems and issues. These interests started with my PhD which looked at household displacement from gentrification in London.

I continue to be driven by an interest in the ways in which social inequality drives spatial problems. From 1997 I worked at the Department of Urban Studies, at the University of Glasgow, where I worked on issues of social exclusion and area effects (the compounding force of disadvantage faced by poorer residents in poorer areas). It was here that I also took an interest in the rise of gated communities in the UK, leading the first UK study and beginning to further consider the role of the middle-classes and higher income households in shaping social outcomes more broadly across the city.

While my work on gentrification had viewed middle-class neighbourhood choices as a problem for working-class and poorer households I was now interested in much higher income groups while maintaining an interest in poverty, housing and exclusion.


From 2005 I directed the Housing and Community Research Unit, University of Tasmania, Australia, where a very different urban context and issues of indigenous health and housing influenced my thinking. My work here continued to focus on issues of gentrification, public housing and state-led strategies of social mixing to create more sustainable communities and I worked on a series of initiatives designed to generate more interest in these issues from policy-makers nationally.

From 2009 I moved back to the UK to the University of York where I became Reader in Urban Studies and Criminology and my work became more focused on questions of social harm and crime in urban contexts (a book on Urban Criminology, with Gareth Millington, is now in print with Routledge).

Since moving to the University of Sheffield in 2014 I continue to work on urban social problems including the role of the super-rich in residential life in the UK (I am currently writing a book for Verso on this subject), gentrification, community trauma/violence and social vulnerability.

My most recent book (Domestic Fortress, Manchester University Press), with Sarah Blandy from the School of Law, considers many of the long-term foci of my work – inequality, the private home, gating/fortification and social change more broadly.

Research interests
  • Gentrification and displacement
  • Cities and crime
  • Wealth
  • Poverty and exclusion
  • Segregation and urban security
  • Gated communities and fortress homes

Research projects



  • Atkinson R (2020) FOREWORD: CLIMAX CULTURE. RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2017) Building better societies. Bristol University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R & Blandy S (2016) Domestic Fortress: Fear and the New Home Front. Manchester: Manchester University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R & Jacobs K (2016) House, Home and Society. London: Palgrave Macmillan. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

Journal articles


Book reviews

Conference proceedings papers


  • Atkinson R, Wulff M, Reynolds M & Spinney A (2011) Gentrification and displacement: The household impacts of neighbourhood change RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R (2008) Housing policies, social mix and community outcomes RIS download Bibtex download

Dictionary/encyclopaedia entries

  • Atkinson R (2012) Domicide. In International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home Elsevier. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R (2012) Gentrification. In International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home Elsevier. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R & Blandy S (2012) Gated communities. In International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home Elsevier. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R & Blandy S (2011) Gated Communities. In International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Atkinson R & Flint J (2003) Snowball Sampling. In The A to Z of Social Research. London: Sage. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Snowball Sampling Sage Publications, Inc.. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Thomson H, Atkinson R, Petticrew M & Kearns A (2005) Do national urban regeneration programmes impact on health and the socio-economic determinants of health? A systematic review of UK regeneration programmes (1980-2004). EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, 15, 119-119. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

PhD supervision

I am primary supervisor for the following students:

  • Dario Ferrazzi, Crime, criminality and urban space
  • Yixin Liu, Gated communities in China

Interested in PhD study?

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who have interests in the following areas:

  • urban patterns of wealth, inequality and segregation
  • crime and disorder
  • gated communities
Teaching activities

I currently teach on the following modules: