Planning, people and place

Suggested supervisors and PhD projects to undertake within this research area.

Black and White Photo of People Crossing The Road

Find out more about our research on planning, people and place.

 Dr Andy Inch: planning theory, publics, futures, politics, ideology

There are three strands to my recent work:

  • Ideological and political analyses of planning ideas and practices, often focused on how the role and purposes of urban planning have been reformed and how various actors have responded to change.
  • The role of publics in planning and what citizens’ experiences can teach us about the politics of planning urban change and the possibilities of democratic planning.
  • The ways in which possible futures are imagined and made governable through urban planning and how this might be done differently, including by reconsidering the relationship between utopianism and planning.

Methodologically my work is qualitative in nature and I am interested in participatory and creative approaches to planning research. 

I would welcome projects from anyone interested in the areas above and, in particular, the following:

  • The history of planning ideas & of political debates about the scope and purposes of public intervention in land and development.
  • The role of citizens in planning and especially of radical community-led planning initiatives that seek to challenge dominant models of planning and development.
  • How alternative futures can be imagined in and through planning processes and practices.

Contact Dr Andy Inch

Dr Ally Lu: historic urban landscape, conservation planning, East Asian cities, sustainable planning and design, place-based memory and identity

My research interests lie in urban landscape history and sustainable futures, particularly centred around heritage values from community and everyday landscapes, and conservation planning in the East Asian context. This is developed via academic research and conservation practice, such as the identification of historic and ecologically significant post-industrial cultural landscapes; historic waterfront and conservation; community-led heritage identification and sustainable landscape planning. I’m interested in the concept of place-based memory and people’s place attachment as the starting point for heritage.

Suggested PhD topics:

  • The process of community heritage, the past, present, and sustainable futures.
  • Urban morphology and its contribution to place identity and sustainability.

Contact Dr Ally Lu

Dr Michael Martin: urban regeneration, urban crises, cities for play, temporary urbanism, child-friendly cities

My research sits within the broad scope of urban design, planning and urban studies. My research to date spans across three main focus areas: 1) inequalities resulting from urban crises in neoliberalised contexts, 2) the inclusion and perspectives of marginalised stakeholders in urban regeneration programmes and ‘co-creative’ design processes (specifically children and youth), as well as 3) the processes by which urban design operates and places are shaped. This includes studies on: urban crises, austerity urbanism, vacant/previously developed land, urban regeneration, temporary urban uses of space, child-friendly cities, children’s place use, urban design/placeshaping processes, and more recently, COVID-19. Presently, I am interested in the temporary urban uses of space for children that emerged in response to COVID-19 and the opportunities that may materialise to embed child-friendly principles in urban design and planning agendas as a consequence.

I welcome enquiries from research students across all of my areas of interest but am particularly interested in supervising research on aspects related to the following:

  • cities for play
  • temporary urban uses of space for children
  • urban regeneration and children's sense of place

Contact Dr Michael Martin

Dr Madeleine Pill: urban/ local/ neighbourhood; governance; public policy; empowerment; planning; austerity

I take a critical approach to the theory and practice of governance and policy at the urban/ local/ neighbourhood levels. I am interested in how state-society relationships are adapting to globalising transformations in variegated ways, including strategies of collaboration, collective action and contestation.   In particular I welcome proposals for PhD research into the role of local government in pursuing strategies such as co-production, new municipalism and community wealth building; and regarding the governance roles played by non-state actors, such as third sector organisations, ‘ed and med’ anchor institutions and philanthropic foundations.

Suggested PhD topics:

  • New forms of governance and co-ordination at the local level, such as co-production
  • The role of non-state actors (including philanthropies) in urban governance
  • Reconfiguring and rescaling central-local relations, such as through city-regional governance arrangements.

Contact Dr Madeleine Pill

Professor Malcolm Tait: planning, ethnography, professionalism, urban regeneration, public interest

My research is centrally interested in understanding the politics and practices of planning and how it shapes places.  In particular, I have developed studies of the professional work of planners and how they work with other groups such as developers, politicians and members of the public.  This has included extensive ethnographic work to understand the practices of planners in real world contexts.  I also have an interest more broadly in urban intervention, and the models and concepts used to shape localities.  This has included work on urban regeneration, age-friendly places, and the public interest in planning.

Suggested PhD topics:

  • the profession of planning, including its changing role in new (local authority) governance contexts;
  • the role and values of private sector planning professionals;
  • urban intervention, including how models and concepts get used by planners and others to shape places

Contact Professor Malcolm Tait

Dr Amparo Tarazona Vento: urban politics, governance of urbanization, urban regeneration, megaprojects, iconic architecture

My primary research focus is in the areas of urban politics and governance. In particular, I investigate the contested politics of urban regeneration and the political economy of urbanisation, placing special focus on the analysis of the political mobilisation of iconic architecture and the contribution of grassroots politics to place making. 

Suggested PhD topics:

  • Entrepreneurial urban regeneration – including exploring the role of state projects and grassroots politics in the institution of the politics of regeneration
  • Iconic architecture – exploring its political mobilisation by different actors in different contexts (possibly with a comparative focus)

Contact Dr Amparo Tarazona Vento