Dr Alasdair Rae

Senior Lecturer

Room number: D25
Telephone (internal): 26903
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6903
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 6903
Twitter: @undertheraedar
Personal Website
Google Scholar 
Mortgage lending in great britain: interactive website
Local deprivation in england: interactive website
Deprivation in scotland: interactive website
Flow mapping examples


I began my journey in academia by completing a BA in Geography at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I graduated with First Class Honours in 2001 and was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Medal. This period of study was followed by an MA in Geography at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During my time in Ohio I also worked as a Teaching Associate and as a Research Associate at the University’s Center for Survey Research. I obtained my MA (magna cum laude) in 2003. Following this two-year stint in the United States, I then completed a PhD on urban and regional policy at the University of Liverpool in 2007.

Shortly before completing my PhD, I took up a post as a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Urban Policy Studies in October 2006. After two years in Manchester I moved to my current post as Lecturer in Town in Regional Planning, in November 2008.

I am the Treasurer of the Regional Studies Association, a major international learned society. I sit on the RSA’s Board and also on its Journals Management Committee. The RSA is perhaps best known for publishing the Regional Studies journal but the organisation has experienced significant growth in recent years and now publishes three journals, a book series and hosts major conferences in locations across the globe.  

I am also Director for the Q-Step centre at the Sheffield Methods Institute.  


My core research interests are centred thematically on spatial inequality, spatial analysis and spatial policy. In relation to spatial inequality I typically focus on patterns of deprivation in urban areas, at the neighbourhood level, but I also look at wider processes of housing and labour market inequality. In relation to spatial analysis, I explore processes of spatial interaction such as commuting and migration, I develop methods for understanding places and I attempt to make sense of vast geospatial datasets through visualisation. In relation to spatial policy, I attempt to understand how geographically-targeted policies impact different places and the extent to which they have positive or negative impacts.

In addition to my formal academic publications (see below), I also produce a research-related blog on which I regularly publish extracts from my work. This work has been covered in the national media (e.g. The Guardian, BBC) and frequently leads to engagement and collaboration with external organisations.

I have worked as a researcher and consultant on a variety of funded projects during my academic career. Clients or partners I have worked with include the Centre for Cities, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, SalfordGIS, The Northern Way, the Department for Communities and Local Government and Sheffield City Council.

Current and recent research projects


I’m a big believer in the idea that Universities are first and foremost about learning and teaching! This idea, combined with my belief that students should also have access to the latest research in their field, means that my teaching is inextricably linked to my ongoing research programme.

I currently teach on the following modules:

The students I teach here at Sheffield are motivated, inquisitive and intelligent – an excellent combination – so I have sought to develop an approach which is both challenging and inspiring. I teach using a variety of methods, including multi-media materials, in an attempt to stimulate critical thinking and independent learning. In the course of doing these things, I’ve been fortunate enough to have won some teaching awards, including the University’s Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the award for Best Personal Tutor (Social Sciences) – voted on and awarded by the Union of Students.  Last but not least, as part of my professional development as a higher education teacher, I have also completed the University of Sheffield’s Certificate in Learning and Teaching.

PhD supervision 

I am currently Primary Supervisor for the following PhD students:

  • Hanaw Amin, Land use change in Sulaimaniyeh City
  • Charlotte Hoole, Deprivation, educational attainment and resilience in Doncaster, South Yorkshire
  • Adipandang Yudono, National Spatial Data Infrastructure Adoption for Spatial Planning in Indonesia

Journal articles

View full list of publications