I rejoined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (USP) as a Senior Lecturer in May 2018 having spent the previous two years as a research fellow at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais at the University of Lisbon in Portugal where I am still an ‘associated researcher’. Prior to that, I was a lecturer in USP from 2010-2016. I also spent a year as a lecturer at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh immediately after finishing my PhD in 2009.
My academic background is interdisciplinary, my first degree was in English Literature and Modern History at the University of St Andrews (1995-1999). After teaching English in Japan, Spain and the UK, I completed an MSc and then PhD in Planning at Oxford Brookes University.
I am a comment and reviews editor for the journal Planning Theory and Practice and european editor of International Planning Studies.
I am also a trustee of a charity called Planning Democracy that campaigns for a fair and inclusive planning system in Scotland.
I have broad ranging research interests, working at the intersections of urban planning and development, political theory, governance and public administration. My work is motivated by a belief that planning should be a means of democratically shaping more just and sustainable futures. This provides a starting point from which I try to critically explore both why this doesn’t seem to happen very often and how things could be done differently.
To date I have focused particularly on four areas of planning theory and practice:
- The ideological and political dimensions of attempts to reform planning systems: focusing on the ways ideas about the role and purpose of urban planning are being reshaped and how various actors have responded to change, particularly planning professionals.
- Opposition to new development: with a particular focus on what citizens’ experiences of mobilization and conflict can teach us about the politics of urban planning and its potential as a democratic means of managing land-use change.
- How participatory forms of research can support citizen-led efforts to plan solutions to the complex socio-spatial challenges they face: working in collaboration with Lee Crookes, we have been exploring how to develop more engaged forms of planning education and research.
- More recently, I have become interested in the temporal dimensions of planning: the ways in which possible futures are imagined and made governable through urban governance and planning and how this might be done differently, including by reconsidering the relationship between utopianism and planning.
I have published a range of articles and book chapters, edited journal special issues and completed various funded research and consultancy projects on these themes.
Current and Recent Research Projects
My teaching is underpinned by a strong belief that learning is an active process and that planning education is most interesting and effective when it engages with real places, people and practices. Learning in this way enables us to question live issues, exploring different ways in which they can be understood. I aim to encourage students to think critically about the role planning plays but also to creatively consider how things could be done differently. In 2015 I was jointly awarded a University of Sheffield Senate Award for my collaborative work on the Westfield Action Research Project, a community-university partnership that involved students working with residents of a housing estate in Sheffield.
I am currently Primary Supervisor for the following students:
- Katherine Blaker, Contemporary forms of mutual aid in post-industrial places
- Hakjin Lee, Neighbourhood planning: localism, community participation and conflicts
- Jonathan Marsden, Making space for co-production
- Marion Oveson, How are community-university projects experienced by the resident participant
I welcome applications for PhD research on topics related to my research interests including: the politics of planning; opposition to urban development; public engagement in planning; activist and engaged urban scholarship, and; how planning imagines and shapes futures.
- Laurian L & Inch A (2018) On Time and Planning: Opening Futures by Cultivating a “Sense of Now”. Journal of Planning Literature. View this article in WRRO
- Inch A (2018) Responding to the Conservative Common Sense of Opposition to Planning and Development in England. Planning Theory & Practice, 19(4), 584-589.
- Barry J, Horst M, Inch A, Legacy C, Rishi S, Rivero JJ, Taufen A, Zanotto JM & Zitcer A (2018) Unsettling planning theory. Planning Theory, 17(3), 418-438.
- Inch A (2018) ‘Opening for business’? Neoliberalism and the cultural politics of modernising planning in Scotland. Urban Studies, 55(5), 1076-1092.
- Inch A, Laurian L, Mouat C, Davies R, Davy B, Legacy C & Symonds C (2017) Planning in the face of immovable subjects: a dialogue about resistance to development forces. Planning Theory & Practice, 18(3), 469-488.
- Tait MA & inch A (2016) Putting Localism in Place: Conservative Images of the Good Community and the Contradictions of Planning Reform in England. Planning Practice and Research, 31(2), 174-194. View this article in WRRO
- Inch A (2015) Ordinary citizens and the political cultures of planning: In search of the subject of a new democratic ethos. Planning Theory, 14(4), 404-424. View this article in WRRO
- Crookes L, Inch A & Slade J (2015) Res non verba? rediscovering the social purpose of planning (and the university): The Westfield Action Research Project. Planning Theory & Practice, 16(3), 418-423.
- Inch A (2012) 'Cultural work', spatial planning and the politics of renewing public sector planning professionalism in England. Town Planning Review, 83(5), 513-532.
- Inch A (2012) Creating 'a generation of NIMBYs'? Interpreting the role of the state in managing the politics of urban development. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 30(3), 520-535. View this article in WRRO
- Inch A (2012) Deconstructing Spatial Planning: Re-interpreting the Articulation of a New Ethos for English Local Planning. European Planning Studies, 20(6), 1039-1057. View this article in WRRO
- Inch A (2010) Culture change as identity regulation: The micro-politics of producing spatial planners in England. Planning Theory and Practice, 11(3), 359-374. View this article in WRRO
- Inch A (2009) Planning at the crossroads again: Re-evaluating street-level regulation of the contradictions in New Labour's planning reforms. Planning Practice and Research, 24(1), 83-101.