Professor Heather Campbell

Professor of Town and Regional Planning

Room number: D21
Telephone (internal): 26306
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6306
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 6306
Email: h.j.campbell@sheffield.ac.uk


I was awarded a BA in Geography from the University of Durham in 1987 and an MA in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Sheffield in 1990. I completed my PhD in the Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield in 1990 and was appointed as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer from 1991 – 1999. I was made Professor of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield in 1999 and was Head of Department in the Department of Town and Regional Planning (now Urban Studies and Planning) from 2003 – 2007.

I have been involved in the development of professional planning education in the UK as Deputy Chair of the Royal Town Planning Institute sponsored Education Commission; and currently membership of the Institute's Education Review Group and Accreditation Partnership Panel. I am a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.  

I have been invited to give policy advice to HM Treasury, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Innovation, Universities and Science, in the form of the Foresight Project, Barker Review Expert Panel, Sir Michael Lyons Review of Local Government. I have research and practical expertise in the professional ethics and am currently an advisor to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council on issues of governance and scrutiny. 

Other roles include: Academician, Academy of Social Sciences (2010-), Deputy Chair of the RAE 2008 Sub-Panel for Town and Country Planning (H31) (2005-08), Senior Editor (2009-) of the journal Planning Theory and Practice, and previously founding Editor (1999-08) of the innovative Interface section. Visiting positions: University of California, Berkeley, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

I am currently seconded to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield as an adviser on the civic university and strategic planning.


How can we judge between better and worse in relation to decisions concerning place and space? More particularly, how can we ensure justice in relation to place-related outcomes and processes? 

These are the central questions which dominate my research interests and activities. In my recent writing I have focused attention on issues of ethical values, just outcomes and the public good as well as the nature of the relationship between knowledge and action. I seek to get beyond critical analysis of inequality and injustice to consider how policy interventions can be rendered more just and equitable. I explore the nature of judgement and justice arguing that just planning is the `art of situated ethical judgement´. This in turn links to the work of others in the Department, who are concerned to explore and develop contemporary conceptualisations of social justice.

Complementing this research has been an exploration of the role of `technical´ information in policy-making. This has involved studies of the process of technological change, in particular the organisational and institutional issues influencing the effective implementation of computing technologies, such as GIS, and the role of the resulting knowledge in policy-making processes. 

I'm currently leading a research programme on the challenges that researchers face in working with non-academics to enhance the relevance and impact of their work, Making Knowledge That Matters. The co-production of knowledge, when academics and non-academics work together, has the potential to generate research that achieves both intellectual excellence and public benefit. Such collaboration is not new, but in the past has tended to take a back seat to more conventional forms of research. Now, with enormous changes taking place because of austerity measures, particularly in the public sector, there is scope for universities to become more involved with the outside world and to ask more pertinent research questions.


I currently teach on the following modules:

  • TRP326, Values, theory and ethics
  • TRP450, Critical perspectives on planning processes
  • TRP6402, Perspectives on spatial planning and development

PhD Supervision

I have a long-standing commitment to the development of doctoral education and early career academics in planning.

PhD projects I have supervised have focussed on: the application of discourse analysis to environmental policy making in local government; the extent to which the changing nature of local governance is influencing the development plan process; an investigation of the ethical issues and power relationships in development control; sustainability and planning policies; an examination of the exercise of discourse and power in public participation strategies; an investigation of the concept of institutional racism in relation to consultation processes in planning; and consideration of the changing nature of professional identities in town planning.

I am Primary Supervisor for the following research students:

  • Katherine Blaker, Contemporary forms of mutual aid in post-industrial places
  • Cihan Cagil, The Istanbul International Finance Centre and World City planning in Istanbul
  • Annie Cruz-Porter, The digital city
  • Zhen Lu, Social justice and school district housing in China
  • Pu Niu, 'Deliberative democracy' and urban integration

Journal articles

View full list of publications