My work takes a critical approach to the theory and practice of governance and policy at the urban/ local/ neighbourhood scales. I am interested in how state-society relationships are adapting to globalising transformations in variegated ways, including strategies of collaboration, collective action and contestation. I completed my undergraduate degree (Geography, 1992) at Oxford University, and have postgraduate degrees in demography (Cardiff University, 1993), regeneration (University of Westminster, 1999), and a Master in Public Administration (Harvard University, 2001). This training supported my pre-Phd career in urban policy, research and practice, including as a local government regeneration manager, in planning for housing supply in central (UK) and state (Australian) government, and as a researcher at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. After completing my PhD (2010) and a post-doctoral fellowship (at Cardiff University), I was senior lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney (2015-2019). I joined the University of Sheffield in 2020.
I am Deputy Director (Cities, Environment and Liveability pathway) for the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership and am the Department’s Director of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion.
My critical approach to the theory and practice of governance and policy at the urban/ local/ neighbourhood scales takes a comparative perspective with a particular emphasis on the UK, US and Australia. I am interested in changing state-society relationships and the scope for and limits to governments and citizens enabling or engendering change, equitable urban policy and international policy transfer.
My research into neighbourhood governance includes a comparative investigation in Baltimore (US) and Bristol; an assessment of approaches in London; development of the evidence base for policy approaches in Wales; and regarding the implications of England’s localism agenda.
My international comparative research on collaborative urban governance under austerity draws on research in Cardiff and Baltimore as part of major, interdisciplinary research teams. I explore shifts in local government policy and practice, including changing forms of collaboration and attitudes towards inculcating, regulating or restricting informality; the rise of co-production as a contested approach; new municipalism and community wealth building; and the governance roles played by non-state actors, such as third sector organisations, ‘ed and med’ anchor institutions and philanthropic foundations. My Australian research includes informal housing in Sydney and the governance implications of the UK to Australia policy transfer of place-based funding deals.
Current and recent research projects
Strategic Planning, City Deals and Affordable Housing (2018-2020) Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
Organising the 21st Century City: An International Comparison of Urban Alliances as Citizen Engagement (2017-20) The Halloran Trust
Informal accommodation and vulnerable households in metropolitan Sydney: the scale, drivers and policy responses (2017-18) Sydney Policy Lab
Collaborative Governance under Austerity: An eight-case Comparative Study (2015-18) ESRC Urban Transformations
Transgob: the role of participatory urban governance in times of crisis and austerity (2013-15) Spanish Government National R&D Plan Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
I have been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2014.
I teach on the following modules:
- TRP473-673 Mega urban projects
- TRP61008/61007 Urban regeneration
- Pill, M.C. (2020) The austerity governance of Baltimore's neighborhoods: 'The conversation may have changed but the systems aren't changing' Journal of Urban Affairs 42(1): 143-158
- Pill, M.C. and Guarneros-Meza, V. (2019) The Everyday Local State? Opening up and closing down informality in local governance Local Government Studies
- Pill, M.C. (2019) Embedding in the City? Locating Civil Society in the Philanthropy of Place Community Development Journal 54(2): 179-196
- Pill, M.C. and Guarneros-Meza, V. (2018) Local Governance Under Austerity: Hybrid Organisations and Hybrid Officers Policy & Politics 46(3): 409-425
- Guarneros-Meza, V., Tellería, I., Blas, A. and Pill, M.C. (2018) The Jewel in the Crown: Co-optive capacity and participation during austerity in Cardiff and San Sebastian-Donostia International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42(6): 1096-1113
- Bailey, N. and Pill, M.C. (2015) Can the State Empower Communities through Localism? A Review of Recent Approaches to Neighbourhood Governance in England Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 33(2): 289-304
- Pill, M.C. and Bailey, N. (2014) The Potential for Neighbourhood Regeneration in a Period of Austerity: Changing forms of Neighbourhood Governance in Two Cities Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal 7(2): 150-163
- Pill, M.C. (2012) Neighbourhood Initiatives in Wales and England: Shifting Purposes and Changing Scales People, Place and Policy Online 6(2): 76-89
- Pill, M.C. and Bailey, N. (2012) Community Empowerment or a Strategy of Containment? Evaluating Neighbourhood Governance in the City of Westminster Local Government Studies 38(6): 731-751
- Davies, J.S and Pill, M.C. (2012) Hollowing-out Neighbourhood Governance? Re-scaling Revitalization in Baltimore and Bristol Urban Studies 49(10): 2199-2217
- Davies, J.S and Pill, M.C. (2012) Empowerment or Abandonment? Prospects for Neighbourhood Revitalization under the Big Society Public Money and Management 32(3): 193-200
- Bristow, G., Pill, M.C., Davies, R. and Drinkwater S. (2012) Location, Location… Employment? Understanding Welsh Graduate Mobility over Time Welsh Economic Review 23: 25-29
- Bailey, N. and Pill, M.C. (2011) The Continuing Popularity of the Neighbourhood and Neighbourhood Governance in the Transition from the ‘Big State’ to the ‘Big Society’ Paradigm Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 29(5): 927-942
- Bristow, G., Pill, M.C., Davies, R. and Drinkwater S. (2011) Stay, Leave or Return? Patterns of Welsh Graduate Mobility People, Place and Policy Online 5(3): 135-148
- Pill, M.C. and Rogers, D. (2019) Urban policy in: Australian Politics and Policy: senior edition, Eds: P. Chen, N. Barry, J. Butcher, D. Clune, I. Cook, A. Garnier, Y. Haigh, S. Motta & M. Taflaga. Sydney: Sydney University Press
- Pill, M.C. (2018) Philanthropic Foundations in the City Policy Process: a Perspective on Policy Capacity from the United States in: Policy Capacity and Governance: Assessing Governmental Competences and Capabilities in Theory and Practice, Eds: W. Xun, M. Howlett & M. Ramesh. Basingstoke: Palgrave Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy
- Urban Crew (2018) Sydney: We Need to Talk University of Sydney, Sydney
- Gurran, N., Pill M.C., Maalsen, S., Alizadeh, T. and Shrestha, P. (2019) Informal accommodation and vulnerable households in metropolitan Sydney: Scale, drivers and policy responses Sydney Policy Lab and Urban Housing Lab, University of Sydney, Sydney
- Davies, J.S. (Ed.) (2017) Governing in and against austerity: international lessons from eight cities ESRC Project Stakeholder Report. De Montfort University Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA), Leicester
- Pill, M.C. and Guarneros-Meza, V. (2016) Collaborative Governance Under Austerity: The Case of Cardiff. Transgob Report Series Number 1, Autonomous University of Barcelona Institute of Governance and Public Policy, Barcelona