Dr Sarah Payne

University Teacher

Room number: F14
Telephone (internal): 26939
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6939
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 6939

Twitter: @paynesarah 
Personal Website 


I was awarded an MA (hons) Geography in 2003 followed by an MRes Land Economy in 2004 from the University of Aberdeen. I completed my PhD in the Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow in 2008. In 2007, during the final year of my doctoral research, I left academia for private practice, working as a Land Buyer for a volume housebuilder and a Property Consultant for developers and landowners. I re-joined academia in September 2012 as a Teaching Associate in the Department and was promoted to University Teacher in January 2016.
I am Director of Real Estate Programmes (MSc Real Estate & MSc Real Estate Planning & Development) and I lead on the academic side of the Department’s Employability provision across all degree programmes.

Outside the Department, I Chair the Faculty of Social Sciences Employability Group and I sit on the Faculty of Social Sciences Equality and Diversity Committee. I am currently External Examiner for the School of Surveying & Construction Management at Dublin Institute of Technology and an active member of the Housing Studies Association.

I am a Co-Investigator with the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), a consortium of 13 partners led by the University of Glasgow and funded by Economic and Social Research Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. CaCHE is a multidisciplinary partnership between academics, housing policy and practice and over the course of a five year programme, will produce evidence and new research which will aim to improve housing policy and practice across the UK.


In its broadest sense, my academic research is driven by a desire to understand what limits or stimulates real estate development activity. My pervading interest is in developing a more nuanced understanding of the real estate development process and in promoting the use of behavioural research to inform policy development, monitoring and evaluation.
My research interests coalesce around the following areas of investigation:

  • The UK housebuilding industry, including housebuilder business strategy, behaviours and motivations and organisational change.
  • The residential development process, including risk and innovation, environmental performance, community engagement, landowners and housing land markets.
  • Planning for new housing development, particularly in evaluating the efficacy of public policy interventions on the housebuilding industry and the residential development process.

Current and Recent Research Projects


My teaching explores the interface between the planning system and the real estate development process and seeks to investigate how planning policy influences the investment decisions and behavioural strategies of real estate developers. I’m keen for my students to think critically about the extent to which planners should intervene in market processes to achieve sustainable and prosperous development goals. The intention is to equip our planning graduates with a commercially aware understanding of the market processes in which they will operate and influence.

I currently teach on the following modules:

  • TRP130, Housing, Home and Neighbourhood
  • TRP235, The Development Process
  • TRP6405/6425, Integrated Project
  • TRP6417, Real Estate Development

PhD Supervision

I am  currently Primary Supervisor for the following PhD student:

  • Han Jiang, Zero carbon housing in China

I welcome PhD proposals from applicants interested in investigating research questions framed within the following broad topics: environmental performance in housing delivery; residential development in emerging economies; the property development process; qualitative understandings of risk in property development; valuation of green technologies in property investment; zero carbon housing in China and/or India; and state market relations in land and property.


Journal articles

  • Inch A, Dunning R, While A, Hickman H & Payne S (2020) 'The object is to change the heart and soul' : financial incentives, planning and opposition to new housebuilding in England. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. View this article in WRRO
  • Payne S (2020) Advancing understandings of housing supply constraints: housing market recovery and institutional transitions in British speculative housebuilding. Housing Studies, 35(2), 266-289. View this article in WRRO
  • Jiang H & Payne S (2019) Green housing transition in the Chinese housing market : a behavioural analysis of real estate enterprises. Journal of Cleaner Production, 241. View this article in WRRO
  • Payne S & Barker A (2018) Carbon regulation and pathways for institutional transition in market-led housing systems: A case study of English housebuilders and zero carbon housing policy. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 1(4), 470-493. View this article in WRRO


View full list of publications