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Planning Schools Research Directory

Featured Research

There is a large programme of research being carried out by planning schools which are accredited by the RTPI. The following list features current research taking place at the RTPI accredited planning schools, as well as other relevant research within other departments at these universities. To find out more about specific research topics, click on the featured subject headings below.

Built Environment / Climate Change / Community Cohesion and Social Inclusion / Conservation and Reconstruction / Economic Development / Energy / Environmental Management and Impact Assessment / Governance and Leadership / Health and Well-Being / Housing / International Development / Marine and Maritime Planning / Planning Theory and Education / Real Estate and Property Planning / Regeneration / Research MethodsSpace, Place and Local Planning / Spatial and Strategic Planning / Sustainable Planning and Development / Transport and Infrastructure / Urban Agriculture and Urban-Rural Interaction

Built Environment

ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY: The Built Environment Research Group (BERG) undertakes research in four inter-related spheres focusing on Sustainable Building Services and Architecture, Construction Materials, Sustainable Communities and Infrastructure Design and Professional Practice.

UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON: The Sustainable Construction and Environmental Planning group carries out interdisciplinary research on the built environment. Research projects currently cover topics including: access to food in the urban environment; building and energy modelling; coastal planning and regeneration; information and communication systems; evaluation of infrastructure procurement and contracts in emerging economies; and sustainable refurbishment and modernisation.

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY: The Spatial Planning and City Environments Research Group (SPACE) looks at themes such as Improving Design Quality in the Built Environment, the Effectiveness of Planning Policies and Planning Education through topics such as entrepreneurialism in governance and regeneration, liveability, education, the experience of consumers of planning systems and social justice.

UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE: The Geddes Institute for Urban Research brings together the research and practice-led methodologies from geography, planning and architecture, to provide a focal point and forum for urban research within the University.

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY: The Institute for Building and Urban Design (IBUD) focusses on discovering new insights into the current challenges facing the building industry to help inform policy makers and to provide the knowledge and tools required by professionals. The IBUD works to ensure that buildings, infrastructure, public spaces and places are buildable, fit for purpose, resource efficient, sustainable, resilient, adaptable and attractive. Research themes include urban design and planning, architectural engineering, construction management, climate change adaptation, innovation, low carbon buildings and sustainable construction.

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The proposed Centre for the Study of Asia's Architectural and Urban History (CSAAUH) will carry out research and training on the architectural and urban history of Asia. The centre aims to establish a network of related institutes, programmes and centres within the Asian region and internationally, to share methods, strategies, and arguments on themes concerning Chinese architectural history and theory. By doing so, the Centre hopes to help strengthen the Department's postgraduate research programme and to establish a postdoctoral fellows programme in the fields of Asian architecture, urban history and theory.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC) looks at the complex processes and practices that run through the development, adaptation and use of built environments. Specifically, the Centre carries out research on the co-evolution of design and the human, technological and ecological entities that compose buildings, public spaces, neighbourhoods, infrastructure and cities.

UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE: The Urban Design Studies Unit (UDSU) does research and consultancy on ecological, urban and economic sustainability, the history of urban design, minorities and the built environment. It is particularly interested in the interpretation of urban form and dynamics as layered manifestations of the complex relationships of mutual change and evolution.

UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE: The Centre for Research in Sustainability and Design works on the application of technology to help deliver a more sustainable built environment in response to government, industry and society needs. Research themes include: reducing social and environmental impacts; promoting energy and resource efficiencies; and the history and theory of buildings and cities and the relationships between architecture and culture.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Urban Design and Design Governance is one of the research themes as the Bartlett School of Planning which focusses on the design, governance, delivery, planning, development, use and stewardship of the built environment. Research projects cover topics related to the value of urban design; urban design as a place-shaping continuum; effective public space management; measuring local environmental quality; contemporary public space; design policies in local plans; planning indicators as tools in measuring planning and design performance and design coding.

Climate Change

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: The Environmental Economy and Policy Research Group (EEP) focuses on the analysis, development and evaluation of biodiversity and land management policies and regulations, and climate change mitigation. Within the EEP, there are two centres: the Rural Business Unit (RBU), which undertakes research on agricultural and horticultural economics for Defra, and the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (4CMR), which carries out research on climate change mitigation strategies and processes.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The EcoCities project specialises in research on the response of urban areas to the impacts of climate change. The project particularly focusses on how cities can be adapted to respond to the challenges and opportunities that a changing climate presents.

UNIVERSITY OF READING: The Walker Institute for Climate System Research aims to enhance understanding and improve prediction of the risks and opportunities from our changing climate. The Institute focusses on three key priorities: Africa; Climate of the next 30 years; and Extremes and variability.

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND: The Centre for Floods, Communities and Resilience (CFCR) is an interdisciplinary centre focused on promoting resilient futures in a changing flood risk context. Research themes include: Community Development and Resilience; Representation, Perception and Behaviour; Water Science and Engineering; Policy and Governance; and Cross Cutting Themes, such as scaling, education, knowledges and communication.

Community Cohesion and Social Inclusion

UNIVERITY OF BRIGHTON: Access, Disadvantage and Exclusion (a research strand in Society, Space and Environment) addresses issues on injustices related to access to resources, social institutions and culture. Research looks at the processes and power-plays through which access is realised or denied, and through which practices of disadvantage and exclusion may be produced. Research projects currently cover: landscape and disability; geographies of sexualities; leisure and recreation environments; gendered geographies of migration, natural resource access and enclosure; and human responses to environmental variability.

UNIVERITY OF BRIGHTON: The New Methodologies and Research Practice group (a research strand in Society, Space and Environment) undertakes agenda-setting research on co-production of knowledge and transformative learning, which engages policy makers, communities and donors. Research projects currently cover: participatory methodologies for research and pedagogy; policy related projects that have changed government thinking and policy; the politics and ethics of representing human experience within disadvantaged groups; and methodologies that seek to disrupt hierarchies within knowledge co-production through innovative collaborative dissemination.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Centre for Equity in Education is concerned with the development of educational responses to low achieving learners and others who experience marginalisation within current arrangements. Since these groups tend to be concentrated in the disadvantaged areas of towns and cities, the Centre particularly focusses its work with practitioners and policy makers on developing responses to disadvantage in urban contexts.

Conservation and Reconstruction

BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY: Post-war reconstruction and re-planning. The study explores issues such as the agencies involved in reconstruction, the costs of reconstruction planning and how ideas of urban design and conservation have been incorporated in reconstruction plans.

OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY: The Urban Design Group is concerned with key issues on urban design and conservation, such as urban morphology, townscape appraisal, master-planning, public open space design and the rehabilitation of buildings and historic areas.

Economic Development

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Economic Development is one of the research themes at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS). This research group focusses on contemporary economic change and the development and re-organisation of economic activity at different spatial scales. Topics covered include the role of knowledge networks around organisations in promoting economic change; sectors and clusters of strategic importance for local and regional economies (automotive, creative industries); and the development and evaluation of policies responding to economic changes affecting urban regions.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value (LCSV) looks at new and competing ways of valuing social and environmental harm and care, and how these present both challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world. 'Value' is explored in a variety of social and environmental contexts, from the valuation of human life and development in the public and private sectors to the values being created in new markets for carbon, biodiversity, land and water.

LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY: The Local Economy Policy Unit (LEPU) connects with research, practice and policy around the world to promote local economic development. It houses four research centres which act as hubs for research development and activities: the Centre for Media and Culture Research, the Centre for Educational Research, the Centre for Research in Psychology and the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research


ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY: The Engineering Analysis, Simulation and Tribology Group (EAST), carries out research on energy and the environment and the design and testing of passive and active energy absorbers for earthquake damping and roadside pedestrian protection systems.

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL: Adaptation and Resilience of Coastal Energy (ARCoES) is a cross-disciplinary working and research project that aims to identify how the UK nuclear energy sector and coastal energy supply in the Northwest region can be adapted to future climate change impacts and thus become more resilient. It is developing a decision-support tool that will enable sustainable coastal energy, focussing particularly on the adaptation of coastal power stations, substations and distribution grids. The project will run until 2017.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy (CURE) focusses its research and policy work on social-ecological resilience, energy flows and urban structures, and how these are embedded in broader social, spatial and political relations. CURE applies resilience thinking to help steer our behaviour, settlements and landscapes towards more sustainable city-regions.

Environmental Management and Impact Assessment

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK: The Changing Coasts, Climates and Societies research cluster carries out research related to Earth processes and the environment. Research themes include the cryosphere, hydrology, environmental management and planning.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK: The Environment, Society and Governance research cluster focusses on the physical environment and human activity, with particular interest in the planning, management and understanding of environmental change. Research themes include sustainability, planning tools and conceptual models and resilient and adaptable human communities and economies.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN: The Environment: Process, Change & Policy research theme at the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy  carries out interdisciplinary research on the physical environment and its processes, environmental policy and politics, and governance for sustainable development. Research project themes include resource management, evaluation and assessment, computer-based modelling and GIS, environmental governance and policy instruments, environmental risk and resilience, the spatial dimensions of sustainability and adaptation to climate change.

OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY: The Impact Assessment Group (IAU) focuses on issues such as Environmental Impact Assessment procedures, environmental policy, climate change and sustainable urban economic development. Recent research includes adaptation strategies for climate change in the built environment (EPSRC), adaptation to the impacts of climate change on biodiversity (MACIS), territorial innovation and absorptive capacity of city regional economies (NESTA) and sustainability appraisals of development plans and environmental statements.

UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH: The Centre for Research in Environment and Society (CeRES) draws together research related to environment-society interactions, environmental processes and change, and their governance through regulation, management policies and stakeholder involvement. Research themes include Environment, Society and Governance; Quaternary Environments; the Geography of International Development; Electoral Politics; Catchment Processes and Management; and Sustainable Transport.

Governance and Leadership

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Place Leadership is one of the research themes at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS). The project focuses on the design, development and evaluation of the University's Leadership of Place research programme that has been developed together with the Homes and Communities Agency. The programme aims to enhance leadership skills in creating successful places and delivering large scale projects in a changing policy environment. This team is also connected to the Centre for Leadership at the University of Birmingham (CLUB).

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY: The Urban and Regional Governance Research Group is concerned with the changing ways in which places are organised, governed and influenced by globalisation, decentralised governance structures and technological and cultural influences. It looks at how this impacts places, society and the relationship with policy and planning.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre (ESID) looks at the combined influence of elitist and popular forms of politics and the importance of global influences in creating the conditions for a government to achieve its development goals and produce policies that are pro-poor. ESID research takes on a broad approach, looking at how 'developmental states' emerge and might be promoted, within specific policy areas, including growth and employment, basic services, social protection, access to justice and natural resource governance.

UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH: The Sustainable Leadership, Governance and Policy (SLGP) Research Centre carries out research, consultancy and advice on issues related to SLGP through six key research groups: Governance, Decision Making and Risk (GDMR); Human Resource and Leadership Studies Research Group (HR & L); International Business and Management Research Group (IBM); Plymouth Sustainability and Surfing Research Group (PSSRG); Politics and International Studies Group (PISG); and the Social and Public Policy Group (SPPG).

UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE: The Centre for the Study of Public Policy (CSPP) carries out research on themes related to the growth of government, social welfare, elections, democratisation, corruption, social capital and health.

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: The Governance, Place and Space research group focuses on how people experience and understand place and space in cities and other urban areas. Members study what drives urban change, looking especially at the relative balance between governments, communities and the private sector in shaping the future of urban areas. While much of the research is focused on current and recent urban development, it also values the importance of historical study in understanding the forces shaping contemporary cities. The work has a strong international flavour, with research undertaken in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, as well as in the UK. 

Health and Well-being

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: GoWell is a research programme that aims to investigate the impact of investment in housing, regeneration and neighbourhood renewal on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities over a ten-year period. The programme aims to learn about the relative effectiveness of different approaches and to inform policy and practice in Scotland and beyond. The study consists of a longitudinal resident survey over a six year period (2012, 2014 and 2016) and a cohort study of physical activity among secondary school children (in 2013) over a five year period.

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND: The WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities carries out research on promoting sustainable settlements and healthier places. The Centre focusses on four key research themes: Health equity; Healthy life course; Healthy lifestyles; and Health in built environment education.


UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK: The Housing Studies Project (HSP) undertakes research on a range of areas related to housing policy, including housing management, tenant participation, homelessness and housing needs. HSP is presently undertaking an assessment of housing needs in the Cork area for Cork Social Housing Forum.

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: The Housing and Urban Economics Research Group (HUERG) brings together research clustered around the following themes: housing systems, markets and finance; land and commercial real estate; economics of urban social problems (e.g. urban crime, residential segregation and sorting processes) and transport and environmental sustainability.

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY: The Institute for Housing, Urban and Real Estate Research (IHURER) works on Social and Urban Policy Research, under eight key themes: Affordability, Housing Markets and Private Renting; Commercial Property Markets; Diversity/Black and Minority Ethnic Communities; Homelessness and Social Exclusion; Housing and Urbanisation in China and Asia; Housing Development, Design and Regeneration; Housing Policy, Management and Governance; and Neighbourhoods and Deprivation.

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The Affordable Housing Research Network (AHRN) conducts research on affordable housing policy, planning, design and practice in the Asia Pacific region. Through its research on housing quality, equity and efficiency, the AHRN aims to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in Hong Kong, China and Asia generally, and to inform local government and communities of the research findings.

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY: The Cities and International Development (CID) group focuses primarily on research related to housing, urban planning, environment and poverty issues facing the rapidly growing cities of the Global South. The CID group is part of Newcastle University's Global Urban Research Unit (GURU).

QUEENS UNIVERSITY BELFAST: Strategic Planning Action Network (SPAN): This project is funded by INTERREG and involves partner Universities in the Republic of Ireland, France and Belgium. It is focused on housing and local development in rural areas and the ways in which community-led schemes can improve the physical and human resource base in an area. This research falls under the Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning (ISEP) research cluster.

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER: Research carried out by the Housing sub-group at the Centre for Research on Property and Planning (RPP) includes the future of the private rented sector, the role of co-ownership, and the operation of local housing markets. The group has also carried out research on affordability, the resale performance of former Housing Executive property on the open market, the House Sales Scheme, demographic trends and housing needs in Northern Ireland.

UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER: The Sustainable Communities Research Group focuses on the design and development of mixed income and mixed tenure housing areas. This group is a sub-group of the Urban Research Group.

The Highbury Group is an independent group of specialists who prepare proposals for Government and other agencies on affordable housing and housing delivery in responses to the credit crunch. This group is a sub-group of the Urban Research Group.

International Development

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Research Programme Consortium on Improving Institutions for Pro-Poor Growth (IPPG) supports innovative scholarly research, and seeks to influence development policy and practice that contributes to achievement of the MDGs. IPPG particularly focuses on research that looks at ways in which growth can be made distinctly pro-poor and how political processes can enhance and not hinder appropriate institutional development.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Global Urban Research Centre (GURC) focuses on the challenges of an increasingly urbanised world, particularly in the global South, to inform urban development debates and influence policy and practice. GURC specialises in the following themes: asset accumulation and urban poverty reduction; climate change adaptation; insecurity, violence and conflict; asset planning in cities; and transnational migration.

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY: The Cities, Security and Vulnerability (CSV) Group brings together research concerned with the politics of risk, security and vulnerability in cities across the world. The CSV group is part of Newcastle University's Global Urban Research Unit (GURU).

Marine and Maritime Planning

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL: The Celtic Seas Partnership brings together the stakeholders of the Celtic Seas, to encourage partnership working in conserving and protecting Europe's seas while allowing sustainable use of its natural marine resources. The partnership, which includes the University of Liverpool amongst others, focusses on key European legislation, disseminates best practice directly to influence marine management at a national and European level, and offers marine stakeholders the opportunity to help shape and influence how their seas will be managed. This project will run until 2016.

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL: Transboundary Planning in the European Atlantic (TPEA) is a project on cross-border maritime spatial planning in the European Atlantic region. The project involves ten governmental and research partners, including the University of Liverpool, working together on two pilot sites to examine the critical elements of the planning process in response to legal and policy frameworks, participatory approaches and technical considerations. The project will run until 2014.

UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH: The Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research (MarCoPol) aims to provide a sound scientific, social, legal and economic basis for improving policy and management for the sustainable use and protection of the marine and coastal environment. Research themes include: Marine and Coastal Governance; Marine Conservation; Marine Ecosystem Services and Economics; and Society and the Sea.

Planning Theory and Education

UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN: The African Centre for Cities (ACC) is an inter-disciplinary research and teaching centre that links urban-related work across the university. Research themes cover topics related to urban infrastructure and planning, the environment, governance, and space and culture. The ACC also works in collaboration with the Association of African Planning Schools to update curricula and foster a new research ethos that is firmly anchored in the African context.

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD: The Planning, Theory and Practice Research Cluster specialises in theoretical concepts, policy and practice to gain an understanding of the nature of planning and policy fields. Three key themes include: the values in planning; the analysis of the mobilisation of ideas within planning frameworks and policy outcomes; and government practices between and within the state and society.

Real Estate and Property Planning

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: The Real Estate and Urban Analysis Research Group (REUA) focuses on resource allocation as applied to land, real estate, urban and regional economies and public policy. The group's research concentrates on three key areas: Real estate and finance; Urban and regional analysis; and Property law. The group also has two research centres: the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR), which specialises in policy-oriented research on housing and land use planning, and the Centre for Economic and Public Policy (CCEPP), which combines economic and social research to analyse the spatial dimensions of the interactions between finance, economic development and economic growth.

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The Ronald Coase Centre for Property Rights Research (RCCPRR) carries out interdisciplinary, empirical research on real estate, property rights and urban economics. The management committee includes the Faculty of Architecture, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Business and Economics.

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The Centre for Construction Innovation and Technology incorporating the BIM Laboratory coordinates and promotes research with local industry and international academic collaborators on innovation and technology advancement in construction and real estate in Hong Kong, China and the South East Asian region. The Centre is based at the University of Hong Kong but is run in collaboration with both the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the City University.

KINGSTON UNIVERSITY: The Real Estate Research Centre (RERC) focuses on the valuation, appraisal and management of property in the context of sustainability. RERC is currently undertaking research in five fields: Property Appraisal and Valuation Techniques and Methodologies; Regulatory Systems, Legal and Professional Standards Framework; Commercial Property Markets: Analysis, Operation and Promotion of Innovative Practice; Spatial Planning and Sustainable Communities; and Professional Education and Organisation of the Built Environment Professions.

UNIVERSIT OF READING: The School of Real Estate and Planning focusses on researching themes related to real estate and planning in close interaction with industry, policy and professional practice. The School incorporates four research groups: the Real Estate Investment and Finance (REIF) Group, which focuses mainly on commercial direct and indirect real estate markets; the Valuation, Leasing and Market Practice (VLMP) Group, which specialises in real estate appraisal/ valuation, commercial lease policy and practice and property management; the Environment, Sustainability and Participation (ESP) Group, which focuses on policy and practice themes ranging from World Cities to community planning policy; and the Housing Economics (HE) Group, which primarily carries out research on housing supply issues.

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER: The Property Tax sub-group at the Centre for Research on Property and Planning (RPP) looks at property tax systems in a number of countries. Research includes an examination of options for a capital value system and a review of policy and property tax in Kosovo, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Northern Ireland.


UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Urban Regeneration and Resilience is one of the research themes at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS). This research group focusses on sustainable regeneration and housing policy, and addresses the governance structures that facilitate management and effective community engagement in these processes. Much research is carried out in close cooperation with the University's Third Sector Research Centre, and the University is also investing in themes around Resilience and Urban Living, such as understanding the capability and capacity of social and physical urban systems to withstand and adapt to social, political, environmental and economic change.

SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY: The Urban and Regional Studies research group focuses on issues such as urban planning, regeneration, gender equality, environmental sustainability and transport. Research themes involve urban regeneration, community safety and environmental issues.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Urban Regeneration is one of the research themes as the Bartlett School of Planning which examines the interrelationship of property markets and planning and the effectiveness and sustainability of urban regeneration in the UK and international contexts. Research themes engage with issues such as housing supply, affordability and social cohesion; identity and engagement; the impacts of housing growth and house building industry practice.

QUEENS UNIVERSITY BELFAST: Area-based regeneration and reducing poverty looks at the relationship between area-based regeneration and poverty, as part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's development of an anti-poverty strategy for the UK. The study analyses the effectiveness of past and current interventions, looking at recommendations for future anti-poverty strategies within the current UK social, economic and political context. This research falls under the Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning (ISEP) research cluster.  

QUEENS UNIVERSITY BELFAST: Contested Cities and Urban Universities: The study aims to look at the interface between regeneration and reconciliation in contested cities such as Belfast. This research falls under the Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning (ISEP) research cluster.

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER: The Regeneration sub-group at the Centre for Research on Property and Planning (RPP) focuses on improving transparency in regeneration investment and identification and removal of barriers to private sector investment in regeneration. Recent research has improved understanding of the investment needs of institutional investors and illustrated the potential for fiscal measures to attract investment into regeneration.

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER: The Investment and Real Estate Markets sub-group at the Centre for Research on Property and Planning (RPP) particularly focuses on issues related to enhancing transparency in regeneration, the benchmarking of regeneration property investment returns and the identification of barriers to private sector investment in regeneration. Key projects include: innovative investment vehicles, evaluation of fiscal incentives, benchmarking of investment returns and barriers to private sector investment.

Research Methods

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: The Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC) is a research resource promoting the use of innovative methods and complex urban data to address global city challenges.

Space, Place and Local Planning

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: The Neighbourhoods and Wellbeing Group focuses on local places in towns and cities, and how neighbourhoods shape individual and collective outcomes in health, crime and education. Research topics include neighbourhood character and context; neighbourhood functional effectiveness; and neighbourhood dynamics and effects.

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY: The Power, Place and Materiality (PPM) Group focusses on the planning, design, development, management and use of the material and social environment. Using cultural and social analysis, the research focuses on the concepts and meanings of place, the production of space, and the power relations between different people and institutions involved. The PPM group is part of Newcastle University's Global Urban Research Unit (GURU).

SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY: The Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) specialises in the impact of social and economic disadvantage on place and people. Research carried out by CRESR focusses on the assessment of policies and interventions targeted at these issues, with recent research particularly focusing on regeneration, housing and labour market analysis.

SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY: The Centre for Education and Inclusion Research (CEIR) specialises in children and young people, social inclusion, learning, education and skills. CEIR works with practitioners, policy makers and managers to offer high quality, theoretically grounded research, evaluation and consultancy.

QUEENS UNIVERSITY BELFAST: Planning Shared Space looks at the relationship between demographic and territorial changes in Belfast. The study will promote the concept of shared space as an important issue in the creation of a sustainable shared future for Belfast. This research falls under the Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning (ISEP) research cluster.

Spatial and Strategic Planning

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Strategic Spatial Planning is one of the research themes at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS), which carries out analytical research for the development of strategic spatial planning resources at the local and regional scale. Topics covered include: socio-economic, environmental and policy analysis; strategic site planning; planning practice and decision-making; and the development of wide-area spatial analysis.

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY: The Spatial Analysis Group looks at answering theoretical and practical research questions by applying pure and applied research. The group has looked at themes such as Sustainability; Governance and Planning; Social Inclusion; and Data Integration and Visualisation.   

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN: The Cities, Regions and Spatial Planning research theme at the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy  particularly focuses on understanding the relationships between societal processes, planning and policy interventions and their impacts and outcomes on cities and regions. Research project themes include the governance and politics of regeneration, housing, community participation, sub-urbanisation and rural-urban fringe management, regional land-use change, the development of spatial data infrastructures, urban resilience and competitiveness.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Urban and Regional Development and Governance is one of the research themes as the Bartlett School of Planning which focuses on planning systems, policies and processes in the UK, Europe and beyond. Key areas of interest include the inter-relations between planning, sustainability and economic development, including multi-level governance; town and country planning; regeneration; consumption and production; investment and property development; eco-design and planning for climate change; quality and performance management; spatial planning and planning for growth and learning, innovation and knowledge transfer. Research projects include the China Planning Research Group (CPRG), which aims to provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on China's recent development.

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY: The Planning and Environmental Dynamics (P&ED) group researches issues related to spatial planning and environmental management, including the context in which governance interactions occur, conflicts and synergies within and between urban systems, environmental performance, the drivers of change, shifting power relations, revised legislation and procedural requirements. The P&ED group is part of Newcastle University's Global Urban Research Unit (GURU).

OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY: The Spatial Planning Group brings together a range of global policy concerns within spatial planning, including Planning Thought and Governance; Economic Development Innovation and Regeneration; and Accessibility Transportation and Migration. Recent research includes: Discourses on walking and cycling in English urban areas, Analysing major infrastructure and Port cities and the Global exchange of planning ideas.

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD: The Spatial Development Research Cluster focuses on the links between theories, processes and policies concerning spatial development in the economy, society and built environment. This translates into four themes: economies, markets and the state; policy and governance; spatial knowledge; and the making of places.

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER: The Spatial Planning sub-group at the Centre for Research on Property and Planning (RPP) specialises in themes related to sustainability, community planning, development management, policy process, modernisation and planning reform. Research particularly focuses on the context of Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, and recent projects include: energy storage, mobile telephony, cross-border planning, rural planning, community planning and marine spatial planning.

UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER: The Centre for Urban and Regional Governance (CURG) is concerned with finding the right scale in managing dynamic economies, without restricting their policy responses by the (administrative, historical and cultural) divisions between 'city' and 'region'. This group is a sub-group of the Urban Research Group.

Sustainable Planning and Development

UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER: The Max Lock Centre carries out international development research on spatial planning for sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and local economic development. Research themes include poverty reduction in developing countries, policy and practice for urban and regional planning, management and governance in the built environment and community empowerment. This group is a sub-group of the Urban Research Group.

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND: The Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments (SPE) carries out research on furthering our understanding of what sustainable places are, and the processes involved in achieving them. The Centre seeks to provide research evidence at different scales from the neighbourhood to the region, and to understand the social construction of urban problems and solutions. Three key themes that SPE focusses on are: Sustainable urban environments; Governance of place; and Planning theory, policy and practice.

Transport and Infrastructure

UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN: The Centre for Transport Studies addresses research around three broad arenas: integrated institutional and policy frameworks; integrated plans and strategies; and innovative transport planning and management methods to plan, construct and manage more equitable, efficient and sustainable urban transport systems.

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY: The Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE) undertakes research on topics related to climate change, sustainable development, infrastructure and personal and national security, in order to deliver technological advances and inform government policy. Specialist themes include water management, infrastructure provision, railway engineering, sustainability, construction materials, geo-mechanics and structural analysis.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Transport Systems and Infrastructure is one of the research themes as the Bartlett School of Planning which engages with sustainable modes of travel, overcoming inequalities in urban and rural mobility and the challenges associated with delivering major infrastructure projects in advanced and developing economies. Research projects include: the OMEGA Centre, which looks at how uncertainty and risk-taking are managed in different cultures and contexts in the planning and evaluation of transportation and infrastructure projects, and Sustainable Integrated Tram-Based Transport Projects for Peripheral European Regions (SINTROPHER), a project which aims to develop sustainable, cost-effective solutions to improve accessibility to, from and within the peripheral regions in North-West Europe.

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: The Centre for Urban Policy Studies (CUPS) provides policy research and evaluation of area-based regeneration initiatives, territorial spatial planning and spatial neighbourhood dynamics. Current projects include: the Transformational Infrastructure Project (which looks at how infrastructure can be delivered in different ways), the TellUs Toolkit (an applied Multi- Criteria-Evaluation Spatial Decision Support System methodology for utility network constraint mapping), the Soft Spaces in European Planning project (which studies the intersection of statutory and non-statutory governance systems for planning in the UK) and the Institutional Dynamics of Urban Greening group, which researches the role of private developers in green infrastructure provision.

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER: Research undertaken by the Transportation and Spatial Planning sub-group at the Centre for Research on Property and Planning (RPP) focuses on trans-boundary issues of accessibility, social justice, sustainability and social exclusion. The group has particularly focussed on themes including air travel behaviour, public transport, and specific policy approaches such as the use of travel plans and other measures to encourage a change in behaviour. These approaches are designed to inform both government and organisational policy with respect to providing for transport demand.

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND: The Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) carries out research to improve and promote a better understanding of the inherent links between lifestyles and personal travel. CTS focusses on seven key strategic themes: Car dependence; Experience of the travel environment; Mobility and the ageing population; Promoting inclusive, low carbon, active travel; Supporting and evaluating sustainable mobility strategies; Technologies and travel; and Understanding and influencing attitudes and behaviours.

UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER: The Centre for Urban infrastructures aims to encourage innovation and cross-fertilisation of ideas on wellbeing in cities, and the role of transport, infrastructure, urban planning and design. A key focus is on the place-based nature of both 'hard' and 'soft' infrastructures in cities. The centre builds on particular expertise of their researchers in freight and logistics, air transport, cycle movements, infrastructure development, urban planning and development, housing and urban design, as well as public policy analysis in the UK and abroad. 

Urban Agriculture and Urban-Rural Interaction

BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY: COST Action Urban Allotment: This four year project focuses on the importance of European urban allotments: their social, ecological and design principles and impact on sustainable development. The project brings together researchers and practitioners from across Europe, and Birmingham City University holds a position on the Management Committee of the Action, essentially representing the UK on the decision-making arm of the project. The project will run until 2016.

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY: The Environment Research Group is working on projects related to Sustainable Production and Consumption Systems and Planning and Governance delivery. It is also looking into developing themes on Urban Food systems; Ethnography, Visual methods for Mapping and the Governance of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL: The Pioneers in Urban-Rural Entrepreneurship Hub (PURE Hub) aims to reconnect rural practice and the needs of urban social and economic well-being, in order to enhance the quality of life in both cities and their rural hinterlands. The project, funded through Interreg, is a multi-sector partnership between public and private sector organisations, including the University of Liverpool, whom work together to discover ways to stimulate urban-rural interaction and to empower urban and rural stakeholders through involvement, interaction and knowledge transfer. This project will run until 2014.


*Please note: we are aiming to keep details of research up to date. If your research isn't featured in the list, please let us know by e-mailing us at


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