Personal profile

Overview

I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, where I completed my ESRC-funded PhD in 2022. My thesis is titled “A Critical History of Urban Regeneration in British Architecture and Planning, 1960s-80s.” I also have a Masters in Urban Studies from University College London, and a BA in History of Art from Goldsmiths, University of London. I have lectured and taught widely in planning and architecture, including devising and leading my own history module "Urban Anti-Urbanism in the 20th Century" (2021-22) and teaching on the design studio "Infrastructure Space" (2022-23.)

My PhD dissertation "A Critical History of Urban Regeneration in 20th Century British Architecture and Planning, 1960s-1980s", concerns the social and political history of 20th century urban decentralisation in the United Kingdom, including its often-posited end-point: the rise of inner city redevelopment policy in the 1980s. My thesis reassesses this history by making use of methods from architectural history, and by looking backwards from the perspective of a well-posited turning-point, the London Docklands Development Corporation, which is the primary case study. My research is both informed by, and seeks to contribute to, contemporary debates in urban theory, notably on the concept of Planetary Urbanization. My PhD was supervised by Prof Lukasz Stanek and Prof Kevin Ward, and was examined by Prof Nicholas Phelps (University of Melbourne) and Dr Lea-Catherine Szacka.

Since April 2023 I have worked as Research Manager at the Royal Town Planning Institute, where I lead on delivering the Institute's research strategy. The role involves commissioning new research for the benefit of the planning profession, convening the academic research conducted at the RTPI's accredited planning schools, and leading the Institute's work as the learned society for the planning discipline.

Research outline

The thesis investigates the beginning of the end of post-war urban decentralisation (decongestion, dispersal) in the United Kingdom, and attempts to provide an analysis of the rise of contemporary forces of urbanisation—urban regeneration and gentrification—which is historically grounded and at the same time of theoretical value to contemporary critical scholarship.

It does this through challenging the predominance of the year 1979 and Thatcher’s election as the primary point of recent historical disjuncture; instead it looks (1) to the legacy of 1968 and the liberal, counter-cultural challenge to the bureaucratic, administered society, and how Milton Keynes (the last successful, largest, and most economically successful of Britain’s new towns) was the product of a crisis in the post-war conception of the relationship of state and society, and (2) examines critically the initial development and self-conception of the Thatcher government’s London Docklands Development Corporation, showing how in its early years, its horizons for urbanisation were far more akin to those of Milton Keynes than to in its later years during the development of Canary Wharf.

The research therefore hypothesises a challenge to the black-and-white argumentation that 1970s urbanisation was ‘social democratic’ or ‘socialist’ and that 1980s urbanisation was ‘neoliberal’. Instead, by on the one hand making visible an ideological thread of reform which connects post-war decentralisation and present day concentrated urbanisation, and on the other hand posing the question of the meaning of the end of generalised urban decentralisation, I aim to provide a more accurate analysis of the ideological and historical specificity of contemporary concentrated urbanisation.

Placement

As part of my PhD, I initiated and conducted a 3-month research placement at an independent charity in Milton Keynes, the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (MKCDC). This was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and supplemented with 3-month PhD + funding extension. The outcomes of this placement were threefold:

  • I conducted archival research at MKCDC and local authority archive to assist the Heritage Lottery funded project “New Town Heritage Explorers”.
  • I conducted preliminary research and work formulating Manchester School of Architecture MArch research methods course: “Archives of (Energy) Transition” including student fieldtrip late 2019
  • I formulated, organised and chaired a roundtable discussion at ‘A Festival of Creative Urban Living’ (comissioned by Milton Keynes Council): ‘Planning and Community in the “Non-place Urban Realm”’, at Milton Keynes Gallery. For more details and audio recording see https://archive.org/details/planningandcommunityinthenonplaceurbanrealm

Contact

Email: [email protected]

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, Urban Studies (Distinction), University College London (UCL)

4 Sept 20154 Sept 2017

Award Date: 1 Nov 2017

Bachelor of Arts, History of Art (Hons, 1st), Goldsmiths College (University of London)

1 Sept 20111 Jul 2014

Award Date: 1 Sept 2014

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