Kevin Ward

Kevin Ward


Personal profile


Postgraduate opportunities

Kevin is always keen to hear from potential PhD students. Please email him with a 2-3 page research outline. He is particularly keen to work with students in the following areas:

  • Governance, struggle, and negotiation as differing modes of politics
  • Benchmarking, comparison and learning between cities
  • Struggles and negotiations around urban sustainability and resilience
  • Collective consumption and social reproduction in the twenty first century
  • Exchanges, visits and learning between cities
  • Im/mobile urban policies and their mutations
  • Informality and the everyday in cities
  • Infrastructure and its provision and financing in the current economic crisis
  • Urban, suburban and post-suburban political forms

Further information

Administrative experience

At the University of Manchester

  • Director, Manchester Urban Institute (2016 - )
  • Director of External Relations (2012-2015)
  • Director, cities@manchester (2010-2016 )
  • Research Director, School of Environment and Development (2005-6, 2008)
  • Dissertation Director, Undergraduate Degree Programme (2007-2011)
  • Programme Director, MA Economy and Space (2000-2005)
  • Programme Director, MA Human Geography (2002-2005)
  • Undergraduate admissions Tutor (2002-2005)
  • Personal Tutor of first, second and third year students (2000-2005)
  • Mentor for a number of recently appointed faculty (2007-)

Professional memberships / fellowships

  • Chair, Urban Geography Speciality Group committee, AAG (2012-2014 )
  • Honorary Fellow, Research Institute in Cosmopolitan Cultures (RICC), University of Manchester (2007-2012 )
  • Honorary Fellow, Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), University of Manchester (2008-2011 )
  • Affiliate, Sloan Industry Studies Program (October 2007- )
  • Honorary Research Fellow, European Work and Employment Research Centre, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester (2000-2006)
  • Member of ESRC Research College (2004-2008)
  • Honorary Research Fellow, ESRC Centre for Innovation and Competition, University of Manchester (2000-2004)
  • Member of the Association of American Geographers (2003- )
  • Member of the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers (1998- )

Editorships: Journals / books

  • Editor in chief. Urban Geography (2018 - ) 
  • Editor. Urban Geography (2015 - 2017)
  • Editor, Area (2010-2014 )
  • Member of Antipode editorial board (2004- )
  • Member of Spaces & Flows advisory board (2011-)
  • Editor (Urban Section), Geography Compass (2009-2012
  • Editor (Human Geography) RGS-IBG Book Series (Wiley Blackwell) (2005-2010)
  • Member of Local Economy editorial board (2004-2005)
  • Member of Work, Employment and Society editorial board (2001-2004)

Further information


I present at academic conferences, seminars and workshops on a regular basis over the academic year.  Over the last couple of years I have spoken at universities in Atlanta, Berlin, Calgary, Stockolm and Toronto.

I am a regular attendee at the American Association of Geographers annual conference, so you will find me in Denver next April!  

Units taught


I have twenty years of teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Below is my current teaching commitment, a little lighter than normal due to my heavy adminstration/management responsbilities for the next three years as the Director of the Manchester Urban Institute.

First year

GEOG12011 - Tutorials

Second year 

GEOG 20552 - North American Cities: Change and Continuity in the Metropolis 



Educational Background:

  • 1998 PhD in Geography, Governing the city: A regime approach (University of Manchester)(Awarded ESRC Studentship, 1994-1997)
  • 1995 Master of Arts in Social Research Methods (University of Manchester)
  • 1992 Master of Arts in Transport Economics (University of Leeds) (Awarded Rees Jeffreys Full Fellowship, 1991-1992)
  • 1991 BA (Hons) Economics and Geography (Middlesex University)

Employment History:

  • 2007 - Professor of Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2005-2007 - Reader in Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2003-2005 - Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2000-2003 - Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 1997-2000 - Research Associate, ICLS and EWERC, University of Manchester
  • 1992-1994 - Research Assistant, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham

Kevin is Professor of Human Geography and Director of the Manchester Urban Institute ( He is a urban geographer with interests in the financing and governance of cities. His current work explores urban policies to see where they come from, how they travel, where they end up and what these journeys mean for the cities the policies pass through. Theoretically, this involves rethinking what is meant by ‘the urban’ in urban politics, as elements of different places are assembled and reassembled to constitute particular ‘urban’ political realms. Methodologically, this involves doing fieldwork in a range of sites inside and outside of the cities that are the objects of study, literally seeking to reveal the circuits, networks and webs in and through which policies are moved. His co-edited book (with Eugene McCann) Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age (Minnesota University Press) was published in 2011. He is currently exploring the constitution of financial 'models' that have emerged in different areas of the world and that have been circulating as a means of funding infrastructure in the current economic condition.

Research interests

Key research issues

My research is motivated by a desire to explain and remove urban cultural, economic and social injustices, and centres around the following concerns:

- Urban policy and politics

- Neo-liberal urbanism

- Policy mobilties and mutations

- Comparative urbanism

- Financial models and infrastructure

- Multi-site methodologies

- Geographies of work and employment



Supervision information

Current and completed postgraduates

Yuliya Kulynych (2019 onwards)

Liz Ackerley (2018 onwards)

Niam Kavanagh (2017 onwards)

David Mountain (2017 onwards)

Sarah Phinney (2017 onwards)

Yong Zhang (2017 onwards)

Amy Barron (2016 onwards)

Graeme Moore (2016 onwards) 

Alistair Sheldrick (2016 onwards) 

Kathleen Stokes (2016 onwards) 

Mathew Lane (2012-2016)

Dawn Cole (2009 -2016)

Alan Davies (2008-2013 ) 

Jennifer Watts (2008- 2012) 

Katharine Jones (2007-2012) 

Ross Jones (2005-2010) 

Vinny Pattison (2004-2009) 

Ian Cook (2003-2008) 

Katie May (2002-2006)

Ramon Ribera (2001-2005) 

Anthony Vigor (1999-2003) 

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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Editor, Urban Geography

Areas of expertise

  • G Geography (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Urban Institute


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