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Personal profile


Philip joined University of Manchester as a Lecturer in Urban Design in 2015 after previously working for University of Reading and Queens University Belfast. Before entering academia Philip worked as an urban designer for architectural firm HBD Architects Ltd who have offices in Belfast, London, and Pune (India). He is currently the Director of the Manchester Urban Design LAB; Programme Director for MSc Urban Design and International Planning; a member of the Manchester Urban Institute; and a Recognised Practitioner and Executive Committee member of the Urban Design Group.


Philip extensively researches and publishes on applied urban design, with a particular interest in design quality and evaluation; design control; cycling and mobility; and process and methods in urban design. He has lead projects across all these areas funded by a range of partners including local authorities, universities, and research councils. He supervises a number of PhD students on studies related to these interests. His experience as both a practicing urban design professional and academic see him work directly on the interface of practice and theory, with a research strategy aimed at making real-world impact on how designers consider and design places and spaces.


In 2020 Philip established,and became Director of, the Manchester Urban Design LAB [MUD-Lab] - www.manchester.ac.uk/mudlab - a world-class urban design labortatory providing

  • a wide range of resources, both physical and digital;
  • top-class design-focused research and publications;
  • high-quality engagement and impact with industry;
  • training for the current and next generation of urban designers in the UK and internationally.

MUD-Lab supports a studio-design culture, teaching and researching urban design as a technical applied discipline. It aims to position The University of Manchester as the leading international location for studying urban design. MUD-Lab is based in the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) at The University of Manchester, with strong links to SEED's department of Planning and Environmental Management.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Academician of Academy of Urbanism
  • Member and Executive Committee of Urban Design Group
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy 
  • Member Royal Geographic Society (with IBG)
  • Editoral Board - Journal of Urban Design and Planning [ICEPublishing]

Research interests

(i) Design control (particular interest in design review)

(ii) Applied urban design process and methods 

(iii) Urban design/architectural quality and evaluation

(iv) Urban design, mobility, and wellbeing

Current Research

  •  'Applied Urban Design' [Routledge New York] with M. Martin (Aalborg University); T. Sonbli and R. Phillips (both UoM)
  •   ‘Urban Design and Cycling in Manchester’ (Funded by SEED, University of Manchester) – Principal Investigator 
  •    ‘Urban Design Process and Methods’ (Funded by Arab Academy, Egypt) – Principal Investigator

Previous Research

  •    ‘Cycling in Reading: An Urban Design Perspective’ (Funded by Reading Borough Council) – Principal Investigator
  • ‘PrICELESS Design’ (Funded by EPSRC, PI- Dr Tim Jones, Oxford Brookes) – Work Package Lead ‘Urban Design Audit’
  • ‘Architectural Preferences and the Development Management System’ (Funded by Reading Real Estate Foundation) – Principal Investigator
  •    ‘The ‘Veil’ of Control: Exploring the Attitudes and Perceptions of UK Design Controllers’ (Funded by DEL Scholarship) – PhD Thesis, Queen’s University Belfast
  •    ‘Understanding the Planner / Architect Relationship: The Role of Design Education’ (Funded by ESRC Scholarship) – Lead Researcher
  •    ‘Reform of the Planning System in Northern Ireland: Chance to Influence Change’ (Funded by Planning Service (NI) and DoE) – Researcher and Consultant

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 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Unknown, Fellowship Of Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy (Formerly Known As Learning & Teaching Support Network)

Award Date: 1 Sept 2015

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, Higher Education Academy (Formerly Known As Learning & Teaching Support Network)

Award Date: 1 Jan 2015

Certificate in Research Career Management (SEDA Professional Development Framework), The University of Reading

Award Date: 1 Aug 2014

Doctor of Philosophy, The 'Veil' of Control: Exploring Design Controller Attitudes and Perceptions, Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 14 Dec 2012

Master of Science, Urban Design, Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 14 Dec 2005

Areas of expertise

  • NA Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • Masterplanning
  • Urban Theory
  • Design Control
  • Design Quality

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute


  • urban design
  • design
  • masterplanning
  • design quality
  • design governance


Dive into the research topics where Philip Black is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles
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    Philip Black (Chair), Taki Sonbli (Member of programme committee) & Robert Phillips (Member of programme committee)

    6 Aug 201815 Aug 2018

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  • National Urban Design Conference UK

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    7 Sept 201710 Sept 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch