Portrait of Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem

Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem

Lecturer in Human Geography
Deputy Director of Recruitment and Admissions (Geography and Human Ecology)
Co-Director, Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies (KISS)


Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem is a human geographer with research interests in political geography and urban studies. He has particular specialism in social and spatial analysis, interdisciplinary methods, urban violence and inequality from a geopolitical perspective, with a specific interest in Europe and the Middle East. 

Dr Rock Rokem’s work is inspired by over a decade of researching ethnic minorities in contested cities. His overarching research agenda is committed to conceptualising a socio-spatial ontology that brings a new comparative perspective to human geography and urban studies. He also investigates the deferential role of transport and mobility infrastructures as tools to govern social life in highly uneven and unequal settings. 

Dr Rock Rokem publishes in international, peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary scientific journals within the disciplines of geography and urban studies, such as Political Geography, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, CITY and Urban Studies

Prior to joining the School in 2019, Jonathan taught at the Department of Geography, University College London (UCL) and held a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Space Syntax Laboratory, UCL. 

Previous to this, Dr Rock Rokem held a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Department of Human Geography, Lund University, Sweden. His PhD was awarded in 2015 from the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, Israel. Jonathan also holds a Master's degree in Human Geography from the Department of Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Research interests

Dr Rock Rokem’s research addresses some of the societal challenges of the 21st century: 

(i) Rapid urbanisation and rising global inequalities 

(ii) Geopolitics and international migration 

(iii) Barriers to urban mobility and diversity 

(iv) Cities, climate change and conservation 

Jonathan's overarching research objectives are threefold: firstly, from a theoretical perspective to advance the cross-disciplinary field of urban geopolitics, bringing geopolitics into the mainstream of human geography and urban studies; secondly, to construct a multidisciplinary comparative research method to re-frame urban inequality and segregation as a dynamic and mobile process; and, thirdly, to create a modelling tool to enhance immigrant communities’ access to transport and public spaces in cities.

Dr Rock Rokem's research has informed public policy decision-making and contributed to novel spatial and social approaches in the development of public transport infrastructures in Jerusalem and Stockholm. 

Recent Projects Include: 

  • Contested Urbanism: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant, European Commission, Horizon 2020, University College London, UK. PI - €195,000. 
  • Contested Spaces in Swedish Cities: EMAIL II - Erasmus Mundus Research Grant, Lund University, Sweden. PI - €18,000.
  • Contrasting Jerusalem: Bettencourt Schueller and French Research Center Jerusalem Research Grant (CRFJ-CNRS), France. PI - €12,000. 


Dr Rock Rokem has extensive teaching experience of both undergraduate and postgraduate modules including development, mentoring and assessment. Jonathan teaches on the Human Geography BSc and convenes the modules People and Place and Geographical Patterns and Process. He also contributes to several other modules across the School.


Dr Rock Rokem is interested in supervising PhD students in the fields of human, urban and political geography with a specific interest in contested space, migration, mobility and inequality, and a particular focus on cities in the Middle East and Europe.


Dr Rock Rokem is available to provide in-depth analysis and discussion of topics related to urban inequality, urban migration and ethnic relations, with expertise in the Middle East and Scandinavia, particularly Sweden and Israel-Palestine where he has conducted extensive fieldwork.

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