AboutI am Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.
My work has been on urban, regional and environmental topics. I have contributed to theoretical debates, to work on central and local government policy, and to work on household responses including protest and individual behaviours. I have conducted research in both western and eastern Europe and comparative analysis has been a particular interest.
School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
My research has covered topics ranging from the macro (state structure, and government urban and regional policies), to the meso (local government urban and environmental policies) to the micro (urban
and environmental protest, young people's housing choices, households' action and inaction in the face of environmental and housing deprivations.) Recent work has been on sustainable housing and homelessness.
Linking all these topics is a concern with power, inequalities of outcome, and how people respond to them. My work usually relates to local, urban and regional contexts.
I have written on urban social theory and carried out empirical studies of theoretically inspired questions. I have written extensively on urban protest and worked on Eastern Europe and the local realities of housing and environmental protest and local environmental policy implementation. A related area of interest is neighbourhood, “community”, social networks, and life styles.
I believe in keeping a close link between theory and research. This has led me to write a number of methodological papers, e.g. on comparative analysis, where it seemed to me that methodological conventions were predetermining analytical conclusions in an unacceptable way.
Since retiring I have developed a new research interest in furniture history, especially pre-1700, which has a strong sociological and cross-national comparative dimension due to the flows of migrant craftsmen,
and ideas, and trade in goods.
Most recent research grants
- Homeless provision in Kent (with Andy Ashenhurst) (Porchlight)
- A comparative evaluation of incentives, obstacles and attitudes to sustainable housing in Kent and Nord/Pas de Calais (Moat Housing Assocation)
- Environmental and housing movements in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (with N. Manning and K. Pickvance) (ESRC)
- Local environmental regulation in Hungary (with K. Pickvance) (ESRC).
For details of publications from the ESRC project, visit the ESRC website .
I am continuing to supervise students who started before 2011/12 but I am not taking on new students.
I have supervised work in Turkey, Brazil, Algeria, Mexico, Russia, China as well as in Europe west and east, and am currently supervising work in Netherlands, Belgium, Russia and the UK. Topics focus on some (macro, meso or micro) aspect of the social, economic or political processes affecting households, neighbourhoods, cities, or regions. include urban poverty, housing, squatter settlements, urban protest, town planning, urban renewal, local government policy.
I am no longer giving lecture courses. My main undergraduate teaching was on The City (which covers urban planning, urban policy, and urban problems in the UK) and Urban Sociology (a comparative module which includes former state socialist cities). At postgraduate level I contributed to modules in the MA in Methods of Social Research and the MA in Environmental Social Science.
I continue to supervise PhD students, but am not taking on new students.
Current and recent PhD students:
- Penny Bernard: Heritage-led regeneration in Canterbury and Chatham
- Anja Bobrowicz: Women’s mobilization in Russia
- Uwe Derksen: Culture-led regeneration in Folkestone and Margate
- Maria Schiller: Governing diversity in Belgium, Netherlands and the UK: a three city comparison
- Founding member (1977) of the editorial board of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Wiley-Blackwell) and currently a Corresponding Editor.
- Series editor, Cities and Society (Routledge)
- Founding member (1990) of editorial board of the Wiley-Blackwell book series Studies in Urban and Social Change.
- Active member of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Urban and Regional Development (RC21) and have had terms as Secretary and President.
- Former Chair of Trustees of the Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies, a charity which distributes the surplus from International Journal of Urban Regional Research in the form of studentships and research grants and through an international essay competition for young scholars.
- Academician, Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences.
- Active member of Regional Furniture Society.