Born in Edinburgh, my first degree was in English Literature and Modern History at the University of St Andrews (1995-1999). After teaching English in Japan, Spain and the UK, I completed an MSc and then PhD in Planning at Oxford Brookes University in 2009. During the academic year 2009-2010 I worked as a Lecturer in Planning and Urban Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK. From September 2010-June 2016 I was a Lecturer in the department of Urban Studies and Planning (formerly Town and Regional Planning) at the University of Sheffield, UK. I joined the Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS) at the Universidade de Lisboa as an FCT-funded post-doctoral research fellow in September 2016 and I am part of the ‘Environment, Territory and Society' research group here.
I have broad ranging research interests in urban studies, working at the intersections of urban planning and development, politics, governance and public administration. My work to date has focused particularly on two areas of urban planning theory and practice:
1. The ideological, political and cultural dimensions of attempts to reform planning systems and practices, focusing on the ways in which ideas about the role and purpose of urban planning are being reshaped, and how various actors have responded to change, particularly public sector planning professionals.
2. Opposition to new development, with a particular focus on what citizens' experiences of mobilization and conflict can teach us about the politics of urban planning and its potential as a democratic means of managing land-use change. This work has drawn on my ongoing involvement with a campaigning charity called Planning Democracy (http://www.planningdemocracy.org.uk/)> in Scotland.
I have published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, edited journal special issues, completed funded research and consultancy projects and supervised doctoral students on these themes. I am also currently one of the comment and reviews editors for the journal Planning Theory and Practice and European editor of International Planning Studies.
Whilst in Sheffield I also became increasingly interested in how participatory research can support citizens' to plan solutions to the complex socio-spatial challenges they face. Along with Dr. Lee Crookes I was a co-founder of the Westfield Action Research Project (WARP), a community-university partnership intended to develop more engaged forms of planning education and research in Sheffield.
My post-doctoral research project at ICS (FCT SFRH/BPD/110582/2015) builds on this work, aiming to explore how the futures of cities, neighbourhoods and communities are made governable, and how this might be done in more substantively democratic and just ways.