UCL Department of Geography


Isobel Pagendam

Research Title

Everyday ups and downs: experiences of vertical mobility in London

More about Isobel 

Academic Background


  • PhD in Geography (ESRC funded), University College London (2019 -
  • MSc Urban Studies, University College London (2018 - 2019)
  • BA Geography, Durham University (2015 - 2018)



I teach on the following modules:

Research Interests

The lift has dramatically altered mobility networks in the speed and distance that can be travelled vertically; without the lift, there would not be the height, depth, and volume of buildings in urban landscapes today. Yet, research exploring vertical mobility is highly limited, which is attributable to an overwhelming emphasis on horizontal mobility, and a widespread understanding of lifts and escalators as mundane infrastructures.

My doctoral project, provisionally titled ‘Everyday ups and downs: exploring experiences of the lift in London’, aims to address this lack of research by developing an interdisciplinary investigation of vertical mobility, drawing on the particular ways vertical transport in everyday vertical spaces in London are used and experienced.

From tower-blocks, to high-rise regeneration projects, commercial skyscrapers, hotels and spaces of consumption, London has seen a growing range of different forms of verticality, as well as a dramatic increase in the number of high-rise buildings in the city. It is within this context that the research will highlight the socio-spatial particularities of vertical mobility, questioning what a study of different lift spaces can reveal about social differentiation and status in London