UCL Department of Geography


Richard Munton

After studying at the University of Birmingham, Richard joined UCL in 1966 and spent the whole of his career there except for short periods at the Universities of Waterloo, Canada (1973), California, Davis (1988) and Berkeley (1997-8), and Auckland, New Zealand (2006).  He was made Professor of Human Geography in 1987, was twice Departmental Graduate Tutor, twice Head of Department (1991-7; 2002-5), and retired in 2006. 

More about Professor Munton

Richard was a member of numerous UCL committees, including its Finance Committee, and the Graduate School and College Council, and was the first Director of UCL’s Environment Institute (2003-6).  After retirement, he acted as an advisor to UCL on its 2008 RAE submission. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of UCL in 2009.

During his career, Richard worked extensively on land-use planning, agricultural change and environmental governance questions, largely within the UK, leading to five books and more than 100 other publications.  During the 1980s he was Director of the ESRC-funded Rural Studies Research Centre based in the Department.  His research led to various policy-related positions, including as advisor to the Northfield Committee of Inquiry into the Acquisition and Occupancy of Agricultural Land (1777-9); to the House of Lords Special Select Committee on Sustainable Development (1994-5); to English Nature on socio-economic affairs (1994-2006); and to the Countryside Commission on its Community Forestry Initiative (1991-7).

Richard was a Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and Chair of its Annual Conference in 1999.  He sat three times on the Geography RAE Panel, acting as its Chair in 2001, and has conducted 28 departmental research reviews.  He was elected to the UK Academy of the Social Sciences in 2000, serving on its Council and then as Vice-Chair for England (2006-8). During the 1990s he chaired NERC’s Land Use Research Committee and ESRC’s Nation’s Diet Programme, and more recently chaired the Advisory Committee for DEFRA’s Sustainable Development Research Network.

  • 2001: With D.Bloomfield and K.Collins, Deliberation and inclusion: vehicles for increasing trust in UK public governance?, Environment and Planning C 19, 501-513
  • 2003: Deliberative democracy and environmental decision making, in Negotiating Change: Advances in Environmental Social Sciences (eds F. Berkhout, M. Leach and I.Scoones), 56-82, Edward Elgar, Camberley
  • 2004: With C.M.Harrison and K.Collins, Experimental discursive spaces: policy processes, public participation and the Greater London Authority, Urban Studies 41, 903-917
  • 2006: The Research Assessment Exercise in the UK, Progress in Human Geography 30, 755-757
  • 2006: With D.Goode, The Greater London Authority and sustainable development, in Territory, Identity and Spatial Planning (eds M.Tewdwr-Jones and P.Allmendinger), 237-254, Routledge, London
  • 2008: (Editor), The Rural: Critical Essays in Human Geography, Ashgate, Aldershot, including Introduction, pp xii-xxx
  • 2009: Rural land ownership in the United Kingdom: Changing patterns and future possibilities for land use, Land Use Policy

Research interests over a long period can be described under three main heads:

  • agricultural change, especially as a result of (a) restructuring of the farming industry and food chain; (b) the functioning of the agricultural land market; and (c) the changing patterns of agricultural property rights
  • land-use planning, especially in the urban fringe, with a focus on the land development process and the operation of green belt policy
  • environmental governance and sustainable development, especially in relation to the Greater London Authority

This research has been supported by 10 major research grants and the successful completion of more than 20 doctoral students.