UCL Urban Laboratory



UCL Urban Laboratory's cutting-edge urban agenda is driven by a multi-disciplinary network of urban experts, students, and visiting researchers from around the world. We comprise a core academic staff team and Centre Manager, working in close consultation with our cross-faculty Co-Director group, and in collaboration with our Steering Committee of urban researchers from across the university.

Dr Clare Melhuish - Director and Principal Research Fellow

Dr Clare Melhuish
Dr Clare Melhuish has been Director of Urban Lab since 2018, having joined in 2013 to undertake research on university-led urban regeneration. This was linked to the early planning of the new UCL East campus in east London and to Clare's research focus on the processes and social impacts of large-scale urban developments in the UK and abroad, especially conceptualisations of urban heritage within transformative processes of change in postcolonial and decolonial urban contexts. 

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Clare Melhuish's IRIS profile

Core Team

Dr Nishat Awan, Lecturer and Departmental Tutor, MASc Global Urbanism

Nishat's research focuses on the intersection of geopolitics and space, including questions related to diasporas, migration and border regimes. She is interested in modes of spatial representation, particularly in relation to the digital and the limits of witnessing as a form ethical engagement with distant places.

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Nishat Awan's IRIS profile

Dr Kara Blackmore, Curator, Urban Room

Kara Blackmore
An anthropologist and curator who specialises in community-driven exhibition making, Kara has an established track record in developing innovative collaborations between educational institutions, government agencies, NGOs, and cultural organisations. 

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Sophie Mepham, Centre Manager

sophie mepham
Sophie manages the day-to-day operations of Urban Lab and its longer-term planning. Her interests include cultural heritage, urban regeneration, art history, and public space.

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Dr Njogu Morgan, Lecturer, MASc Global Urbanism

njogu morgan
Njogu is remotely based at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, supporting Urban Lab's partnership with Wits through collaborative delivery of Global Urbanism MASc. His research focuses on sustainable transport and mobility in African cities, exploring the intersections between place, space, society and everyday bicycling.

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Njogu Morgan's IRIS profile

Dr Joe Penny, Lecturer and Programme Director, MASc Global Urbanism 

joe penney
Joe's research interests sit between urban economic geography and urban planning, with a focus on issues of urban social justice in his adopted home city, London, especially: lived experience and governance of austerity urbanism; the restructuring of local state action through financialisaton of public land, housing, and social infrastructure; urban politics and grassroots resistance to austerity, gentrification and displacement.

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View Joe's IRIS profile

Wider Team


Pushpa Arabindoo

  • Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Design
Wastelands; urbanisation, public space and political activism in India; cities and climate change.

Matthew Beaumont

  • Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature
Night-time city; utopia in fiction writing; urban representations; thinking the city.

Camillo Boano

  • Professor of Urban Design and Critical Theory
Housing urbanism; urban development, contested urbanism, socio-spatial dialectics, design and urban transformations, and shelter and housing reconstruction in geographies of the global south.

Ben Campkin

  • Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism
Histories, theories and practices of urbanism and urbanisation; transdisciplinary urbanism and experimental methods of urban research, publication and public engagement; urban night spaces, cultures and governance; London’s history and built environment; contemporary urban policy and practice in London; queer space, architecture and architectural histories; heritage associated with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer populations.

Ellie Cosgrave

  • Lecturer in Urban Innovation and Co-Director of UCL Urban Innovation and Policy Laboratory
Feminist cities; urban and local governance; city leadership; engineering design; smart cities; sustainable urban environments; choreographing the city.

Andrew Harris

  • Senior Lecturer in Geography and Urban Studies
  • (On sabattical until Jan 2021)
    Art, space and the city; creative cities; gentrification; urban infrastructure; vertical urbanism.

    Jennifer Robinson

    • Chair of Human Geography
    South Africa, including studies of segregation and state power; the politics of urban development; comparative urbanism; city strategies and the circulation of urban policy.
    Steering Committee

    Yasminah Beebeejaun

    • Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning
    Race and territorialisation, decision-making processes, community organising, nationhood debates, colonisalism



    Claire Colomb

    • Professor of Urban Studies and Planning

    Urban governance, policies and politics, European spatial planning, and urban sociology


    Ava Fatah gen. Schieck

    • Reader in Media Architecture and Urban Digital Interaction
    Architecture and Interaction Design; Ubiquitous Computing and Urban Design; digital media technologies

    Kalliopi Fouseki

    • Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Heritage
    Museology, cultural heritage, anthropology, reception studies, heritage management and public archaeology

    Mark Frost

    • Associate Professor of Public History
    Singapore; public histories; war remembrance, European colonialism

    Haidy Geismar

    • Professor of Anthropology
    Intellectual and cultural property, indigenous rights, new forms of cultural representation, the anthropology of art, critical museology and the South Pacific

    Rodney Harrison

    • Professor of Heritage Studies

    Anthropocene, anthropology, archaeology, climate change, decolonisation, heritage and museum studies, sustainable development

    Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou

    • Lecturer in Social Theory
    Political sociology, nationalism studies, radical imagination and speculative futures, financialisation, risk and debt practices, housing movements

    Susanne Kuechler

    • Professor of Art and Anthropology
    Art and memory, material translation, new materials and new technologies, sustainable development

    Barbara Lipietz

    • Associate Professor in Development Planning
    Urban governance, participatory governance and planning through co-production; circulation and localisation of public policy; anti-poverty strategies; inclusive cities and the 'right to the city', sustainable cities, resilient cities; housing policy, slum upgrading practices, urban regeneration

    Susan Moore

    • Senior Lecturer in Planning
    Sustainable urban development processes and practices; Relational geographies of urban (and suburban) development and built form

    Michał Murawski

    • Assistant Professor in Critical Area Studies
    Architecture and planning of Eastern European communism; social condensers; Warsaw and Moscow;  curatorial and art practice methodologies

    Florian Mussgnug

    • Reader in Italian and Comparative Literature
    Catastrophe and apocalypse in comparative literature, including climate change fiction, cold war culture and existential risk; Rome

    James O'Leary

    • Associate Professor in Architecture
    Contemporary Art & Architecture; Situated Practice; Narrative Environments; Urban Memory; Contested Space; Belfast Peacewalls

    Gabriele Manoli

    • Lecturer in Environmental Engineering
    Ecohydrology; cities-biosphere interactions; urban green spaces; mathematical modelling

    Kieren Reed

    • Senior Lecturer in Fine Art
    Sculpture, performance, installation, public art, culture-led regeneration

    Katherine Saunders-Hastings

    • Lecturer in Latin American Studies
    Violence; (in)security; illicit economies; citizenship; governance in Latin American cities

    Rafael Schacter

    • Research Fellow in Anthropology
    Independent public art; street art and graffiti; visual culture; vernacular art; popular politics; public sphere; anthropology of art; material culture

    Pablo Sendra

    • Lecturer in Planning and Urban Design
    Social housing; community-led regeneration; co-design and collaborative planning processes; activism and grassroots initiatives; self-organisation, citizen-led and informal urban practices; public space; urban design, inclusivity and social interaction; social infrastructure

    Helena Titheridge

    • Professor of Mobility and Sustainable Transport
    Sustainable systems, transport planning

    Patrick White

    • Teaching Fellow in Print and Electronic Media
    Print and electronic media; sound
    Artists in Residence and Creative Fellows
    Research Fellow
    Alessio Kolioulis
    International Advisory Board
    Visiting Researchers

    Current researchers

    Past visiting researchers


    Current Urban Laboratory affiliated doctoral candidates:

    Recently completed PhDs