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.

Prof Clare Melhuish - Director and Professorial Research Fellow

Dr Clare Melhuish
Prof 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

Prof Nishat Awan, Departmental Tutor, Global Urbanism MASc

nishat awan
Nishat is Professor of Architecture & Visual Culture. Her 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, its public engagement activities and longer-term planning. She holds an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from UCL and is interested in cultural development, museum studies and critical heritage.

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Dr Njogu Morgan, Lecturer, Global Urbanism MASc

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, Global Urbanism MASc

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.

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
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

Ben Campkin

  • Professor of Urbanism and Urban History
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.

Yasminah Beebeejaun

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

Joseph Cook

  • UCL Citizen Science Academy Lead
Citizen science; anthropology of work; anthropology of architecture; community engagement; transient communities; social prescribing; healthcare architecture

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

Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou

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

James O'Leary

  • Associate Professor in Architecture

(On sabbatical until 08 January 2024)

Contemporary Art & Architecture; Situated Practice; Narrative Environments; Urban Memory; Contested Space; Belfast Peacewalls

Barbara Lipietz

  • Professor of Urban 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

Anna Maguire

  • Lecturer in Public History
Public history, migration, war and empire in twentieth century Britain and the British Empire, history education, co-production and collaboration public history approaches

Gabriele Manoli

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

Susan Moore

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

Gabriel Moshenska

  • Associate Professor in Archaeology
Public history, archaeologies of modern conflict, heritage studies, intellectual history, children in conflict and the impact of trauma, play, materiality and place-making in children's lives

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

Catalina Ortiz

  • Associate Professor, Development Planning Unit

Urban and regional planning; human geography; development studies; urban design

Kieren Reed

  • Professor of 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
Artists in Residence and Creative Fellows
Research Fellows
International Advisory Board
Visiting Researchers

Current researchers

Past visiting researchers


    Current Urban Laboratory affiliated doctoral candidates:

    Recently completed PhDs