UCL Urban Laboratory

Prof Ben Campkin

Prof Ben Campkin

Professor of Urbanism and Urban History

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
20th Sep 1999

Research summary

I am an urbanist and my transdisciplinary research focuses on imaginaries and practices of urban change in relation to questions of equality, diversity and inclusion. My objects of study span from early twentieth-century slum clearances, to large-scale government and property-led regeneration campaigns of the 1990s and early 2000s, to contemporary activism and policy innovations to protect social and cultural infrastructure. My work is driven by a commitment to an engaged urbanism which is methodologically experimental, cross-cuts different media, and brings critical urban history to inform contemporary and future cities.

My monograph, Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (I.B. Tauris, 2013), won the 2015 Urban Communication Foundation Jane Jacobs Award (USA) and was commended in the 2014 Royal Institute of British Architects President’s Award for Outstanding University-Located Research.

I have been interested in gender and sexual diversity in cities and the built environment disciplines since the 2000s and my current research explores intersections between queer studies and activism, urban studies and urbanism. I recently submitted a manuscript for a new monograph: Queer Premises: LGBTQ+ Venues in London Since the 1980s (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2022). I lead an activity area on Queer Infrastructures for Urban Lab. The outputs from this work have included co-curation of the exhibition Queer Spaces: London, 1980s–Today (Whitechapel Gallery, April to August 2019), and co-authored publications with Dr Lo Marshall including ‘London’s Nocturnal Queer Geographies’, Soundings 70, 2018: 82-96, and two research reports – LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London: Night Venues, 2006-present (2017) and LGBTQ+ Nightlife in London – that have informed the Mayor of London’s London Plan (2021), Cultural Infrastructure Strategy (2017), Culture and Night Time Economy Supplementary Planning Guidance (2017), local plans and high-profile planning cases. This research has been widely cited in the local, national and international media, in over 50 articles and broadcasts (e.g. BBC London News, ITV News, The Architects’ Journal, The Telegraph, The Economist, the Guardian and Time Out) and a wide range of podcast interviews (CAMRA, The Law Society, BBC Radio 4). 

I am UCL PI on the Humanities in the European Area Collaborative Research Project Night-spaces: Migration, Culture and Integration in Europe (NITE) (2019-22, University of Leiden) which examines how night-spaces are imagined, produced and experienced by migrant communities in eight European cities. 

Teaching summary

I supervise on the MPhil/PhD Architecture (Architectural and Urban History and Theory and Architectural Design pathways), and teach and supervise on the MA Architectural History and Theory, MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments and MSc Urban Studies programmes.

At postgraduate level, with Dr Clare Melhuish, I currently convene Histories of Global London: 1900 to the present 1 and 2 (Term 2 options) under the MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments and MASc Global Urbanism. These two interlinked 15-credit modules assess urban heritage as a social, cultural and economic asset in complex multicultural cities. They position the capital’s global connectivities, colonial histories and population flows as central to a critical understanding of its urban heritage and futures.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2009
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2001
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1997


I am Professor of Urbanism and Urban History, Co-Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory and Faculty Lead for The Bartlett at UCL East. I completed a combined BA in Medieval Archaeology and History of Art at UCL (1994) and returned to complete an MSc Built Environment: Architectural History (2001) in The Bartlett School of Architecture. I completed my PhD in Geography at UCL (2009), with a cultural and historical study of regeneration in London. In the early 2000s I taught at Middlesex University (Visual Culture), the University of Brighton and Birkbeck, University of London, and was a Guest Lecturer in Architectural History in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, University of Cape Town (2003/2005). I was a College Teacher at The Bartlett School of Architecture (2002-5) before being appointed Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory (2008). I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012 and Professor in 2018. I was appointed Co-Director of UCL Urban Laboratory in 2008 before taking on the role of Director from 2011-18.