My background is in architecture, but my PhD on the topic of gender divisions and housing design lead me into planning and a social science perspective. My research over the last decade and a half has been on the night time economy, sustainable communities and gender and cities.
My research interests have been in the field of urban design with a particular emphasis on the relationships between social issues and their physical context. As a consequence my research has incorporated a diverse range of topics, from public art to mixed-income housing to mixed-use streets. One of the strongest themes has revolved around alcohol and the night-time economy. Here I had an opportunity to influence policy and practice through research commissioned by the Civic Trust and Office for the Deputy Prime Minister (now Department of Communities and Local Government). This research made a significant contribution to underpinning the assessments used in the Purple Flag scheme of accreditation for well-managed urban centres at night.
My interests in the issues surrounding alcohol consumption and the urban landscape have continued and I look forward to making further contributions, both intellectually and practically. More recently, I have returned to the question of gender divisions and their production and performance in planning and urban design. Here there is more to do in pushing the agenda forward. This is the task of the European network, COST Gender STE, which I am proud to be a part of. Those of us who are involved in the teaching of urban design are grateful for the gains of the last decade in establishing this fascinating area of study and practice in public policy. It is crucial that urban design continues to develop and respond to both changing circumstances and critical enquiry. These are the objectives which frame my approach to seeking excellence in teaching and research.