I have 15 years professional experience, split between research and practice: creating and using strong urban wellbeing evidence.
My PhD was supervised jointly by an urban designer and neuro-psychologist at Cambridge University. Most of my research focuses on sustainable city and neighbourhood design, in relation to Subjective Wellbeing and associated behaviours – such as the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Together with UoM colleagues, we have developed new robust tools such as MOHAWk and NOURISH, and ‘action research’ using analogue and digital approaches, in particular - improving causal inference with natural experiments (see publications list). This work has prompted high-profile debate, leading to substantive change in national policy and the take-up of new methods and tools in nine different countries.
I have helped secure £17 million of transdisciplinary research and currently lead the wellbeing aspects of two large grants: GrowGreen and CUSSH. The former is a 5-year international evaluation of neighbourhood greening interventions, led by Manchester City Council. CUSSH (Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health) is a 5-year project, working in low, middle and high income countries, led by UCL and LSTHM. These projects involve working with a range of academics, local communities, local authorities, city mayors and third sector organisations.
I also work on the Manchester Urban Observatory, an EPSRC funded UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). This involves testing and developing novel digital data collection and analysis techniques, such as wireless and portable cameras, sensors and wearables.
In practice, I lead the ‘evidence informed’ wellbeing service offer within BuroHappold’s sustainability team and was previously employed by the revered urbed cooperative. I have worked on more than 65 projects, either leading or supporting planning and design excellence in a variety of settings. Most of my experience involves working with developers, local and city-region governments.
Most recently and on behalf of Argent Related, I co-led an overarching sustainability and wellbeing strategy for Europe’s largest regeneration project – Brent Cross South, in London. I am fortunate to work with clients and collaborators such as C40, UKGBC, Los Angeles government’s Sustainability Department, Her Majesty’s Crown Estate, Marks & Spencer, Lendlease, Yoo Capital and Igloo Regeneration. Outputs associated with this work have won several practitioner awards and recognition from the UN.
I have substantial experience of stakeholder collaboration, undertake invited lectures and plenary presentations, and have media experience, liaising with mainstream television producers and journalists.