Researchers in the ARA area investigate the ways in which we inhabit space, and how this is shaped by social, technological and cultural spatial factors. Areas of work include: critical approaches to spatial challenges around spatial displacement; smart cities and inclusion; and the role of placemaking and ICTs in the Global South and building design and technologies for low-impact living in Europe and south Asia. The research typically takes a cross-disciplinary approach to address these topics, and is characterised by engagement with the wider civic and cultural contexts of architecture. Consequently the research is also characterized by collaborations with a diverse range of industry and third sector organisations in UK and internationally.

Staff have successfully published a number of major monographs in the last five years. The work in the smart cities field has also delivered outcomes at policy level through invited evidence to policy makers such as UK Greater London Authority (GLA), European Innovation Partnership (EIP) – AGRI, UK Department of Work and Pensions and Brazilian Ministry as well as to senior management at BT Openreach. National research collaborations include outputs and research partnerships on funded projects with UCL, University of Edinburgh, Cardiff University, University of Durham and Oxford Brookes University.

<p>Displacement studies</p>

Featured research

The Displacement Studies Research Network is a global multidisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners and organisations working at the intersection between displacement, heritage, and creativity to research, share, and enhance the impact and power of the creative agencies of displaced peoples, their culture, identity, heritage, health and well-being.

The Network is dedicated to collaborative partnerships with displaced communities, and to tracing, responding to, and informing relevant policy and practice. 

Find out more about this research

Research impact

  • @ Creative Recovery worked with 12 refugees and asylum seekers together as part of Refugee Week 2019 to visualise their meaning of home
  • @ The Digital Venue Toolkit is used by village halls nationally to enable digital inclusion in rural communities
  • @ Evidence to the Greater London Authority informed the role of inclusion in Smart London

Other recent publications

  • Murrani S 2016 'Baghdad’s thirdspace: Between liminality, anti-structures and territorial mappings' Cultural Dynamics 28, (2) 189-210 , DOI Open access

Featured researcher: Professor Nikolina Bobic

Nikolina Bobic is an architect and academic who has worked internationally (Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the UK). She holds a PhD in Architecture from The University of Sydney. Broadly, her research delves into the historical and theoretical concepts to do with politics and space; the ways in which architecture and urban space operate within or are constructed by politics. Likewise, the ways through which architecture and urban space can be transformed to enact alternative political realities.
Specifically, Nikolina's research addresses balkanization (geopolitical and urban fragmentation), borders, and (post)conflict - how these notions manifest at the complex intersection of architecture, urbanism, military, media, economics, technology, literature, and film. Currently, she is working on a two-volume handbook: The Routledge Handbook of Architecture, Urban Space and Politics, Vol I: Violence, Spectacle and Data; and, Vol II: Ecology, Social Participation and Marginalities.
<p>Dr Nikolina Bobic<br></p>

robotic art workshop


Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome proposals for postgraduate research in all of these areas
  • Critical urbanism
  • Theories and practices of architecture
  • Smart cities
  • Urban studies
  • Development studies
  • Spatial practice
  • Sustainable architecture
  • Robotics, 3D fabrication and innovation

Equality, diversity and inclusion

The School of Art, Design and Architecture Equality and Diversity Committee aims to champion and support a culture of participation and inclusivity, and to communicate and raise awareness of equality, diversity and inclusion. The Committee discusses, implements, promotes and monitors school level actions aimed at improving the working and learning environment for academics, professional services staff and students.
We hold an Athena Swan Bronze Award from the Equality Challenge Unit (November 2018). Advance HE’s Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within HE and research. 

Our researchers