Katharine Willis

Academic profile

Professor Katharine Willis

Professor of Smart Cities and Communities
School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Katharine's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 01: SDG 1 - No PovertyGoal 04: SDG 4 - Quality EducationGoal 08: SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic GrowthGoal 09: SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and InfrastructureGoal 10: SDG 10 - Reduced InequalitiesGoal 11: SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGoal 14: SDG 14 - Life Below WaterGoal 16: SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong InstitutionsGoal 17: SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

About Katharine

I am Associate Head of School (Research) for Art, Design and Architecture and a Professor in Smart Cities and Communities

My research expertise includes smart cities, smart villages, digital technologies and the role of space and place. I am co-author with Alex Aurigi of two key Routledge volumes on Smart Cities, and in 2015 published Netspaces: Space and Place in a Networked World. My approach to smart cities is focused on the community in the spaces and the need to build from the ground-up to create inclusive environments. I have published widely on the topic. I am currently working on a range of funded research projects that explore how new technologies can create ways for people and communities to engage with place, with a particular focus on social and digital inclusion.

I was Interim Head of School of Art, Design and Architecture from 2021-2022, and previously REF UoA 13 Coordinator (2015-2022) in the School of Art, Design and Architecture and Co-Chair of the  Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) within the School of Art, Design and Architecture (2019-2022).

I am a Visiting Research Fellow, The Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), Kings College London.

From January 2024 to January 2025 I will be a Visiting Fellow at the Western Academy for Advanced Research at Western University, Canada.

Supervised Research Degrees

Pamela Varley PhD, 2019
Sustainable Digital Neighbourhoods: A case study of people, place and technology under the rural village condition 
Frank Loesche PhD, 2018
Unconscious creativity: Investigating the Moment when Solutions emerge in Problem Solving 
Kathrin Schuette, 2018
MPhil - The role of virtual imaging in building conservation
Alex Lorimer, 2015
MPhil - Mass Participation Architecture: Social media and the decentralisation of architectural agencies as a commercial imperative 


Module Leader - MArch Emerging Research in Architecture 2016
Module Leader - MArch Urban Methodologies 2011-
BA Unit Leader 2011 - 2015
ARCO319 2011 - 2015
Module Leader - COMN201 2011 - 2014
PhD /MPhil supervision
2023 - Sally Hall DoS
2020- Carlos Paka, DoS
2019 - Shadab Bhareini, Second Supervisor
2016 - Adam Guy, Second Supervisor
2013 - 2019 Pamela Varley DOS
2012 - 2018 Kathrin Schuette Second Supervisor
2014 - 2018 Frank Loesche Third Supervisor
2012 - 2015 Alex Lorimer (MPhil), Second Supervisor
External PhD Supervision
Abril Herrera Chavez, Space Syntax Research Lab, UCL, London - Third Supervisor
Lea Mauz, Pädagogische Hochschule Ludwigsburg, Germany - Third Supervisor