School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape




Staff in Architecture, Planning and Landscape undertake research of the highest quality, which is renowned for its globally-important, often interdisciplinary orientation. We combine sophisticated, critical and rigorous scholarship with a noteworthy commitment to social justice and inclusion.

In particular, our work fulfils Newcastle University’s mission of 'Excellence with a Purpose.' The School does this by conducting research that shapes the actions of government, industry, and cultural life through practical and action-led modes of research and engagement. Much of our work is associated with Newcastle University’s societal challenge themes of Ageing, Sustainability and Social Renewal.

Research in the School is clustered around a number of research themes and two research centres and we are home to the internationally significant Journal of Environmental Planning and Management (JEPM).

The School has a large and diverse population of postgraduate research students and there are strong linkages between postgraduate research and the activities of research centres, some of which is evidenced in our extensive programme of research events such as the School's Research and Design Seminar Series and Public Lecture Series.

Research Excellence Framework

Newcastle’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape was graded 4th out of 45 for both research intensity and research power in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.  REF2014 graded 85% of our work as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) and our ranking in terms of intensity highlights our submission of over 90% of eligible staff.  

With over 40 staff included we were able to demonstrate our breadth and depth across architecture, planning, landscape and rural development.  The latter element was substantially boosted by the inclusion of the University's Centre for Rural Economy who contributed to a very strong performance in terms of the public impact of our research.

Our performance helped Newcastle University improve its national research power ranking from 17th to 16th. Full information about Newcastle University’s performance in REF 2014 can be found on the University's REF webpages.

Shaping Places Brochure

Shaping Places is the School's Research and Engagement Brochure, highlighting examples of research and engagement projects undertaken by our academic staff and students.  Issues can be viewed on our engagement pages. For hard copies please contact Anne Fry.

Research Centres

Two research groups and a number of cross-disciplinary themes are used to cluster research in the School.

The Architecture Research Collaborative (ARC) is headed by Directors Dr Katie Lloyd-Thomas and Dr Martyn Dade-Robertson.

The Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) is headed by Director Professor Ali MadaniPour.

ARC and GURU use themes to structure and promote their work. Hosting reading groups, workshops, conferences, and regular networking helps to build a research culture.

Themes are used to house work rather than provide a home to individual researchers but staff tend to gravitate to one or more of them. Themes are mobilised by co-ordinators to build a research culture. They also promote networking among members and peer review. The organisation is thus dynamic.

Inter-school research groups

There are close links with many other research groups in the University including the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and the Centre for Rural Economy (CRE). With CURDS the School runs the postgraduate course Regional Development and Spatial Planning.

We also have close links with the following University research institutes:


The Architecture Research Collaborative (ARC) comprises a diverse group of scholars whose work ranges across the key topics in contemporary international architecture and landscape research.

The ARC is committed to both rigorous scholarship and the multidisciplinary approach demanded by the complexity of architectural research. It is structured through a dynamic and evolving pattern of research themes that cut across the conventional divisions of design, technology, and history and theory research.

Our group comprises of researchers with a wide range of backgrounds including:

  • design practice
  • participatory action
  • engineering and construction
  • digital design and emergence
  • ethnography
  • architectural history
  • critical theory

Our varied research backgrounds means that we recognise the opportunity that our specialisms can bring to shared problems and questions. We aim to stimulate innovation and foster connectivity between methodologies that are too often isolated from one another.

The collaborative is organised to respond to and support research across a number of common themes that can change as our collective concerns shift. The themes currently running are:

  • Cultures and Transition
  • Futures, Values and Imaginaries
  • Mediated Environments
  • Research by Design
  • Social Justice, Wellbeing and Renewal
  • Specifications, Prescriptions and Translation

Visit the ARC website.



The Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) combines traditional and innovative approaches to urban studies and the analysis of spatial policy and planning. We're critically focused on a better understanding of place and its potential sustainable transformation.

Our work is theoretically informed but often deeply related to the experiences of citizens, policy-makers and other stakeholders. GURU thus prides itself on the ways its work mixes applied and theoretical elements to varying degrees.

GURU's work is organised around four over-lapping themes:

  • Cities, Security and Vulnerability
  • Cities and International Development
  • Planning and Environmental Dynamics
  • Power, Place and Materiality

Visit the GURU website.

Developing Research

The School is committed to assisting researchers in developing their skills and knowledge and to creating a thriving research culture.

The University’s annual performance and development review process is supplemented by internal mentoring and support arrangements. All staff have access to mentors who can provide advice on:

  • career development
  • publication strategy
  • internal peer review for journal articles
  • research funding bids.

Particular attention is paid to research associates and early-career researchers.

Research centre themes also act as structures for group mentoring and research bids and papers are shared and discussed among peers. A peer review system for research funding proposals is managed by the Director of Research and draws on a panel of experienced researchers within the School and the Faculty.

We periodically fund and organise training events and School-wide discussions of research policy issues. Research funds are in part pooled and deployed strategically to develop proposals, facilitate conference attendance and develop in-house events. Funds are also utilised to allow staff to undertake a sabbatical of one semester every four years. Many sabbaticals are designed to lead directly to funding applications.


The School is home to the internationally recognised Journal of Environmental Planning and Management (JEPM) and our staff are editors on Landscape Research Journal and Architectural Research Quarterly.

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management (JEPM)

JEPM was established in 1992 with the aim of focusing on the integrated planning and management of the environment. The Journal has established itself as a leading forum for up-to-date scholarly but accessible papers on all aspects of environmental planning and management.

The Journal's focus on research findings, policy analyses and practical management experiences provides a wide range of information. This makes it essential reading for researchers and other specialists confronted with practical, technical, social and political problems in the planning and management of the environment. Occasional special issues provide in-depth treatment of contemporary issues or research areas.

School staff involved in JEPM are:

arq: Architectural Research Quarterly

arq publishes cutting-edge work covering all aspects of architectural endeavour. Contents include building design, urbanism, history, theory, environmental design, construction, materials, information technology, and practice. Other features include interviews, occasional reports, lively letters pages, book reviews and an end feature, Insight.

School staff involved in arq are:

Landscape Research Journal (LRG)

Landscape Research, the journal of the Landscape Research Group, has become established as one of the foremost journals in its field. Landscape Research is distinctive in combining original research papers with reflective critiques of landscape practice. Contributions to the journal appeal to a wide academic and professional readership, and reach an interdisciplinary and international audience. Whilst unified by a focus on the landscape, the coverage of Landscape Research is wide ranging.

School staff involved in LRG are: