School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Professor Geoff Vigar

Professor of Urban Planning and Director of Research


Roles and Responsibilities

School Research Director


PhD: The Politics of Paradigmatic Policy Change and the Greening of UK Transport Planning, Department of Geography, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Postgraduate Diploma, City and Regional Planning. University of Wales College of Cardiff.

BSc(Hons) Town Planning Studies, University of Wales College of Cardiff


Research Interests

My research focuses on the following overlapping elements:
- urban infrastructure and the politics of mobility, infrastructure supply and demand and their translation into transport policy in particular. I am particularly interested in how environmental and social discourses compete for attention in policy debates. Three PhD students are working on this agenda [see below]: on megaprojects [Ozge Erbas]; on funding mechanisms [Brian Peel]; and, city cycling cultures [Rorie Parsons].   

- plan-making in theory and practice. My focus here is particularly on institutional design questions in making spatial strategies. Recent work has been oriented toward evaluating [combinations of] online and offline fora for debating place futures using deliberative, collaborative and participatory planning theory; and on citizen-led neighbourhood plan-making. Two PhD students are working in this area: Jen Manuel and Laura Pinzon.

- I have additional long standing interests in both media representations of planning and transport issues; and professionalism in respect of the built environment [see Sookhoo's PhD below].

Current Work

1. Developing research on co-producing the future city-edge office park [with Daniel Mallo, Abby Schoneboom and Armelle Tardiveau].

2. Co-directing the Digital Local Democracy theme for Digital Civics, an EPSRC Digital Economy Research Centre [with Open Lab at Newcastle University and Mark Tewdwr Jones and Sebastian Weise from APL]

3. The JPI funded PICH project [with Loes Veldpaus and John Pendlebury, APL, led by Vince Nadin at Delft].

Research Roles

I have been Research Director for APL since 2012. I led APL's submission to REF2014 which was the best performing Unit of Assessment at Newcastle by the widely preferred measure of intensity-adjusted GPA. APL was 4th nationally [out of 45] by this measure and also in terms of research power.  

Postgraduate Supervision

Geoff welcomes applications for post-graduate study that mesh with his research interests. To date he has supervised 13 PhD candidates to completion, and currently supervises 7 students:  

  • Ozge Erbas, Megaproject Decision-Making in Megacities, [2nd supervisor with Suzanne Speak] 
  • Jen Manuel, Participatory Media: Creating Spaces for Storytelling in Neighbourhood Planning (lead supervisor with Rob Comber)
  • Rorie Parsons: Cycling cultures and travel behaviour [ESRC DTC funded, lead supervisor with Andy Law]
  • Brian Peel, 'The use of knowledge for effective planning: The funding and provision of infrastructure from value capture mechanisms' (lead supervisor with David Webb)
  • Laura Pinzon, Public participation and digital media in urban development (lead supervisor with Seb Weise and Peter Kellett)
  • Hiroshi Saito, ‘Spatial Planning as Regeneration Strategy’ [sole supervisor]
  • Dhruv Sookhoo, ‘Becoming Planners and Architects: the Formation of Perspectives on Residential Design Quality’ (ESRC DTC funded, with Andrew Ballantyne)

I have examined 14 PhDs at universities in the UK and overseas.


Undergraduate Teaching

TCP2023 Understanding Sustainable Development

TCP3049 Spatial Strategy-Making


Postgraduate Teaching

TCP7021 Spatial Strategies

TCP8901/2 The Reflexive Practitioner

TCP8910 Sustainable Communities