School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Professor Tim Townshend

Deputy Head of School and Director of Planning and Urban Design



Tim Townshend is Professor of Urban Design for Health and a member of the Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

Tim has established a national/international profile in interdisciplinary health/built environment work through a steady output of publications that has crossed disciplinary divides. His work has been cited over 1600 times (as at Feb 2015). Of particular note was the 2010 co-edited volume ‘Obesogenic Environments’ attracted contributions from Australia, USA, New Zealand and the Netherlands,  establishing an international context for Tim's work. His contribution to this volume made the case for interdisciplinary approaches to tackle contemporary health issues such as obesity. This is now widely accepted in the fields of public health and urban planning as evidenced by the growing number of interdisciplinary events in recent years. In 2013 the joint congress of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) and Association of European Schools of Planning established a health track for the first time, for which Tim was the first track chair. In 2014 the major epidemiological conference the International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH) had its initial urban planning track, at which Tim was a keynote speaker.  

In the recent past Tim's research has moved beyond obesity to embrace other health and wellbeing issues, for example alcohol consumption, resulting in a major co-authored report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation with Prof Marion Roberts et al a subsequent series of journal articles and an invitation to join the international scientific committee for the biennial ‘Changing Cities’ conference. Tim is a regular reviewer for journals from both urban planning and health and funding bodies.

Tim's work always attempts to maximise its impact and as such is always policy relevant. He has been a consultant on a series of national reports and policy documents and sits on a number of external committees and panels.

In 2014 his co-authored paper 'Obesogenic environments:exploring the built and food environments' - was the most downloaded article in Perspectives in Public Health - he receives an award from the Royal Society of Public Health in January 2016 in recognition.  


Professional Memberships:

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts



Research Interests

Urban design; public space; and in particular links between the design of the built environment, health and well-being

Postgraduate Supervision

Tim Townshend currently has 5 PhD students


Undergraduate Teaching

TCP1018 Design Awareness and Communication
TCP3024 Urban Design Option

Postgraduate Teaching

TCP8091 Principles and Practice of Urban Design
TCP8912 Urban Design and Conservation Project
ARC8045 Urban Design Project 1
ARC8063 Urban Design Project 2
ARC8065 European Study Visit