Dr Helen Jarvis
Reader in Social Geography


Helen Jarvis is Reader in Social Geography at Newcastle University, UK. Helen specialises in urban social geography with a special focus on housing and urban structure, and the intersection  of work, employment and gender relations (work-life 'reconciliation). Connections between these overlapping spheres are made through close attention to household decision making and space-time co-ordination. She is currently researching everyday life in relation to experiments and innovations in collaborative housing and intentional community (notably co-housing), comparing group formation, practices of collective governance and alternative living space in Britain, Scandinavia, Australia and the USA. She is regularly invited to speak publicly on the subject of alternative housing and sustainable de-growth by grassroots community groups as well as academic institutions overseas.  Helen has held visiting academic positions at UC Berkeley and University of Washington, USA and University of Western Sydney, Australia. Helen has published three books on Cities, Gender, Work/Life Balance and Social Reproduction. She is currently collaborating on Key Concepts in Social Geography for Sage.

*NEW* Collaborative Housing and Community Resilience

ESRC Seminar series, in partnership with the UK Cohousing Network (together with the Universities of Leeds, Lancaster, Nottingham, Sheffield and London School of Economics)



2011 - pressent: Reader, Newcastle University  

2006 - 2011: Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University

1999 - 2002: ESRC Fellowship 
1998 - 2006: Lecturer, Newcastle University
1997 - 1998: Postdoc, Cambridge University

Roles and Responsibilities

ESRC Peer Review College  2010 to present

School Coordinator for Erasmus and Study Abroad 2011-2014

Degree Programme Director, 2008 through 2010
Admissions Tutor BA/BSc Hons Geography, 2003 - 2007/8
Member of the University Disciplinary Panel, 2006-10 and 2011 - 2012

Book Reviews Editor, RGS-IBG/ Wiley Blackwell journals; Area and The Geographical Journal 2005 - 2010


PhD London School of Economics, 1997.
BSc (Econ) London School of Economics, 1994, First Class Honours.

Previous Positions

1997 - 1998: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Land Economy, University of Cambridge


Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)

Member of the American Geographers Association
Committee member (previously treasurer 1998-2001) RGS-IBG Women and Geography Study Group.

Honours and Awards

George and Hilda Ormsby Award for Academic Achievement, London School of Economics, 1994.

Research Interests

Household structure and everyday co-ordination; work and employment; housing biographies; work-life balance; time-space; urban lived experience; gender roles and divisions; social-environmental sustainability; mixed methods research.

Helen Jarvis specialises in urban social geography with a special focus on the restructuring of work and employment, housing and urban structure, and gender relations. Connections between these overlapping spheres are made through close attention to household decision making and space-time co-ordination. Issues of social policy are also addressed in these spheres. Helen employs qualitative, feminist, urban research techniques, generally combining detailed household biographies and time-use diaries with secondary data analysis in a mixed method approach. Household research is conducted primarily in post-industrial UK and US cities, comparing these with continental European contexts to evaluate prospects for work-life balance and urban environmental quality.

Current Work

Helen has recently completed case-study research on the autonomous community of Christiania, Copenhagen. Having also recently completed exploratory ethnographic research on alternative co-housing and intentional community initiatives in Australia, USA and UK she is working on an international comparative analysis and publications focusing on alternative housing and cooperative community, reflecting on the contribution these alternative practices make to issues of sustainability and social justice.  She is exploring alternative living spaces and work/life perspective from an integrated perspective, focusing on the work of social reproduction.

Research Roles

Helen has leadership responsibilities within the interdisciplinary household research network: HoRNet.

Postgraduate Supervision

I am happy to supervise postgraduate research on any aspect of:
Experiments in collaborative housing and intentional communities; community supported livelihoods; cities and gender; household resource capabilities and coping strategies; social networks/ social geographies; home and housing; work, employment and gender relations; informal care-giving; school choice and school run; everdyay co-ordination.

Completed PhD supervision:
Rituparna Sarma (2008) Indian women's changing status and role: lessons from the daily lives of university students in Assam, India.

Completed PhD supervision:
Valerie Egdell (began 2006) fully funded ESRC-MRC studentship
Unequal Respite: Mapping the Sites, Stages and Support Networks of Informal Care. (Co-supervised with Prof John Bond, Prof Ian McKeith, Dr Katie Brittain - Institute of Health and Society.)

Completed PhD supervision:

Angela Abbot (began 2007) full ESRC studentship
Exploring the Implications of Self-directed Support to the Social, Spatial and Affective Relations of Elderly Care. (Co-supervised with Dr Alison Stenning, CURDS)

Ann Murphy (began 2007) full ESRC studentship
Army Wives and Military Landscapes (provisional title). (Co-supervised with Dr Rachel Woodward, Geography.)

Esteem Indicators

Helen is an invited member of the Cittaslow (slow cities) international scientific committee of advisors (since 2009).  Helen has been invited to deliver Key-note presentations at international symposia in Germany, France, Australia, Denmark and the USA; she participated in an International Think-Tank on Housing Wealth (Rowntree Foundation/ ESRC) in 2007. She was invited by the Anglo-German Centrum fur Internationale Studien (CiS) Hamburg to contribute as a consultant to a workshop on 'the temporalisation of space' in December 2004.

Recent funding: 

University of Western Sydney IRIS award, 2010-11:  ($12,000 AUD) Collaborative housing innovations in Australian cities: international lessons

Newcastle University HASS Faculty Small Grant, 2008-2009: (£1,600) Alternative home-life reconciliation: the case of co-housing and intentional communities in Oregon, USA.

ESRC Seminar Series, 2007-2009: £15,000 (in collaboration with Durham and Lancaster Universities).

British Academy, 2005 - 2007: £7,000 (with Dr. Alvanides).

ESRC Fellowship, 1999 - 2002: £91,394 awarded for three years to undertake comparative UK-US research: "Negotiating Flexibility for Working Families: Lessons from International Comparison".

HSBC Holdings RGS-IBG Small, Grant 1999: Award of £1,500 for travel to support a 'pump-priming' 'pilot' international study of dual earner household lifestyles.

University of Newcastle Small Grant, 2000: Award of £1,500 for data collection costs to conduct a pilot study in preparation for a larger grant submission (with Professor Jane Wheelock),
"understanding 'flexible working' from a household perspective". An unsuccessful ESRC submission was made in July 2001.

ESRC, 2000: Bursary of £800 to cover full fees and travel expenses for a two-week residential course on the British Household Panel Survey at the University of Essex.

British Academy 2005-2007 (with Seraphim Alvanides): Small Grant of £7480: Understanding School Choice as a Function of Inequality: Combining Biography with Spatial Analysis.


Undergraduate Teaching

Degree Programme Directr (F800/ L701)

GEO2104 Module leader and lecturer on Social Geographies(20cr)
GEO3101 Module leader, Cities and Gender (10cr)

Postgraduate Teaching

Concepts in Action (MA Geography Research)
PhD supervisor (currently four students)