Global Urban Research Unit

Power, Place & Materiality

Power, Place and Materiality


This theme critically analyses the processes of making the material and social environment.

It challenges approaches to social and spatial analysis that disregard the material environment. However, the theme goes beyond its physical qualities to look for its social and psychological significance.

Using cultural and social analysis, this theme investigates the:

  • concepts and meanings of place
  • production of space
  • power relations between different people and institutions

It studies the planning, design, development, management and use of the urban environment as embedded and embodied processes with social and environmental consequences.

We also address the different spatial and temporal scales of these processes. This is with a view to the current and future implications for urban change. The theme engages with the governance of place and the range of disciplines and actors involved in these processes. It also goes beyond this by drawing attention to the unheard voices and concerns.


Find out about what we're currently working on, and what projects we've completed.


Find out which members of staff are involved in this research theme.

Georgia Giannopoulou
Degree Programme Director MA Urban Design

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6006

Professor Rose Gilroy
Professor of Ageing, Policy & Planning

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7864

Professor Stephen Graham
Prof of Cities & Society

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8579

Professor Ali Madanipour
Professor of Urban Design

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6050

Dr Jane Midgley
Senior Lecturer / Degree Programme Director MSc Town Planning

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6807

Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE
Director, Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal

Telephone: 0191 208 6942

Professor Tim Townshend
Deputy Head of School and Director of Planning and Urban Design

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7814