Global Urban Research Unit

Staff Profile

Professor Simin Davoudi

Professor of Environmental Policy & Planning, Director of GURU


Simin Davoudi is Professor of Environment Policy & Planning and Director of Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) at the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape.

She is past President of the Association of the European Schools of Planning (AESOP), Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (FRTPI), Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

She has served as expert advisor for the UK Government, led the Office of Deputy Prime Minister’s Planning Research Network (2002-2006), served on the Social Science Expert Panel (2011-2015) for Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Expert Panel on Housing Markets and Planning Analysis for Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). She is a member of DEFRA Science Advisory Council's Social Science Expert Group.  

She has served as member of Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Climate Working Group 3, the International Advisory Committee of the Netherland's Urbanising Deltas of the World Research Programme, and the Advisory Board of Helsinki Urban Academy. She has served as member of Expert Groups for: the EU DG Environment (on Thematic Strategy on Sustainable Urban Management) and DG Regional Policy (on Green paper on Territorial Cohesion), the Irish and Austrian EU Presidency Seminars, and Advisory Group for the UK ESPON Contact Point.

Simin chaired and has been a member of numerous research assessment panels in the UK and Europe including, the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) Sub-Panel 16 (Architecture, Built Environment and Planning); the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grant Assessment Panel C (2010-2014); the assessment panels for UK-China and EU-China research programmes on urban transformation, and Expert Review Panels for national research programmes in the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Sweden and Portugal.

She has held Wibout visiting professorship at the University of Amsterdam, Alexander von Humboldt visiting professorship at the University of Nijmegen, visiting professorships at: Blekinge Institute of Technology’s Swedish School of Planning, Virginia Tech (USA), RMIT (Australia) and Tampere (Finland); served on: the Departmental Advisory Council for University of Hong Kong, Advisory Board of the BTH, Expert Advisory Group for the ex-post Evaluation of the Interreg III (2006) programme. She was co-chair of the 4th American and European Planning Schools (ACSP-AESOP) Joint Congress Committee (Chicago, 2008) and member of their 5th JCC (Dublin, 2013).

Simin is co-Editor of the Journal of Environmental Planning & Management, founding member of the editorial team of 21st Century Society (Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences) and member of the editorial boards of 9 other international, peer-reviewed journals. She is on Editorial Board member of Springer's Urban Book Series.  

She has more than 180 academic publications including: 10 books, 5 special issues, over 77 articles, 60 book chapters and numerous governments’ commissioned research reports.  Some of her work has been translated into Italian, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Persian and disseminated through numerous keynote and invited speeches around the world.

She has led / participated in 33 projects on themes related to cities, spatial planning, urban and environmental governance, climate change and resilience, funded by the UK research councils, European Frameworks and other research funding bodies with a total value of about £20 million.   

Books include: The Resilience Machine (2018, Routledge), Companion in Environmental Planning and Sustainability (2018, Routledge), Justice and Fairness in the City (2016, Policy Press), Reconsidering Localism (2015, Routledge), Town and Country Planning in the UK (2015, Routledge), Climate Change and Sustainable Cities (2013, Routledge), Conceptions of Space and Place in Strategic Spatial Planning (2009, Routledge), Planning for Climate Change (2009, Earthscan), Planning for a Sustainable Future (2001, Spon),Planning, Governance and Spatial Strategy in Britain (2000, Macmillan), Managing Cities, The New Urban Context (1995, Wiley) and Rebuilding the City (1992, Spon).

Professional history 

2006–date: Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning, Director of GURU (2016-) School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Co-Director, IRES (2006-2010), Theme Coordinator, NIReS (2010-2014), Associate Director, IfS (2014-) University of Newcastle

2000-2006: Professor of Planning and Environment, Director of Centre for Urban Development and Environmental Management (CUDEM), Leeds Metropolitan University, School of Built Environment

1996 -00: Lecturer in Planning, Director of Undergraduate Planning Programme, University College London, Bartlett School of Planning

1993-96: Planning Officer, Northumberland County Council (part-time)

1989-96: Research Associate, Newcastle University, Department of Town and Country Planning (1989-93: full-time, 1993-96: part-time)

1988-89: Planning Consultant, Tyne and Wear Development Corporation

1984-86: Architect-Planner, Ardam Consulting Engineers

1982-84: Architect-Planner, Akhir Consulting Engineers



Externally funded research projects

2011-2015 (PI) ARCH (Architecture and roadmap to manage multiple pressures on lagoons), EU Framework Programme (FP)7 (APL share: c. €300,000) led by Norwegian Geotechnical Institute

2011-2013, (PI) Territorial Governance, ESPON (c. € 700,000, APL share, €120,000) led by Nordregio

2012-2013, Global SECURE Sustainable Energy through China-UK Research Engagement, EPSRC, CoI, (total project value: £500,000; APL share c. £40,000) in collaboration with Peking and Wuhan Universities in China

2011- 2012 (CoI) Bridging the Gap, Retrofitting Sustainability, EPSRC (£47,500 shared with other NIReS theme leaders)

2009-2011 (PI) SUME (Sustainable Urban Metabolism for Europe), EU FP7 (c. €3,000,000, APL share: c. €451,720)

2009-2011 (PI) Territorial Impact of Climate Change, ESPON, core partner (c. € 1,000,000, APL share, €100,000) led by Technical University of Dortmund 

2009-2011 (CoI) ARCADIA Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and Decision-making using Integrated Assessment, funded by the EPSRC, Co-Investigator, led by J. Hall, Newcastle University, c. £1,000,000 (APL share: £133,915)

2008 (PI) United Nation Global Report on Human Settlement 2009, Chapter 4: The Institutional and Regulatory Framework for Planning, funded by the UN Habitat, PI, $16500 (with Healey, Vigar and Majale)

2007-08 (PI) Supporting the Development of a Social Science Strategy for joint DEFRA / Environment Agency Research Programme on Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, funded by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), led by Collingwood Environment

2003-06 (PI) Leading Planning Research Network, funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minster (£90,700)

2005 (PI) Spatial Vision Synthesis Report, funded by EU Interreg IIIB North West Europe, €40,700,

2004-06 (PI) Spatial Scenarios and Orientations in Relation to the ESDP and Cohesion Policy, funded by European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) programme, core partner, led by Université Libre de Bruxelles (€1,500,000, CUDEM share: €145,000 )

2001-04 (PI) Regionalisation and the New Politics of Waste, funded by the ESRC, (£121,000) principal investigator 

2004-06 (PI) Governance of Territorial and Urban Policies from EU to Local Level, funded by the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) programme, core partner, led by University of Valencia (c.€400,000, CUDEM share: €37000)

2004-06 (PI) Spatial implication so the Lisbon-Gothenburg Agenda, funded by the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) programme, core partner, led by University of Rome (c. €450,000, CUDEM share: €55000)

2004-06 (PI) Geoland: The Use of Earth observation (Remote Sensing) Data for Spatial Analysis, funded by EU Framework Programme 6 Integrated Project, core partner (c. €10,000,000, CUDEM share: €102000)

2002-04 (PI) Urban-rural relationships in Europe, funded by ESPON Programme, core partner, led by Helsinki University of Technology (€450,000, CUDEM share: €45,000)

2002-04 (PI) Role of cities as nodes of polycentric development, funded by ESPON programme, core partner, led by the Nordic Centre for Spatial Planning (NORDREGIO), (€450,000, CUDEM share: €45,000)

1998-00 (CoI) SPESP: Study Programme on European Spatial Planning, funded jointly by the EU DGXVI and DETR, co-investigator and project manager for UCL Team, led by Newcastle Univ (UCL share c.£20,000).

1998-01 (PI) BEQUEST: Building Environmental Quality Evaluation for Sustainability trough Time, funded by the EU DGXII concerted Action, associate partner, led by Salford University (c. UCL share €9,000).

1995-97 (CoI) Development Plans and the Regulatory Forms of the Planning System, funded by the ESRC, co-investigator, Newcastle Univ. (c. £90,000)

1996-97 (CoI) Medium-sized Cities and Environmental and Socio-Economic Developments in the Regions of the EU, funded by the European Foundation for Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, co-investigator 

2000-01 (CoI) ESPRIN Continuation and the development of ESPRID database, funded by the DETR, co-investigator, led by Newcastle University

2000 -01 (CoI) Study in European Spatial Planning in support of a new MSc Programme in Bartlett Schools of Planning, UCL, funded by the DETR, co-investigator (c.£20,000)

2001 (PI) Appraisal of Objective 2 Integrated Development Plans for the Yorkshire and Humber Region, funded by GOYH (led by MTL and EKOS)

1992-95 (CoI) Monitoring and Evaluation of the City Challenge Initiative in North Tyneside, funded by the North Tyneside City Challenge Company, Newcastle University

1991-92  (RA) Monitoring and Evaluation of the Newcastle City Challenge Initiatives, funded jointly by the City Action Team (DoE), Newcastle Uni

1989-1990 (PI) Availability of Flexible Training Provision within Employment Training, commissioned by the Tyneside Training and Enterprise Council, principal investigator, Newcastle Uni.

1989-90 (RA) Urban Regeneration, the Development Process, and the Urban Fabric, funded by the Newcastle University Research Committee



Simin has thought at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in areas related to: the UK planning system, European spatial planning, UK urban policy and regeneration, environmental planning particularly waste management, climate change and resilience, city-region and polycentric urban development, urban-rural relationship, territorial cohesion, territorial governance, futures and scenario buildings.