The year 2020 has been a remarkable year for our research. Not only because the School continued to produce influential research on issues around the design of environmentally and socially sustainable places and mobilities in urban contexts, but also because of the national Research Evaluation Framework (REF) exercise: a period of intensive data-collection, stock-taking, review, and reflection on research done at each university between 2014 and 2021.

The REF-exercise reveals a group of almost 80 staff members involved in producing research relevant for REF and around 45 individuals working on their MPhil and PhD research, the largest ‘unit of assessment’ for REF at the University of Westminster. The size of the submission represents a dramatic increase in the research intensity of the School, more than doubling the number of staff submitted from the previous REF in 2014, and demonstrates representation from all the disciplines that make up the School of Architecture and Cities: architecture, urban planning, transport studies, tourism and events.

The principle research outputs (mainly journal articles, books, book chapters and nine design folios) have been selected from nearly 1,000 outputs published and created between 2014 and 2021, and judged by internal and external review; many of these point to world-leading quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

A supporting element of the REF process involves reflecting on five detailed ‘Impact Case Studies’ demonstrating the real-world impact of practices and policies in urban sustainability, transport planning, urban planning and tourism. A final component is the REF ‘Environment Statement’. While activities are often London- and UK-based, the School’s research has a strong position in Europe and the Asia-Paci c (South-, Southeast- and East-Asia). A prominent strength for the School is in its ability to submit and run successful research bids. Between 2014 and 2021, it has hosted 82 externally-funded projects, utilising opportunities arising from research councils, EU funding, industry and the charitable sector.

REF has confirmed that the School truly has local, national and global presence. The School has leadership roles for influential publications, projects and in international networks for the disciplines relevant to the school (architecture, transport, planning, tourism). Staff members represent the School widely, through visiting scholar- and professorships, peer review bodies, learned institutes, and as editors for globally in influential journals. The School has an impressive collection of honours and awards. It is particularly active in organising and hosting conferences, seminar and workshops (well over 100 larger events since 2014), both at the Marylebone Campus and overseas. MORE provides a bit of a flavour of this dynamic and vibrant research culture. A culture we can be truly proud of, and one we should cherish for the years to come.

For further details about our research groups, visit:

Johan Woltjer SA+C Research Director

Planning Research Groups:

Air Transport & Air Traffic Management Group
This group specialises in the closely integrated research areas of Air Transport and Air Traffic Management. The former encompasses airline and airport research at the level of route planning, economics of operation and competitive analysis. The latter specifically covers the operational practices and management of Air Traffic Control. The team is working on numerous applied research projects and has €8m of major research in its current portfolio.
Centre for Urban Infrastructure
This centre concentrates on the theoretical, policy and applied aspects of urban infrastructures. A particular emphasis is to clarify the benefits of sustainable infrastructures (including transport, green and water infrastructures), their governance, and contributions to well-being in cities.
Freight and Logistics Group
Research in Freight,Transport and Logistics is carried out by a leading international research team with the majority of the projects involving national and international collaboration. It features work for a large variety of partners from distribution and logistics firms and industry, predominantly concerned with the sustainability of freight transport and logistics operations both in the UK and internationally.
Max Lock Centre
The Max Lock Centre focuses on international sustainable development in all parts of the world, including: public policy and professional practice in urban and regional planning, poverty reduction, management and governance in the built environment, community empowerment and building resilience and the creation of sustainable livelihoods at neighbourhood, city and regional levels.
Sustainable Mobility and Cycling
Sustainable mobility research covers topics including planning for sustainable accessibility, transitions to low- carbon mobility, walking, cycling, wheeling, e/micro- mobilities, reducing car use, and active travel. The group includes the new Active Travel Academy, and a wide range of funded projects.
Sustainable Urbanism
The Sustainable Urbanism Group focuses on issues of planning, engineering, design, and governance for sustainable towns, cities, and regions. The emphasis is on the integration of sustainability, infrastructure and urban development.
Tourism and Events Group
The Tourism and Events Research Group has a track record in city tourism, mega-events, sport events/tourism, and air transport research, as well as emerging interests in experience design and sustainable tourism/events. Their work is internationally focused, reflecting the cosmopolitan profile of staff and host city.

Architecture Research Groups:

Architectural History and Theory
The group explores the ‘what, why, how and for whom?’ of architectural and building custom and practice, and the various changing meanings and interpretations which have been placed upon them both in the past and in contemporary culture. Members of the group are engaged in a wide range of research into architectural history and theory, cultural studies, urbanism and heritage.
Expanded Territories
This group is an umbrella for researchers, scholars and designers working in and around architecture, such as global mobilities, rural landscapes, resource extraction sites, and the atmosphere. Framed by an awareness of the planetary scale of urbanisation, the discovery of the anthropocene, and the ethical imperative to work with the agency and rights of human and non-human actants in the shaping of built environments, it evokes an innovative cultural project rather than merely a research field.
Experimental Practice (EXP)
The group supports and promotes research in innovative and experimental architecture. It explores the experimental projects – buildings, books, artworks, imaginary, ‘paper’ and teaching projects – which act as a laboratory for the architectural profession.
Human Architecture Group
The group draws together closely related strands of research in the School of Architecture + Cities: environmental and ecological design, and practice driven research into the history and technological development of architecture. Specific areas of interest include novel construction technologies, innovative and efficient material use, systems building design, day-lighting, acoustics and air- quality all in relation to human perception, well-being and comfort.
Production of the Built Environment (ProBE)
ProBE is a joint initiative between the Westminster Business School and the School of Architecture + Cities. The Centre has a rich programme of activities, including research projects, oral history, film, exhibitions, seminars and other events. It provides a focus for interdisciplinary and international activity related to the production of the built environment as a social process.
Representation, Fabrication and Computing
In an age in which digital technology has facilitated a wealth of new opportunities for creative practice, it has never been more important to question the role of architectural representation. Cutting across disciplinary boundaries, scholars, teachers and designers explore the nature of drawing and making in their broadest sense, encompassing a range of activities from historical analysis and the science of visual perception, to design-based research and the exploration of innovative new fabrication technologies.
Interior Architecture

PhD Students:

Sharmeen Khan-Pathan
Carine Berger Woiezechoski
Joao Matos Da Silva
Mehrdad Borna