Senior Research Associate
I am interested in proposals from potential doctoral students in the broad areas of urban public space (e.g., the process of creating public spaces, the uses of public spaces), sustainable urban environments, urban design and behaviour and wellbeing.
Christopher is a Senior Research Association in ImaginationLancaster. His general research and teaching interests include decision-making processes, design thinking, Internet of Things/digital technology use in cities, urban space, regeneration, research methods, sustainability, urban design and wellbeing.
I am currently leading a Research Challenge on wellbeing as part of a 5-year, £6 million EPSRC project called Liveable Cities: Transforming the Engineering of Cities for Global and Societal Wellbeing (www.liveablecities.org.uk). With Prof. Rachel Cooper and Dr. Claire Coulton, I am specifically examining the relationship between the physical environment in urban neighbourhoods and the individual and collective wellbeing of its inhabitants. We are undertaking three case studies in Lancaster, Birmingham and Southampton, using wellbeing questionnaires to understand people's quality of life and a mobile app to understand the quality of the neighbourhoods where these people live. Findings will be used to help inform wellbeing policy at the local authority scale. Moreover, as part of a Lancaster-based team, I am exploring the notion of sharing in cities, trying to understand what cities need to do to enhance opportunities for positive sharing that sits alongside a growing 'sharing economy'.
From 2008-2012, I worked on a 4-year, £4 million EPSRC project called Sustainable Regeneration: From Evidence-based Urban Futures to Implementation (www.urban-futures.org). This project works across disciplines and uses future scenarios to measure the resilience of today's urban regeneration solutions in terms of sustainability in a UK context. We aim to answer the question: will decisions made, and solutions created, today in the name of sustainability still be considered sustainable, no matter what the future holds?Through case studies in Lancaster, Worcester and Birmingham, the research team focused on testing specific sustainability decisions and solutions in an attempt to improve on the solutions to make them truly sustainable now and in the future. I led a Work Package about density (population, dwelling etc.) and the design decision-making process.
The work on Urban Futures built on my previous research about the urban design decision-making process and its relationship to sustainability as part of a 5-year, £3 million EPSRC-funded project: VivaCity2020: Urban Sustainability for the 24-hour City (www.vivacity2020.eu). Prof. Rachel Cooper and I undertook three case studies in London, Manchester and Sheffield to understand who makes decisions about urban design, when and how they make those decisions, what tools they use to make decisions and whether or not they considered sustainability in decision-making. From our analysis of what happens in-practice and comparing it to the established literature, we were able to create an improved urban design decision-making process that incorporates sustainability at each stage.
In between these projects,I co-wrote a Government report with Prof. Rachel Cooper about the impacts of the physical environment on mental wellbeing for the Foresight Project on Mental Captial and Wellbeing (http://www.foresight.gov.uk/OurWork/ActiveProjects/Mental%20Capital/Welcome.asp). The report provides a state-of-the-art literature review about people's interactions with different environments at various scales -- urban, rural, neighbourhood, office, school, home, healthcare, rooms-- and relates them to mental health and wellbeing. Additional outputs from this project included two workshops about future trends in the physical environment and older people's needs for the future.
Finally, from 2010-2012, I was PI on a Lancaster University Early Career Grant Scheme project with Monika Buscher (Sociology), Tim Dant (Sociology), Karenza Moore (Sociology) and Jen Southern (LICA) called The New Interaction Order: A Study of Behaviour in Public Spaces (http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/projects/new-interaction/). This collaborative projects studied and evaluated key changes (e.g., through ambient, embedded and personal technologies) in 'the interaction order' of public spaces. This was achieved through interdisciplinary ethnographic mobile methods, following in the footsteps of social scientist Erving Goffman and urban theoriest and sociologist William Whyte.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
Research output: Contribution to conference › Poster
Project: Non-funded Project › Research
Project: Funded Project › Research
Project: Funded Project › Research