Meet the team

We have a track record for internationally relevant, engaged and impactful research

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Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship

Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship

We work on issues of social justice and citizenship from local to global scales with an eye to past, present and future challenges. In the context of increasingly diverse societies, unequal cities and uneven impacts of climate change, we develop innovative research, often in collaboration with civil society organisations and community groups to overcome discrimination, injustice and disempowerment and to achieve a fairer world.  

We are involved in a variety of local to international research partnerships from small NGOs to government departments. This work is supported through our successful track record of external funding from a variety of national and international such as UK research councils, European Union or Leverhulme Trust.

Our research strengths include:

  • Housing struggles and alternatives: researching the financialisation of housing across Europe, housing vulnerability and diverse tenancies in the US, privatisation of housing estates in London, anti-eviction campaigns in Spain and Greece. We also research and work alongside innovative grassroots initiatives to promote sustainable and affordable housing such as Leeds Community Homes.
  • Social movements and scholar activism: working alongside social movements and community groups that are involved in environmental, social and urban justice. Members of the cluster have developed methodological and theoretical insights into what it means to be an scholar activist. 
  • Contested urban transformations: challenging the existing neoliberalising trends in urban policy, such as gentrification, mega-developments, privatisation of public spaces, and displacement. This work has taken us from rapid urbanising cities in China, to the marginalisation of retail spaces in Europe and Latin America  or new participatory governance systems in municipalities in Spain and community planning in London.
  • Migration, precarity and securitisation: promoting a complex understanding of the precarity of some of the most vulnerable groups and its geographical implications from global migration, borders and the increasing fortressing of everyday life. Some of this research has exposed the precarity of asylum seekers’ lives who are driven into forced labour. Our research also demonstrates the increasing securitisation and militarisation of migration policies and humanitarianism. At the same time, our work also highlights the organising strategies and solidarity mechanisms of these vulnerable groups.
  • Identity, difference and citizenship: intervening in debates regarding social cohesion, integration, exclusion, national values and how people live with difference in an era of rapid change. Our work strives to rethink collective identities within the frames of citizenship and residency but beyond their exclusionary boundaries.
  • Consumption, public space and the arts: exploring past and current consumer cultures and how they interplay with changing daily experiences of urban life and lifestyles on- and offline. Members of the cluster have analysed the contested ways in which the public produces and consumes urban public art, including queer memorials. We have also developed pioneering work on cosmetic surgery tourism as well as historical work on consumer cooperatives in the UK.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact: Dr Sara Gonzalez.

Study with us

We teach masters programmes and undergraduate modules based on our latest research, enabling students to acquire skills and knowledge that are in demand in the real world.

This includes the Sustainable Cities MSc, which brings together energy systems, transport networks, housing provision, and urban ecosystems to discover how these systems can be transformed to produce better economic, environmental, and social outcomes.