Prof. Sara González

Prof. Sara González


Relevant Academic employments

July 2022- Present                      Professor in Human Critical Geography, School of Geography. University of Leeds. 

July 2016- Present

Associate Professor in Human Critical Geography. School of Geography. University of Leeds.

June 2006-July 2016

Lecturer in Human Critical Geography. School of Geography. University of Leeds.


ESRC/ODPM Postdoctoral Fellow. University of Newcastle. Institute for Policy and Practice.

2004- 2005

Postdoctoral Research Fellow. University of Milano-Bicocca. Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale funded by URB-Europe.

2002- 2004

Research Associate University of Newcastle. School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.


Relevant academic qualifications


European PhD in Sociology and Political Science. (2003) University of the Basque Country (Spain).   Awarded highest mark. Thesis title: La Política de escalas en Bilbao. Supervisor: Catedrático Victor Urrutia Abaigar


BA Honours in Sociology and Political Science (1997)  Deusto University (Bilbao, Spain)


  • Associate Director, Global Food and Environment Institute

Research interests

I am a critical urban geographer interested in the political and economic transformation of cities, neoliberal urban policies, gentrification and contestation. I am researching the transformation of traditional retail markets and their social value as well as starting to research urban food systems from a food justice angle. I also conduct comparative research in European and Latin American cities. I espouse participatory action research methodologies.

Current project

2020-2025 Contested Territories. A Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project. International and intersectoral organisations from across Europe and Latin America will join forces to develop a grassroots model of territorial development. Inicio — Contested TERRITORIES (

Past projects

2018-2020 Economic and Social Research Council. Principal Investigator. Understanding and Enhancing the Community Value of Traditional Retail Markets in UK cities. For more information see our website and follow any updates thought our twitter account @markets4people 

2012-2016. Contested Cities was a staff and postgraduate mobility network between Europe and Latin America funded under the IRSES scheme of the EU FP7.  Michael Janosckha at Autonomous University of Madrid was the lead partner and I was a co-Investigator and the lead partner at the University of Leeds. The network extended to colleagues in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The theme of the project is Contested Spatialities of Urban Neoliberalism: Dialogues between Emerging Spaces of Citizenship in Europe and Latin America. For more information check out the website which details the activities and outputs of the network: A major output of this project was an edited book titled Contested Markets Contested Cities. Gentrification and urban justice in retail spaces available online here

2014-2015. Principal investigator. Scaling up urban resistance to the new gentrification frontier: Creating a national campaign network to defend traditional retail markets.This was a project to map. document and bring together campaigns across the UK working to save, improve or rescue markets from neglect, decline and gentrification. This website documents our work including our final report which you can download here.

2010-2015 Uneven local responses to the global recession. Leverhulme International Network. An international network funded by the Leverhulme Trust to analyse the impacts of the global financial crisis in European Cities. I was the Principal Investigator with colleagues from from University of Antwerp (Stijn Oosterlynck), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Ramon Ribera Fumaz), University of Turin (Ugo Rossi) and Prof Martin Jones. There were several academic outputs from this research culminating in a collaborative publication available here or here

Older projects

2001-2004 SINGOCOM (Social Innovation, Governance and Community Building) EU Framework 5. With Frank Moulart as Principal Investigator
2004-2005 Shaping and contesting narratives of globalisation in European cities. EU Research and Trainning Network, POstdoctoral Fellowship. EU Framework 5.
2005-2006 The Northern Way: filling in an imaginary geography or a collective voice for the North? ESRC POstdoctoral Fellowship.
2006 Representations of the “regional problem”. A comparison of Northern England and the Mezzogiorno. British Academy. Principal Investigator.
2004-2007 DEMOLOGOS:Development Models and Logic of Socio-Economic Organization in Space. EU Framework 6. With Frank Moulaert as Principal Investigator
2008 British Academy “Urban policy tourism in Bilbao and Barcelona: the construction, delivery and diffusion of urban regeneration success stories”. British Academy. Principla Investigator
2009 Urban mobilities: The Anglo-catalan production of the Barcelona Model”. Catalan Government (Spain). Co-aplicant.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Urban sociology, University of the Basque Country
  • BA (Hons), Sociology and Political Science, Deusto University

Student education

Undergraduarte teaching

I teach on several undergraduate modules within the BA Geography programme specialising in urban and economic geography: modern cities, planning in the 19th-2th century, urban social movements, gentrification, urban neoliberalisation to name few topics I teach on.

PhD Supervision

I welcome PhD applications in the following areas:

  • Neoliberal urban policies in cities around the world
  • Policy mobilities
  • Urban resistance and social movements
  • Retail gentrification and traditional retail markets (indoor or street markets)
  • Goumetisation; foodification in cities
  • Urban Justice and urban food systems 

Research groups and institutes

  • Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>