Alternative Urbanisms Research Programme

This Research Programme draws together work centred in Geography that is focussed on three overlapping aspects of contemporary urban transformations:

  1. A focus on the emergence of counter-hegemonic forms of urban living and practice that challenge, contest or extend mainstream models, policies and trends. For example, this includes work on the development of sanctuary city movements (Bagelman), and post-secular geographies of urban social justice (Cloke).
  2. A focus on the development of new urban practices which seek to restructure and reconfigure economic, social and technological infrastructures in anticipation and response to compelling global challenges. This includes work on sustainable urban infrastructure (Barr, Bickerstaff, Caprotti); eco-city and smart city initiatives (Caprotti); and critical urban data studies (Cinnamon, Kinsley). 
  3. A focus on broadening the scope of intellectual curiosity through which urban processes can be analysed theoretically and investigated methodologically. This includes work that seeks to learn creatively from collaborative projects with partners in the Global South, including research on urban transformations in South Africa (Barnett, Caprotti, Cinnamon).


Various external funders, including the GW4 Research Alliance, ESRC, British Academy, Newton Fund, Leverhulme Trust, and NERC, have supported research in this Programme.

Strategic aims:

  • Building on existing Engaged Research activities in and around Exeter, including the University of Exeter’s Community Partnership Programme.
  • Build a profile of urban-oriented research in relation to University of Exeter’s GCRF strategy.
  • Develop International partnerships, building on existing networks.
  • Lead in the development of Interdisciplinary research conversations around urban issues at University of Exeter.
  • Further development of the GW4 Alternative Urbanism community.