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People and Place

The People and Place (P&P) research cluster investigates the interactions between people and the built environment in the context of place. P&P is positioned at the cross-boundary between architecture, urban design, planning and the social sciences. Recognising the diversity of values around the built environment, the group seeks to engage with the social, economic, physical and cultural fabric of a place. 

The work addresses some of the most pressing global challenges through spatial analysis and stakeholder engagement, offering a better understanding of local conditions. Cross-cutting themes include: affordable housing, inclusive design, the ageing population, health and well-being, disaster management, built heritage, identity and belonging, sustainability and society, play and imaginaries, movement and wayfinding.

Much of the research undertaken focuses on particular architectural and urban typologies, such as housing, schools, shopping centres, care homes, museums, visitor centres and playgrounds, including the relevant user groups in each context. Processes, mechanisms and structures within which the built environment is produced are of key importance and reflected in a significant focus on participation, enablement and community mobilisation; markets and economics; policy and spatial governance; evidence-based design; creative process and practice.

Key methodologies and methods include space syntax, ethnography, carbon estimating, qualitative surveys, post-occupancy evaluation, property market modelling, property development appraisal and digital modelling. The group is also active in research-informed evaluation, training, advocacy and curriculum development.

The group’s members represent a range of backgrounds and disciplinary areas, including Architecture, Building Surveying, Digital Technologies, Economics, Housing, Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Property Management, Real Estate and Urban Design. Research collaborations span Computing, Cultural Geography, Design, Landscape, Medicine and Midwifery, Psychology and Sociology.

Group leadership and contacts

Contact: Prof. Ruth Dalton and Dr. Ayse Ozbil Torun

This research group forms part of the Department of Architecture and Built Environment.

Academic team

  • Ruth Dalton (Lead)
  • Ayse Ozbil Torun (Co-lead)
  • Allan Osborne
  • Ashraf Salama
  • Kyung Wook Seo 
  • Jiyayi Jin
  • Kalechi Anyigor
  • Laura Brown
  • Michael Crilly
  • Nadia Bertolino
  • Pablo Martinez Capdevila
  • Richard Laing
  • Seraphim Alvanides
  • Tara Hipwood
  • Tarek Ahmed
  • Francesca Lanz

Research relationships

Research from this group will be submitted to REF2028 under UoA 13: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning.

To view research papers emanating from this group, please click here to view Northumbria Research Link, our open access repository of research output from Northumbria University.

Further information

The People and Place Research Group incorporates a number of themes: Sustainable Futures; Place Making; Education; Urban Morphology; Well-being & Health; and Real Estate Markets. Click here to see the team structure and academic members.

For more information visit:


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