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Dr Kevin Muldoon-Smith

Associate Professor

Department: Architecture and Built Environment

Dr Kevin Muldoon-Smith is an Associate Professor in Strategic Public Sector Finance and Urban Adaptation at Northumbria University. With more than 20 years experience, he is an established author, policy advisor and founder of the Adaptation, Value and Built Environment Research Group in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at Northumbria.

His research, impact, teaching and consulting covers system-based analysis of international local government finance environments, taxation, methods of value capture, transition strategy and urban adaptation – with a specific focus on the public sector where he is a recognised expert in strategic public sector finance. This builds upon experience derived from senior positions held in public policy development and urban regeneration held prior to his academic career.

The focus for Kevin’s research is primarily local government finance systems, regularly via international comparison and intersecting issues of governance, land, and property markets. He is particularly interested in understanding and exploring the ways in which spaces of politics, policy and land and property are made up in practice – reflecting the relations of power within and beyond the state. It is within this broad context that he examines how systems of local government finance enable and constrain big policy issues such as devolution, austerity, local authority solvency, uneven development, urban adaptation, and climate transition. Through which it is possible to consider the workings of power, politics and the changing possibilities of policy intervention and reform. He has authored/co-authored more than 100 book, journal, chapter, and consultancy publications while his work has been featured in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, China Daily, Municipal Journal, Local Government Chronicle, Estates Gazette and across local, regional and national radio and television.

In terms of impact, Kevin works actively with public sector think tanks and policy lobbyists to transfer his research into practice – working extensively with the Local Government Information Unit to bring issues of local government finance into the wider public and political domain. He has been a regular invited speaker and workshop participant in various government departments and an expert witness to Treasury and Communities and Local Government Select Committees. While he has also contributed to studies commissioned by various All Party Parliamentary Groups. During this time, he has engaged with and advised senior business, government and political representatives and organisations in more than 20 countries on topics ranging from local government solvency to climate transition – including the World Built Environment Forum, The International Renewable Energy Agency, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the British Council for Offices.

Kevin is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, he holds teaching interests in finance, investment, taxation, adaptation and transition strategies and research methods. He has received various student and university awards for teaching excellence and is an experienced module and programme leader and external examiner at various universities in the UK and overseas. He regularly guest lectures in other institutions and organisations on topics ranging from local government solvency, fiscal decentralisation to climate transition and urban adaptation.

Kevin Muldoon-Smith

Campus Address

Newcastle City Campus
Sutherland Building (room 114)
Newcastle upon Tyne

Kevin Muldoon-Smith is an Associate Professor in Strategic Public Sector Finance and Urban Adaptation


Kevin’s research has evolved along three strands:

1) Strategic Public Sector Finance – where he investigates international systems of local government finance to consider how the sector can be more resilient and democratically accountable. He is particularly interested in how systems of sub- national governance evolve and transition into new modes of interaction with the state, and how this interacts with land and property interests. Latterly, he has also started to investigate how digital innovation (through machine learning and AI) can enable more meaningful and democratic methods of taxation.

2) Stranded Assets – where he investigates how new demand and legislative drivers are stranding land and property assets and the consequences of this for the public sector. He is particularly interested in how this situation can be countered through methods of urban adaptation and building based adaptive re-use. This research currently focuses on building vacancy and how new perspectives of urban planning and public service innovation can drive environmental transition.

3) Knowledge Exchange – inspired by the writing of Michael Polanyi, where he a) investigate the generation, dynamics, and transference of tacit knowledge in the face of new modes of learning, teaching, and working in an increasingly digital environment and b) develops methods of collaboration and knowledge exchange between universities, think tanks and lobbyists in order to enhance policy reform.

Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears (Italo Calvino, 1972).

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Are Energy Performance Certificates a meaningful tool for understanding fossil fuel related stranded assets in the built environment: an experimental analysis of energy performance labelling in England, Muldoon-Smith, K., Greenhalgh, P., Kirk, M., Pearson, J. 25 Jan 2024, Sustainable Communities Through Digital Transformation in Built Environment, Routledge
  • A Systematic Analysis of Local Government Finance in Japan, Muldoon-Smith, K., Forbes, C., Pearson, J., Sandford, M. 23 Jan 2024
  • Learning from local government finance across the world: Proposals for improving the financial resilience of local government in England, Muldoon-Smith, K., Sandford, M., Walker, A., Stride, G. 30 Jan 2024
  • Situations vacant: A novel framework of commercial property vacancy for building adaptation and re-use, Muldoon-Smith, K., Greenhalgh, P., Stonehoue, J., Moreton, L., Pearson, J. 25 Jan 2024, Sustainable Communities Through Digital Transformation in Built Environment, Routledge
  • A system-wide analysis of local government finance in Italy, Muldoon-Smith, K., Forbes, C., Pearson, J., Sandford, M. 26 Oct 2023
  • Bounded autonomy: A system wide perspective of local government finance in Germany, Muldoon-Smith, K., Pearson, J., Sandford, M. 6 Aug 2023
  • Grasping the nettle: the central–local constraints on local government funding in England, Muldoon-Smith, K., Sandford, M. 17 Nov 2023, In: Territory, Politics, Governance
  • The Limitations of Local Government Finance in England: A System Wide Perspective, Muldoon-Smith, K., Forbes, C., Pearson, J. 6 Jun 2023
  • Unlocking Value: the impact of traditional valuation practices on the number of vacant retail units in the built environment, Johnson, L., Muldoon-Smith, K., Greenhalgh, P. 11 Sep 2023, In: Environment and Planning F
  • Who needs a workplace: accommodating employee experience of the new hybrid-built environment in the 21st century, Stonehouse, J., Muldoon-Smith, K. 6 Mar 2023, 29th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Participating in a conference, workshop, ...: World Built Environment Forum (RICS) 2024
  • Other: 4 reforms to stop English Councils going bankrupt 2024
  • Other: Four ways Labour could fix the crisis in local council finance - Media Commentary Labourlist 2024
  • Other: How other countries fixed local government funding 2024
  • Other: Invited expert panellist: DLUCH Local Government Finance discussion session 2024
  • Other: Invited media commentary for QT: Local Election analysis 2024
  • Invited talk: Invited talk: Local Government Information Unit, Ask the Expert 2024
  • Other: Media Commentary - China Daily - Local government in England starting bankruptcy in the face 2024
  • Other: The Tories starved councils, thinking no one cared. Now they’re bust – and we care very much 2024
  • Other: Time to stop blaming the council - invited media commentary QT 2024

  • Patrick Nwoko Application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a land use planning tool for better flood risk planning in Sagbama District, Bayelsa state, Nigeria: A case study of the Niger-Delta Development Master Plan Start Date: 21/02/2023
  • Besmira Dyca Rethinking land and water Policy for flood risk mitigation: Investigating the role of Active Land Policy in making room for water in Nijmegen Start Date: 01/10/2018 End Date: 23/12/2022
  • Jane Stonehouse Who needs a workspace: accommodating employee experience of the new hybrid-built built environment in the 21st century. Start Date: 15/09/2021

  • Other Courses MSc June 30 2012
  • Cultural Studies MSc June 30 2004

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