Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

There are no specific PhD 'research projects' available, but (subject to an overall limit on my total number of supervisees at any particular moment) I would be prepared in principle to take PhD students specialising in the international or national history of public housing in the C20.

Personal profile

My research in a nutshell

Research keywords:

  • Mass Housing
  • Tower Block
  • Built Environment
  • Architectural Criticism
  • Modern Movement
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Iconic Architecture

Current Research Interests





Currently, the main focus of my own personal research efforts, provisionally entitled 'THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR: A Global History of Mass Housing', is a project to document the global history of public social housing in multi-storey blocks during the 'long 20th century'. 

This multi-strand research initiative focuses on personal research on case studies of Hong Kong and Singapore and involves other research and database work on postwar public housing elsewhere in the world.  This will eventually generate journal articles and at least one, probably two major books (no specific publication date set, but initial negotiations with Bloomsbury and Routledge are underway).  A major series of worldwide research trips is taking place during the period to 2016, including several to Hong Kong, Singapore, mainland China, the former USSR and the USA/Canada, as well as numerous other European and Asian countries.  This fieldwork programme is aided by a British Academy/Leverhulme travel grant for £9300.

The work involves the holding of collaborative events at UoE and significant efforts of database and website enhancement, especially via the DOCOMOMO-International Committee on Urbanism (including the UoE-based DOCOMOMO websites and

Outside this project cluster, I have also recently published a number of other monographs on the international history of the modern built environment, and on contemporary architectural issues. These include  The Conservation Movement: a History of Architectural Preservation (Routledge, 2013) - a new international account of the global rise of the discourse of built heritage in its architectural, cultural and political context.


Research Interests



The focus of this area of my research is a strategy to develop the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies as an integrated research, consultancy and teaching centre, building on the (more than) 40-year-old history of the M.Sc in Architectural Conservation at the SCCS: for this M.Sc programme, see the link under 'Teaching' below.

For a general website covering the research work of the SCCS, see this link:


Currently funded research projects include:

  • Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Historic Scotland, 2008 onwards: series
    of 7 grants totalling £80,000 to date
  • British Academy/Leverhulme Research Grant: Global Mass Housing, £9,300
  • Tower Block Database: English Heritage, 2008-11, £31,000
  • Glasgow East End Survey: Clyde Gateway/Historic Scotland, 2010, £3000
  • Commonwealth Games Glasgow Survey; Architecture + Design Scotland, 2010, £2500
  • Guide to conversion of redundant church buildings; Historic Scotland/Page & Park, 1010, £2500

These projects have supported a team of part-time researchers and research assistants, mostly graduates of the MSc in Architectural Conservation offered by the SCCS.

Researchers employed at various stages since 2008 include: Mark Tripney, Allison Borden, Emily Tracey, Jessica Taylor, Ewan Harrison, Joanna Roscoe, Fiona Stenke, Amy Hickman, Vicky Webster, Suzannah Meade, Ellen Creighton, Kirsten McKee, Laura Fernandez.


Collaborative Activity


Mass Housing Database(s) -

  • Electronic network of information on postwar mass housing set up under control of SCCS and under aegis of DOCOMOMO-International and English Heritage.  This combines a database and website to be used as the basis of further initiatives pertaining to mass housing in England and internationally.

Dictionary of Scottish Architecture consultancy -

  • This activity has created the basis for a network in Scotland for potential consultancy work pertaining to Scottish architecture.

DOCOMOMO Specialist Committee on Urbanism and Landscape -

  • A network which has generated extensive research on modernist architecture (linked to Mass Housing above).



The teaching activity of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies is focused on our longstanding M Sc in Architectural Conservation, founded 44 years ago and now the oldest in the UK. 

For the programme website, see this link:

For a programme brochure, follow this link:!/fileManager/ArchCons1213.pdf



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