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Dr Matluba Khan

Dr Matluba Khan

Lecturer in Urban Design

School of Geography and Planning

+44 (0)29 2087 4994
Room 2.92S, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University. My research interests lie in the intersection of architecture, urban design and human geography. My approaches to teaching and learning are informed by my extensive research experience on the relationship between built environment design and people’s behaviour, health and well-being. I have developed expertise in participatory design and planning, intervention research and evaluation of design for children’s learning, health and well-being and expanded my research horizons from Global South to Global North. I have pushed the disciplinary boundary and successfully placed myself in education, psychology and public health only to bring them together in relation to research and design of built environment.

Prior to joining GEOPL, I have worked as a Research Fellow at University College London and taught in Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. I have also served as an Assistant Professor and before that as a Lecturer in Department of Architecture in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

I received numerous awards for my research and design projects that include Honour Award from American Society of Landscape Architects in 2017 , Great Places Award 2016 (in Place Design Category) by Environment Design Research Association, and Winner of Falling Walls Lab Edinburgh 2014. I was selected as the Scottish Graduate School’s first ever think in residence to research children's perception of aesthetics in their school and neighbourhood in Deveron Arts (now Deveron Projects) in Scotland.


Previous Academic Positions

  • Lecturer in Urban Design, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, UK (2019 - Present)
  • Research Fellow, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (2017 - 2019)
  • Tutor in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh (2015 - 2017)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh (2012-2013)
  • Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh (2009-2012)


  • PhD in Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh (2013-2017) (Funded by Principal Career Development Scholarship and Global Research Scholarship)
  • Master of Architecture (1st class 1st, Gold Medalist), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) (2009-2012) (Funded by the Committee for Advanced Studies and Research, BUET)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (1st class 1st, Gold Medalist), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) (2003-2009)

Professional Experience

  • Architecture Consultant and Researcher, Consultant Architects Forum at Bureau of Research, Testing and Consultation (CAF-BRTC), BUET (2009-2013)
  • Associate Architect, Dwm4 Architects (2009-2011)

Honours and awards

  • Fellowship to attend Newton Funded Workshop in Brasilia, Brazil (2019)
  • Honor Award, American Sociery of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2017 in Community Services Category (2017)
  • 1st prize, Global Health Day Poster Competition, (2017)
  • Shortlisted for World Landscape Architecture Awards 2017 (2017)
  • NERC Valuing Nature Fellowship to attend Valuing Nature Business Impact School (2017)
  • Place Design Award in Great Places Award 2016, Environment Design Research Association (EDRA), USA (2016)
  • Winner of the SERA Conference 3 MT Thesis Competition, Scottish Education Research Association (2016)
  • ABTA Doctoral Researcher Award, (2nd Place in Social and Managerial Science Category), Association of British Turkish Academics, UK (2016)
  • First Thinker in Residence at Deveron Arts, Aberdeenshire awarded by Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (2016)
  • Best Community Event Award for Play+Design=Learn (Initiator and Co-organiser), Institute for Academic Development, The University of Edinburgh, UK (2016)
  • David Willis Bequest Award for PG Research in Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the University of Edinburgh (2014)
  • First Place Winner, Falling Walls Lab Edinburgh (2014)
  • Best Student Paper Award and Overall Best Paper Award, 45th Annual Conference of EDRA (2014)
  • Principal Career Development Scholarship for PhD, The University of Edinburgh (2013-2016)
  • Global Research Scholarship, The University of Edinburgh (2013-2016)
  • Ahsanur Rahman Gold Medal for highest CGPA in Master of Architecture, BUET (2012)
  • Competition for New Academic Building at BUET Campus (2nd  Position) (2012)
  • Shamsunnahar Khanam Memorial Gold Medal, 2006- 2007 for highest CGPA in Bachelor of Architecture, BUET (2009)
  • Travel Grant Award (1st Prize), Berger Award Programme for the Students of Architecture, BUET (2009)

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy, Recognition reference: PR126668
  • Associate Member, Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), Associate Member ID: AK 121
  • Member of the International Play Association, England and Wales chapter (2019 - Present)
  • Member of the International School Ground Alliance Leadership Council (2018 - Present)
  • Member of the Royal Geographic Society's Children, Youth and Families Research Group (2018 - Present)
  • Member of the Cities Research Centre, Cardiff University (2019 - Present)
  • Member of the SPACE Research Group at the School of Geograpgy and Planning, Cardiff University (2019 - Present)

Speaking engagements

  • Sixth Form Symposium Perspectives on Play organised by Wellcome Collection, Panel Speaker , Title – Designing Places for Play (2019)
  • INHERIT Your Future Forum 2018 in Vienna, Australia, Invited talk on Gardening with Green Gym and Meat free Monday (2018)
  • UCL Space Syntax Laboratory Research Seminar Series, Invited talk on Place, pedagogy, play and participation: Can outdoor environments improved children’s learning, health and wellbeing. (2018)
  • DLL Seminar, UCL Institute of Education, Invited talk on Place, pedagogy, play and public health (2018)
  • International School Ground Alliance conference ‘Schoolyard diversity’ in Berlin, Germany, Keynote Speaker, Title - Diverse schoolyards: A place for pedagogy and play: Perspectives from Bangladesh (2017)
  • TEDxtalk at TEDxPortobello, Title- How to get kids to love learning (2017)
  • ESALA Away Day at Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, Invited talk on Outdoor environments for primary school teaching and learning: Promoting agency through participation, exploration and interaction (2016)

Committees and reviewing

  • Journal Reviewer, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal Reviewer, Children's Geographies
  • Member of the Scientific Committee for International Conference on 'Towards the Child Friendly City' Conference in Bristol in 2019







I teach in Postgraduate courses in Urban Design and Planning. My current teaching modules include:

  • Spring Urban Design Studio (Postgraduate)
  • Live Projects (Postgraduate)
  • Designing cities (Postgraduate)
  • Research based design project (Postgraduate)

I have over ten years’ teaching in Faculty of Architecture and Planning, BUET, Dhaka; Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and University College London (UCL). My widening research experiences in the intersection of architecture, planning and urban design and in national and international contexts inform my teaching approaches.

I am an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

My research interests lie in the intersection of Architecture, Urban Design and Human Goegraphy. I am interested in the interaction that takes place between the built environment and human beings, particularly the design of built environment and landscape and children’s behaviour, their learning, health and well-being. My research experience includes studies on participatory design and planning, planning, implementation and evaluation of urban open spaces and outdoor learning environment of children at primary schools and urban residential areas in the context of Bangladesh, England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. More recently I have been working on displaced children's experience of places in refugee camps in Bangladesh.


INHERIT is an EU horizon 2020 funded project, for which I developed with my colleagues at UCL the framework for evaluation of nine interventions/case studies across Europe using mixed methods/quantitative research design. The intervention included development of neighbourhood open spaces in deprived residential areas of Sweden and Netherlands, creating access to green spaces for communities in Bilbao and development of a 3 kilometer long pathway in Malvik, Norway. I have also developed, implemented and evaluated a school-based gardening intervention in London for improving children’s health behaviour - their physical activity and attitudes to healthy eating.

Displaced children's experience of places

I have been a PI in a research study investigating displaced children’s experience of places supported by a UCL Grand Challenged Small Grant 2019-2020 and a UCL Global Engagement Fund 2019-2020. The research study focused on exploring displaced Rohingya children’s likes and dislikes in their built environment and their preferences for transformation in their temporary settlements in refugee camps near CoxsBazar-Teknaf-Ukhia area in Bangladesh. As part of the study I conducted a workshop with stakeholders working in multiple sectors related to Rohingya children’s learning, health and well-being. The project was developed based on an earlier Global Engagement Fund 2018-2019 supported study that explored the barriers and challenges in designing, planning and evaluation of interventions for displaced children’s education and recreation.

Co-designing schoolyards for pedagogy and play

As part of my PhD dissertation in landscape architecture at the University of Edinburgh I co-designed and developed a schoolyard in a Government primary school in Bangladesh with children, teachers and the community. I also evaluated the designed landscape for play and pedagogy. This was developed based on my M.Arch project as part of which I designed and developed an outdoor amphitheatre in another primary school in Bangladesh. I developed co-creation approaches with children and evaluation framework for children’s environments that I implemented in Bangladesh, England and Scotland, the co-creation approaches have also been replicated with adults.


I am interested in supervising PhD students who work on the intersection of architecture, urban design and human geography and who have an interest in the following areas -

  • Child friendly city
  • Green spaces and health
  • Place, Pedagogy and Play
  • Participatory design and research
  • Design evaluation
  • Action research