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UoA 16A Architecture, Built Environment and Planning - Geography and Planning

Our interdisciplinary research is ranked 9th in the UK with a GPA of 3.18. Impact highlights include reforming national and international school food policies and influencing Welsh policy on rural welfare. We play an international role in the development, management and sustainability of cities, regions and rural spaces.

Quality level 4 3 2 1 UC
Overall 34.0% 51.0% 14.0% 1.0% 0.0%
Outputs 31.4% 46.1% 20.5% 2.0% 0.00%
Impact 20.0% 80.0% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Environment 62.5% 37.5% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
About the REF

Research at Cardiff School of Geography and Planning focuses on the planning, governance and sustainability of cities, regions and rural spaces.

Our researchers work at the interface of the disciplines of city and regional planning, human geography, and urban design.

Four research groups provide the main support mechanisms for individual researchers at the School, whilst centres and research institutes provide a platform for more focused programmes of cross –disciplinary research. During the REF period, eight research centres and institutes have involved critical clusters of staff, with two established since 2008.

The School plays a leading role in the Sustainable Places Research Institute, which is directed by a School professor and involves ten of our staff. The School also plays a leading role in the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD).

We have secured significant growth in large inter-disciplinary and collaborative research awards since the previous RAE period and have continued to recruit, retain and support high quality research staff.

Significant investments have been made in research infrastructure, library facilities and research support, including the development of a super computer network for the University.

Looking to the future, we will be establishing a new research centre on cities, sustainability and food, to broaden and deepen collaborative and interdisciplinary research, and develop our role in the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre.

Case studies

School dinners

Reforming school food

Helping to visualise a healthier, more sustainable school food service.

Research themes

Sustainable production and consumption systemsInvestigating the linkages between rural and urban food systems, local food procurement and community food production, and the complexities of renewable energy production and consumption.
Poverty, social inclusion and entitlementExamining urban poverty and the rights to the city in developing countries, poverty amongst older people in rural areas, gated communities and property rights, homelessness, environmental justice and health inequalities.
Regional, city-region and neighbourhood governanceFocussing on city-region governance, ethics, regulation and sustainable planning, and the capacities of neighbourhood governance and area-based responses to disadvantage.
Innovation and governanceExploring the governance of supply chains, urban regeneration and food, the regulation of converging technologies, and bio-patenting and animal breeding.
Complexity, environment and urban systemsExamining the relationships between the built environment, urban morphology and health.
Pedagogy, knowledge and the built environmentDeveloping urban network modelling tools for interdisciplinary teaching in the built environment, and examining connections between schools, universities and workplaces in supporting quantitative methods teaching in geography and planning.
Methods and data for socio-spatial researchInvolving innovative spatial Design Network Analysis (sDNA) software to allow network and morphological analysis of city and regional systems, and the development of new forms of qualitative mobile methods and emotional mapping.

Research groups

The Groups provide the main support mechanism for individual researchers in the School, allowing senior staff, early career researchers and PhD students to come together to discuss and develop research in an informal environment.

Environment Research GroupSpecialises in understanding the manifold challenges that the environmental crisis poses.
Spatial Analysis Research GroupUndertakes both pure and applied research combining substantive interests in geography and planning with quantitative analytical and computational methods.
Spatial Planning and City Environments Research Group (SPACE)Concerned with theorising the nature of planning practice whilst seeking to shape the knowledge and skill that characterise spatial planning and the development of the built environment.
Urban and Regional Governance Research GroupSpecialises in the study of socio-economic change in towns, cities, regions and city-regions, its impacts on different social groups, and different places, and its relationship to policy and planning.

Centres and institutes

Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)Active between 2001 - 2012, BRASS was an ESRC-funded interdisciplinary research centre combining expertise from Cardiff University's Business School, Law School, and School of Geography and Planning.
Welsh Institute of Social and Economic Research Data and Methods (WISERD)Providing a model of all-Wales Higher Education Institution collaboration, WISERD has collated and analysed existing socio-economic data, developed new qualitative and quantitative methodological tools, and provided new data sets on Wales at national and local levels.
Sustainable Places Research InstituteThis brings together experts in buildings, energy systems, rural and urban communities, ecosystems, infrastructure, health and policy-making, to provide critical and inter-disciplinary approaches to the development of sustainable places.
Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE)CEBE's mission is to support the community of Built Environment educators in its endeavours to shape knowledgeable, skilled, distinctive, adaptable and creative graduates.
Centre for Local and Regional Government ResearchConducts rigorous, policy relevant research on the governance and management of local public services. Its work focuses in particular on strategy; public service improvement; local partnership working; central-local relations; citizen engagement; and the regulation and accountability of public services.
Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Space (CRESS)CRESS is concerned to bring together environmental and social research themes in respect to rural areas, making connections between natural, social, cultural, economic and political processes within rural spaces.
Centre for Economic Geography (formerly Centre for Advanced Social Studies)Focused on advanced studies in the field of economic geography the Centre has a reputation for high-quality and internationally-renowned research.
Urban China Research Centre

Overall ranking

Pos. Institution GPA
1 University of Glasgow 3.38
1 University of Bath 3.38
3 University of Cambridge 3.35
4 University of Sheffield 3.32
5 Loughborough University 3.28
6 University College London 3.25
7 University of Aberdeen 3.23
8 University of Reading 3.22
9 Cardiff University A 3.18
9 University of Liverpool 3.18

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