Since 2006 I have worked as director of the research consultancy Urban Pollinators, and more recently as a senior research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University. You can find about more about my professional life on the Urban Pollinators website, as well as an extensive archive of work-related writing and research reports. I’m also on LinkedIn.
I’ve written a book, How to Save Our Town Centres, which grew out of the crisis of confidence that followed the 2008 financial crash and the subsequent recession. It sets out an alternative agenda for the future of our towns and cities which, it’s fair to say, hasn’t been welcomed by people who think our town centres should be filled with bigger and shinier shops and bigger and shinier property projects. An edited collection, Urban Crisis, Urban Hope, was published by Anthem Press in 2020. This was a joint project with Professor Rowland Atkinson at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield.
Urban Pollinators also helped to publish and crowdfund Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution. Written by Joanna Dobson with Pam Warhurst, it tells the story of the inspiring Incredible Edible movement that started in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and is encouraging people worldwide to rethink local food systems.
My previous blog, Living with Rats, grew out of my role as editorial director of New Start magazine, which I co-founded in 1999 and left in 2010. It has a broad focus on place and community. All the posts are still visible.
Alongside my work at Urban Pollinators I am also involved in academic research. Having completed a doctoral study of transitions to a low carbon society and institutional change with the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University, I spent two years supporting the Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature project at the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. Since July 2020 I’ve been working as a senior research fellow at CRESR. I’ve been involved in a range of research and evaluation projects: details of recent work can be seen here. Links to journal articles and so on are on my Orcid profile and at Researchgate.
Between 2016 and 2020 I was a trustee of the Sheffield-based charity Baby Basics, which provides essential support to new parents who are vulnerable or destitute, including asylum seekers, homeless people and families escaping abuse. I was previously a trustee of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies for several years.