Person

Rowland Atkinson

My work crosses the boundaries of urban studies, sociology, geography and criminology. My doctoral research looked at household displacement resulting from the gentrification of London neighbourhoods using interview and census data to look at the scale of the flows and the impacts on people. These interests, in social problems and urban life, have continued to fuel my research interests. My work seeks to look at what are often hidden issues and the causes of different forms of exclusion and inequality. From 1997 I worked at the Department of Urban Studies (University of Glasgow) where I worked on issues of social exclusion and area effects (the compounding force of disadvantage faced by poorer residents in poorer areas). It was here that I also took interest in the rise of gated communities in the UK, leading the first UK study and beginning to further consider the role of the middle-classes and higher income households in shaping social outcomes more broadly across the city. While my work on gentrification had viewed middle-class neighbourhood choices as a problem for working-class and poorer households I was now interested in much higher income groups and how choices to self-segregate and seek out secure home zones might begin to impact on British urbanism. From 2005 I directed the Housing and Community Research Unit (University of Tasmania, Australia) where a very different urban context and issues of indigenous health and housing influenced my thinking. My work continued to focus on issues of gentrification, public housing and strategies of social mixing to create more sustainable communities and I led initiatives designed to generate more interest in these issues from policy-makers nationally. From 2009 I moved back to the UK to the University of York where I became Reader in Urban Studies and Criminology and my work became more focused on questions of social harm and crime in urban contexts. Since moving to the University of Sheffield in 2014 I continue to work on urban social problems including the role of the super-rich in residential life in the UK, gentrification, community trauma/violence and social vulnerability. As Chair in Inclusive Societies I work both within TRP and across the faculty of social sciences and welcome contact from community leaders, policymakers and others interested in addressing these challenges.