University of Hertfordshire

Assoc Prof Susan Parham

Head of Urbanism and Planning, Head

Susan Parham

Assoc Prof Susan Parham

Head of Urbanism and Planning, Head

Postal address:
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom


Associate Professor Parham works as the University's Head of Urbanism and Planning at the School of Life and Medical Sciences (LMS) in the Geography, Environment and Agriculture (GEA) group. In December 2018 Susan was appointed as the Director of the new University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit (UHUU). Susan is also the Academic Director of the International Garden Cities Institute (IGCI) established in 2015 in Letchworth as part of the University's research partnership with the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. Her particular research interests include the urbanism of Garden Cities and New Towns, as well as food and spatial design, sprawl retrofitting and transport oriented, compact cities. Associate Professor Parham also has 'process' expertise in engagement on planning, urban design amd urbanism issues.

At the International Garden Cities Institute Associate Professor Parham is working on a range of research proccesses with 'workstream' leads as well as with colleagues at UH and in other academic institutions internationally on developing the Institute's research capacity and planned settlement/garden city related learning. Associate Professor Parham recently wrote a think piece on 'Why are Garden Vilages in the News?' and has published the first and second of the Institute's Garden City Perspectives research and policy papers. The first was co-written with Keith Boyfield on the topic 'Garden Cities - Why Not?', the second on Garden Cities in Africa has been prepared by Keith Boyfield and Oni Oviri A substantial proportion of Associate Professor Parham's recent research and teaching has focused in on Garden Cities and New Towns' urbanism and placemaking, along with work on 'retrofitting' urban sprawl. Associate Professor Parham recently published a Garden Cities Perspectives paper on how to build a new garden city based on her co-written, commended entry for the Wolfson Economcis Prize.

At LMS Associate Professor Parham runs substantial research and partnership projects. With colleague Dr John McCormack and more latterly researcher Tessa Whicheloe she is undertaking a three year research programme with Tarmac through the Sustainable Living Partnership which is exploring sustainable materials supply chains. For more than three years prior to this new research she ran comparative primary research into sustainable placemaking in masterplanned communities with Dr Alasdair Jones and Dr John McCormack, again through the University's Sustainable Living Partnership with Tarmac. Her recent article 'Reflecting on sustainable architecture and urbanism as 'an ecology of living' recently appeared in Korea's c3 Architecture Magazine (No 387).

Associate Professor Parham is substantially involved in the University's Master's Programme in Sustainable Planning, which she managed on an interim basis while a new director was appointed for that programme in 2017. She  supervises PhD students, most recently through a ERDF/LEP/LGCHF funded scholar on garden city food economy issues, and teaches on the Professional Doctorate in Heritage. Susan teaches on the Masters level sustainable planning programmes and short courses, including in relation to urban design and conservation; urban regeneration; spatial planning; development viability, and community engagement in the planning system. She teaches undergraduate geography students in urban social geography and supervises 'real world' research projects.

Associate Professor Parham has been exploring the design and planning connections between food and cities since the early 1990s. Her most recent book chaoter looks at food and place issues in peri-urban areas as part of the book, Agrourbanism, edited by Enrico Gottero. Susan has also published two chapters, on food and urban design with Dr Jaques Abelman, and on the evolution of food markets in a Handbook of Landscape and Food for Routledge, Jan 2018, (edited by Tim Waterman and Josh Zeunert). In late 2016 Susan published the research report 'Making Space for Food in Hatfield' with Ben McCabe and earlier in 2016 published a chapter "Shrinking Cities and Food: Place-making for Sustainable Renewal, Reuse and Retrofit' in the book Future Directions for the European Shrinking City (Eds. Hans Schlappa and William Neill) in the RTPI Routledge series. In 2015 Associate Professor Parham completed a book for Bloomsbury entitled Food and Urbanism, delving into the interplay between food and place from the scale of the table to the region, while her 2012 book Market Place: Food Quarters, Design and Urban Renewal in London reported on primary research into food-centred regeneration processes that are transforming physical spaces and social practices in moribund market areas in contemporary London.

Associate Professor Parham holds undergraduate and post graduate qualifications in political economy, town planning, urban design and urban sociology, with a PhD from the London School of Economics’ Cities Programme.

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