Professor Loretta Lees

Professor of Human GeographyProfessor Loretta Lees



Loretta joined the Geography Department in September 2013. Previously she was a Chair in Human Geography at King’s College London (1997-2013), a Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada (1995-1997) and a Visiting Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Waikato, New Zealand (1994-1995). Loretta was awarded a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1995.

Loretta is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA). She has served on the ESRC postdoctoral award panel, the Research Committee of the RGS-IBG, and was Chair of the RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research Group. She has served/is serving on the following editorial boards: City and Society (2010-present), Art and the Public Sphere (2010-present), Dialogues in Human Geography (2009-present), Geography Compass (2006-present), Environment and Planning A (2002-2012), The Canadian Geographer (2004-2006), ACME: an international e-journal for critical geographies (2003-2006).

Loretta co-organises (with Jenny Robinson, Matthew Gandy, Monica Degen and Hyun Bang Shin) the Urban Salon: a London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism.

Loretta is an urban geographer with research expertise in gentrification/urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, urban communities, architecture, urban social theory and the urban geographies of young people.

Recent Funded Research

Principal Investigator: Lees, L., CoIs: London Tenants Federation, Richard Lee/Just Space and Mara Ferrei, Antipode Activist Scholar Award 2012 (£10,000). ‘Challenging ”the New Urban Renewal”: gathering the tools necessary to halt the social cleansing of council estates and developing community-led alternatives for sustaining existing communities’.

Principal Investigator: Lees, L., CoIs: Hyun Shin, Ernesto Lopez and Hilda Hertzer (2011-2012) 'Towards an Emerging Geography  of Gentrification in the Global South'. Urban Studies Foundation Seminar Series (£19,960).

Principal Investigator: Lees, L., CoIs: Andy Pratt, Malcolm Miles, Mel Jordan and Goetz Bachmann (2011). 'The Art of Regeneration'. AHRC Project Development Connected Communities Programme (£11,718).

Principal Investigator: Butler T., CoIs: Lees, L., Ilse Helbrecht and Talja Blokland, 'Comparative Urbanism: London and Berlin' DAAD (Euros 10,000).

Principal Investigator: Butler,T., CoIs: Lees, L., Bridge,G. and Slater,T. (2007-2009) ‘Gentrification and Social Mixing’ (£18,000) ESRC Seminar Programme.

PhD Supervision

Loretta was awarded the 2008 Supervisory Excellence Award at King’s College London for excellence in supervising PhD students.

Current PhDs

I was the first supervisor and am now continuing as the second supervisor for the following KCL PhDs:

  • Philipp Dimitrios - Gentrification in Thessaloniki: neoliberalization and local specificities in Greece, funded by A.G. Leventis Foundation, FT 2012-present.
  • James Field - The production of neoliberal urban public space and the implications for social intercourse and democratic processes: a comparison of Canary Wharf, London and Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, funded by KCL-Humboldt studentship, FT 2011-present.
  • Juliet Kahne - Gentrification Limited: the case of Silver Lake, Los Angeles, funded by KCL (part fees only, SSPP) FT/PT 2009-present.
  • Jason Luger - Creative Singapore: a contradiction in terms?, funded by KCL-NUS studentship, FT 2011-present.
  • Viki Vona - Gentrification, art and resistance, funded by 1+3 ESRC studentship, FT 2009-present.
  • Elanor Warwick - How the idea of 'defensible space' has travelled in policy circles, funded by CABE (self funded since CABE disbanded), PT 2006-present.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Lees, L. and McKiernan,J. (in press 2014) Art-led regeneration in Margate: learning from Moonbow Jakes café and Lido Nightclub intervention, Art and the Public Sphere.
  • Lees, L. (in press 2013) The urban injustices of New Labour’s ‘new urban renewal’: the case of the Aylesbury Estate in London, Antipode.
  • Lees, L. and Melhuish,C. (in press 2013) Arts-led regeneration in the UK: the rhetoric and the evidence on urban social inclusion, European Urban and Regional Studies.
  • Jacobs,J. and Lees, L. (2013) Defensible space on the move: revisiting the urban geography of Alice Coleman, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37:5:1559-1583.
  • Lees, L. (2012) Urban policy and the future of cities: an interview with Josef Konvitz, Environment and Planning A, 44:2124-2133.
  • Lees, L. (2012) The geography of gentrification: thinking through comparative urbanism, Progress in Human Geography, 36:2:155-171.


Loretta has published 7 books and is working on 3 more due to be published in 2014. These include:

Loretta Lees books







  • Lees, L.,  Shin,H. and Lopez,E. (eds) Gentrification, Globalization and the Postcolonial Challenge (under contract with Policy Press: Bristol for 2014).
  • Lees, L.,  Shin,H. and Lopez,E. Global Gentrifications and Comparative Urbanisms (under contract for 2014 in new series ‘Future Cities’ by Polity Press: Cambridge).
  • Imrie,R. and Lees, L. (eds) (under contract with Policy Press for 2014) (eds) Sustainable London? The future of a global city.
  • Bridge,G., Butler,T., and Lees, L. (eds) (2011) Mixed Communities: gentrification by stealth?, Policy Press: Bristol. [Republished 2012 by University of Minnesota Press].
  • Lees, L., Slater,T. and Wyly,E. (2010) The Gentrification Reader, Routledge: London.
  • Imrie,R., Lees, L. and Raco,M. (2009) [editors] Regenerating London: governance, sustainability and community in a global city, Routledge: London.

Book Chapters

  • Lees,L. (in press 2014) Gentrification in the Global South?, in Parnell,S. and Oldfield,S. (eds) From the South: A Cities handbook.
  • Lees,L. (in press 2014) Gentrification, in Wright,J. (Editor-in Chief); Wu,F. (section editor), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioural Sciences (2nd edition), Elsievier.
  • Lees,L. (in press 2014) Class, lifestyle and the ‘new’ city, in Paddison,R. and McCann,E. (eds) Cities and Social Change, Sage: London.
  • Lees,L. (2012) Gentrification, in Carswell,A. (ed) The Encyclopedia of Housing (second edition), Sage: Thousand Oaks.
  • Lees,L. (2012) Gentrification and the Right to the City, in Lawrence,R., Turgut, H, and Kellett,P. Requalifying the Built Environment: challenges and responses, Hogrefe, Gottingen, pp.69-92.
  • Lees,L. (2012) Planning Urbanity: a contradiction in terms?, in Helbrecht,I. and Dirksmeier,P. (eds) New Urbanism: life, work, and space in the new downtown, Ashgate, pp.23-38.
  • Lees,L. (2012) Gentrifying the world city, in Derudder,B., Hoyler,M., Taylor, P, and Witlox,F. (eds) International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities, Edward Elgar, pp.628-642.

Recent Invited keynote addresses

  • February 2013: Public Lecture ‘State-led Gentrification in C21st London’, UvA-Department of Sociology and Anthropology Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR).
  • December 2012: Keynote ‘Gentrification and Displacement in London’, Housing and Migration in Britain, Conference organised by the PopGRG at the Royal Geographical Society, London.
  • September 2012: Keynote ‘How a National Plan can provide for True Integration’, Respond! Jubilee30 Conference – Does Ireland need a National Housing Plan?, Dublin.
  • March 2012: Keynote ‘Arts-led regeneration in the UK: the rhetoric and the evidence on urban social inclusion’, Art and the Public Sphere: Critical Urban Geography I, School of Art, Loughborough University.
  • September 2011: Keynote ‘Gentrification, social movements and art’, Gothenberg City Museum, Sweden.

Recently in the Media

  • Forthcoming: interview by the La Farge Group on mixed-income housing (social mixity) and its challenges and solutions, which will be published in September/October on
  • Forthcoming: interview on in Hamburg and the Right to the City, in ZEIT Wissen magazine (published bimonthly by the weekly DIE ZEIT.
  • August 2013: Interview on Skyscraper London in the Norwegian Aftenposten newspaper.
  • 29 August 2013: Invited piece for The Guardian - Regeneration in London has pushed poor families out,
  • 19 October 2012: phone interview about sink estates on The Paul Ross and Gaby Roslin Breakfast Show BBC London 94.9.
  • 19 October 2012: ‘London’s new housing loses the ‘dirty word’, interviewed by Josephine McDermott, BBC News London (

Full listing of publications

Share this page: