Professor Loretta Lees

Loretta LeesProfessor of Human Geography


Personal details

I joined Geography at Leicester in September 2013, previously I was Chair in Human Geography at King’s College London (where I worked between 1997-2013 and was also Chair of the Cities Group). Before that, I was 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). I was awarded a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1995. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS), a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

I am an urban geographer internationally known for my research on gentrification/urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, architecture and urban social theory. I was identified as the 17th most referenced author in urban geography worldwide (Urban Studies, 2017) and the only woman in the top 20. I sit on the ESRC peer review college, I previously served on the ESRC Future Leaders panel, the ESRC postdoctoral award panel, the Research Committee of the RGS-IBG, and was Chair of the RGS-IBG Urban Geography Research Group. Editorial Boards currently sitting on: Urban Planning (2018-); Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2017-), Journal of Urban Affairs (2016-), City and Society (Journal of the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association) (2010-present), Art and the Public Sphere (2010-present), Dialogues in Human Geography (2009-present), Geography Compass – Urban Geography (2006-present). I was an Associate Editor of Geoforum (2015-2016) and have sat on the following other Editorial Boards: Environment and Planning A (2002-2012), The Canadian Geographer (2004-2006), ACME: an international e-journal for critical geographies (2003-2006).

Watch and Listen to Loretta talking about Gentrification

2018 Keynote for Gentrification: measuring, preventing, reverting Conference, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2017 Renegade TV

2015 Alexander von Humboldt Lecture on 'Planetary Gentrification'

2014 TEDX Brixton talk on ‘Gentrification and what can be done to stop it’

2014 talk on ‘Ruth Glass and gentrification’, at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Ruth Glass coining the term gentrification


Google Scholar

Since 2009 I have co-organised The Urban Salon: A London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism and since 2016 The Leicester Urban Observatory.

Twitter: @LorettaCLees




Loretta's Books

  • LEES,L. Slater,T. and Wyly,E. (in prep) Gentrification, Routledge Key Ideas Series, Routledge: New York.
  • LEES,L. and Warwick,E. (to be published 2019) Defensible Space: mobilization in British Housing Policy and Practice, RGS-IBG Book Series, Wiley.
  • LEES,L. with Phillips, M. (2018) (eds) Handbook of Gentrification Studies, Edward Elgar.
  • LEES,L.,  Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales,E. (2016) Planetary Gentrification Polity Press: Cambridge. (the launch text for their new series ‘Urban Futures’) About to be published in Chinese.
  • LEES,L., Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales,E. (eds) (2015) Global Gentrifications: uneven development and displacement, Policy Press: Bristol.
  • Imrie,R. and LEES,L. (eds) (2014) (eds) Sustainable London? The future of a global city, Policy Press: Bristol.
  • The London Tenants Federation, LEES,L, Just Space and SNAG (2014) Staying Put: An Anti-Gentrification Handbook for Council Estates in London (hardcopy and electronically).
  • Bridge,G., Butler,T., and LEES,L. (eds) (2011) Mixed Communities: gentrification by stealth?, Policy Press: Bristol. (Republished 2012 by University of Chicago 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.
  • Kitchen, R. and Thrift, N. (editors in chief) with Anderson, K., Castree, N., Cloke, P., Crampton, J., Crang, M., Domosh, M., Graham, B., Hadjimichalis, C., Hubbard, P., Kearns, R., Kwan, M-P., LEES, L., McLafferty, S., Paasi, A., Philo, C., Sidaway, J., Willis, K., Yeung, H. (editors) (2009) The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Elsevier. [Awarded 'CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2010' in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category].
  • LEES,L., Slater,T. and Wyly,E. (2008) Gentrification, Routledge: New York. (Republished 2013 by Rotuledge).
  • LEES,L. (2004) [editor] The Emancipatory City: paradoxes and possibilities?, Sage: London.
  • Hoggart,K., LEES,L , and Davies,A. (2002) Researching Human Geography, Arnold, UK/Oxford University Press, USA. (Republished 2012 by Routledge, and as an e-book).

Guest-edited special issues of journals

  • López-Morales,E., Shin, H, and LEES,L. [guest editors]  (special issue) (2016) Are Latin American cities being 'gentrified'? Urban Geography, 37(8).
  • Shin,H., LEES,L. and López-Morales,E. [guest editors]  (special issue) (2016) Locating Gentrification in the Global East, Urban Studies 53(3).
  • LEES,L. and Ley,D. (2008) [guest editors] Gentrification and Public Policy, Urban Studies, 45(12).
  • Kenny,J. and LEES,L. (2004) [guest editors] Changing Urban Geographies: perspectives on Anglo-American urban research, special issue of Urban Geography, 25(8).
  • Slater,T., Curran,W., and LEES,L. (2004) [guest editors] Gentrification Research: new directions and critical scholarship, special issue of Environment and Planning A, 36(7).
  • LEES,L. (1998) [guest editor] Vancouver: A Portfolio, special issue of Urban Geography, 19(4).

Journal articles

  • Hubbard,P. and LEES,L. (2018) The right to community: legal geographies of resistance on London’s final gentrification frontier, CITY, 22:1, 8-25.
  • LEES, L. (2018) Resisting gentrification in (Southern) European cities, per una agenda urbana anti espulsione, Urbanisticatre
  • LEES,L., Annunziata, S. and Rivas-Alonso, C. (2018) Resisting Planetary Gentrification: the value of survivability in the fight to stay put, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 108:2:346–355 (selected paper for special issue on Social Justice and the City).
  • LEES,L. (2016) Gentrification, Race and Ethnicity: towards a global research agenda, City and Community, 15:3:208-214. DOI:10.1111/cico.12185.
  • Annunziata, S and LEES,L.(2016) Resisting 'Austerity Gentrification' and Displacement in Southern Europe., Sociological Research Online.
  • López-Morales,E., Shin,H., and LEES,L. (2016) Latin American Gentrifications, Urban Geography, 37:8:1091-1108.
  • LEES,L. and Ferreri, M. (2016) Resisting gentrification on its final frontiers: lessons from the Heygate Estate in London (1974-2013), Cities, 57:14-24.
  • Shin,H., LEES,L. and López-Morales,E. (2016) Introduction: Locating Gentrification in the Global East, Urban Studies, 53:3:455-470.
  • LEES,L. and Melhuish,C. (2015) Arts-led regeneration in the UK: the rhetoric and the evidence on urban social inclusion, European Urban and Regional Studies, 22:3:242-260.
  • LEES,L. (2014) Re-encountering Andy Merrifield and his ‘The Politics of Encounter: urban theory and protest under planetary urbanization’, Dialogues in Human Geography, 4:2:233-235.
  • LEES,L. and McKiernan,J. (2012 [2014]) Art-led regeneration in Margate: learning from Moonbow Jakes café and Lido Nightclub intervention, Art and the Public Sphere, 2:1-3:17-35
  • LEES,L. (2014) The urban injustices of New Labour’s ‘new urban renewal’: the case of the Aylesbury Estate in London, Antipode, 46:4:921-947.
  • 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) The geography of gentrification: thinking through comparative urbanism, Progress in Human Geography, 36:2:155-171.
  • LEES,L. and Baxter,R. (2011) A ‘Building Event’ of Fear: thinking through the geography of architecture, Social and Cultural Geography, 12:2:107-122.
  • Rerat, P. and LEES,L. (2011) Spatial Capital, Gentrification and Mobility: lessons from Swiss Core Cities, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 36:1:126-142.
  • LEES,L. (2010) Planning Urbanity? Environment and Planning A, 42:2302-2308.
  • Davidson,M. and LEES,L. (2010) New-Build Gentrification: its histories, trajectories, and critical geographies, Population, Space and Place, 16:395-411.

Book chapters (since 2015)

  • Hubbard, P., LEES.L. and Easton,S. (forthcoming) Gentrification, displacement, and council estate renewal in London, in Baeten,G. et al. (eds) Beyond housing displacement: conceptual and methodological issues, Routledge: London.
  • Annunziata,S., LEES,L. and  Rivas-Alonso,C. (forthcoming) Segregation, Social Mix and  Gentrification, in Orum, A. et al (eds) Companion to Urban Regional Studies, Wiley.
  • Luger,J. and LEES, L. (forthcoming) Planetary Public Space: Scale, Context, and Politics, in Vikas,M. and Palazzo,D. (eds) Companion on Public Space, Routledge: New York.
  • LEES,L., Annunziata, S. and Rivas-Alonso, C. (2019) Resisting Planetary Gentrification: the value of survivability in the fight to stay put, in Social Justice and the City, Routledge: New York.
  • LEES, L. (2018) Towards a C21st Global Gentrification Studies, in LEES,L. with Phillips,M. (eds) Handbook of Gentrification Studies, Edward Elgar.
  • LEES, L. (2018) Doing comparative urbanism in gentrification studies: fashion or progress?, in  LEES,L. with Phillips,M. (eds) Handbook of Gentrification Studies, Edward Elgar.
  • LEES,L. (2017) Salford, (re)tracing my roots, and the ‘new’ urban renewal, in Brake,J. and van Aitken, J. (eds) All materials of value, IUD, p.25-29.
  • LEES,L. (2016) Gentrification, in Jayne,M. and Ward,K. (eds) Urban Theory: New Critical Perspectives, Routledge: New York, pp.134-145.
  • LEES,L., Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales, E.  (2015) Introduction: ‘gentrification’ a global urban process? in LEES,L., Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales, E. (Eds) Global Gentrifications: uneven development and displacement, Policy Press: Bristol, pp.1-18.
  • LEES,L., Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales, E.  (2015) Conclusion: Global gentrifications, in LEES,L., Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales, E. (Eds) Global Gentrifications: uneven development and displacement, Policy Press: Bristol, pp.441-452.
  • LEES,L. (2015) Gentrification, in Wright,J. (Editor-in Chief); Wu,F. (section editor), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioural Sciences (2nd edition, Vol 10), Elsievier, pp.46-52.


Recent funded research

  • Principal Investigator: LEES,L. CoI: Portelli,S. Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions ‘SDD: Spirits of Displacement and Diaspora (€269,857 [£192,755])
  • Principal Investigator: LEES,L. CoIs: : Hubbard,P. and Tate,N. ESRC 2017-2020. Gentrification, Displacement, and the Impacts of Council Estate Renewal in C21st London (£615,341; full fec £769,176). [ES/N015053\1]
  • Principal Investigator: LEES,L. CoI: Sakizlioglu,B. ,S. Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 2015-2017 ‘GGG: Gendered Geographies of Gentrification’ (£139,610).
  • Principal Investigator: LEES,L. Leicester University Impact Acceleration Fund (£7,000) For work with Cambridge House Law Centre on the dispossession of council tenants in Southwark,  London.
  • Principal Investigator: LEES,L. CoI: Sakizlioglu,B. Prime Ministry of Turkey General Directorate for Turkish Citizens Living Abroad and Kindred Communities, ‘Ethnic Dynamics and Politics of Gentrification: The Case of Amsterdam’ (Euros 4,000)
  • Principal Investigator: LEES,L. CoI: Annunziata,S. FP7-PEOPLE-2013 Marie Curie Action Fellowship 2014-2016 ‘AGAPE: Exploring anti-gentrification practices and policies in Southern European Cities’ (£158,290).
  • 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: Shin,H.B. , Lopez-Morlaes,E. and Hertzer, H.  (2011-2012) 'Towards an Emerging Geography  of Gentrification in the Global South'. Urban Studies Foundation Seminar Series (£19,960).
  • Principal Investigator: LEES, L., CoIs: Pratt,A., Miles,M., Jordan, M., and Bachmann, G. (2011). 'The Art of Regeneration'. AHRC Project Development Connected Communities Programme (£11,718).
  • Principal Investigator: Butler T., CoIs: LEES, L., Helbrecht, I., and Blokland,T. '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.


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


University of Leicester:

NameThesis TitleFunding
Sharda Rozena Gentrification and Facadism in Kensington ESRC Midlands Graduate School DTP Studentship 1+3
Tia Ndu Regeneration/gentrification and race in Tottenham ESRC Midlands Graduate School DTP Studentship 1+3
Jess Steele Self-build as an alternative to Gentrification funded by College of Science and Engineering CASE studentship, Leicester University
Clara Rivas Resistance to Gentrification in Istanbul Self-funded
Nastassia Barnes Historic preservation and black gentrification in Florida Self-funded


NameThesis TitleFundingYear AwardedDestination
Philipp Katsinas Thessaloniki: The poster child of austerity urbanism A.G. Leventis Foundation 2017 research fellow LSE
Jason Luger Creative Singapore: a contradiction in terms? funded by KCL-NUS studentship 2016 Assistant Professor in urban studies San Francisco State University
Viktoria Vona Gentrification, art and resistance funded by 1+3 ESRC studentship 2016
Elanor Warwick How the idea of 'defensible space' has travelled in policy circles funded by CABE 2015 Head of Strategic Research Affinity Sutton
Juliet Kahne Gentrification in the exceptional city:  the case of Silverlake in  Los Angeles funded by KCL 2014 PPS Place Making, NYC
David Craggs Skyscraper London in a period of boom and bust funded by SSPP Studentship 2013
Eduardo Ascensao The lived experience of the architecture of shanty town dwellings in Lisbon, Portugal funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) 2011 Awarded Bengt Turner Award for paper from his PhD. Research Fellow, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Alan Mace London’s Inter-War Suburbs: Towards a Renaissance funded by the University of Westminster 2010

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography LSE

Richard Baxter High Rise Living in London: Towards an Urban Renaissance? funded by ESRC-ODPM studentship 2008 Postdoctoral Leverhulme Fellow in Geography, QMU, Lecturer Birkbeck, University of London
Nina Brown Young People, Place and Urban Regeneration: the Case of the King’s Cross Ten Estates, London funded by ESRC-CASE studentship in collaboration with the Peabody Trust 2008 Research Assistant, University of Chicago
Jennie Middleton The ‘Walkable City’: The Dimensions of Walking and Overlapping Walks of Life funded by ESRC-CASE studentship in collaboration with Arup Transport Planning 2008 Senior Research Fellow, Oxford University
Scott Rodgers New Geographies of the Metropolitan Newspaper: Exploring Spaces of Urban Political Journalism at the Toronto Star funded by ORS, University of London Britt Studentship in the Social Sciences, and SSPP Studentship 2007

Lecturer in Media Studies, Birkbeck University

Gavin Brown The Production of Gay, Post-gay and Queer Space in East London funded by SSPP Studentship 2007 Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Leicester University
Mark Davidson New-build Gentrification and London’s Riverside Renaissance funded by SSSPP Studentship 2006 Associate Professor of Geography, Clark University, USA
Tom Slater The Geography of the Gentrifying ‘North American’ neighbourhood: A comparison of South Parkdale, Toronto, Canada, and Lower Park Slope, New York City, USA funded by The Leverhulme Trust 2003 Awarded Peter Walling Fellowship UBC during his PhD. Reader in Geography, University of Edinburgh

Impact, enterprise and outreach

Loretta has worked with council tenants and housing groups in London over the past 5 years to resist the gentrification of council estates and the displacement of low-income groups.

Read her Staying Put: An Anti-Gentrification Handbook for Council Estates in London

She has been an expert witness at two public inquiries into displacement from council estates in London and submitted evidence and reports on related issues:

  • White,H. and Lees,L. (2015) Report for Housing Bill, , Why we Can’t Afford to Lose it: local authority housing in London protects the poor from homelessness. Submitted as Evidence
  • Lees, L. (2015) Report for Planning Committee, GLA, on estate regeneration. Submitted as Evidence.
  • Lees,L. (2015) Evidence to Aylesbury Estate Public Inquiry.
  • Lees, L. (2014) Report for Housing Committee, GLA, on the demolition and refurbishment of London’s council estates. Submitted as Evidence.
  • Lees,L. (2013) Evidence to the Heygate Estate Public Inquiry.

Plenary, keynote and public lectures

Keynote (by skype) podcast, Planetary Gentrifications: how to address them?, Gentrification: measuring, preventing addressing, conference University of São Paulo, Brazil December 2018
Keynote, Planetary Gentrification and Urban (re)development, East meets West – contemporary urban issues re-visited Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland October 2018
Keynote, Gentrification and Displacement: a global phenomenon, Un Exode Inevitable? Gentrificacio, pressio turistica I bombella del lloguer, Diputacio de Barcelona View on YouTube Diputacio de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain May 2018
Keynote, Planetary Gentrification: institutionalized segregation? Lisbon, Portugal May 2018
Public Lecture, New gentrification battlefields: the demolition of council estates in London Cornell in Rome Program, Rome April 2018
Public Lecture and Discussion, How to stay put? Housing regeneration and struggles in South London LSBU Borough Road Gallery, London November 2017
Keynote, Gentrification in Southwark and what can be done about it Southwark Tenants AGM, London November 2017
Keynote, Planetary Gentrification, Housing, Commodification and Alienation School of Architecture, De Montfort University November 2017
Public lecture, Planetary Gentrification Listen to lecture La Monde Diplomatique, London May 2017
Public lecture, Urban planning and displacement ICA, London May 2017
Plenary and roundtable, Architectures of Displacement: Planetary Gentrification - China/Liverpool, LOOK/17 China Cultural Exchange, Tate Exchange Liverpool April 2017
Public lecture, From planetary to provincial gentrification: lessons for Leicester, City Series, Leicester Urban Observatory View Poster.pdf Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester March 2017
Keynote, Gentrification and Displacement Listen to lecture People’s History Museum, Manchester, organised by Institute of Urban Dreaming January 2017
Book presentation pro qm bookshop, Berlin and Kosmos workshop Universal gentrification? Conceptual challenges of comparative urbanism. Organised by Andrej Holm, funded by Future Concept resources Humboldt University Berlin through the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Government and its Federal States October 2016
Keynote Dialogue, Home in the Housing Crisis Geffrye Museum, London April 2016
Public Panel, What I learned from Johnny Bevan Soho Theatre, London March 2016
Public Panel, Re: Home Yard Theatre, London February 2016
Public Panel, Corbynomics for Everyday Life (Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark Momentum Groups in collaboration with Brick Lane Debates, Red Pepper, and Verso Books) Karibu Education Centre, Brixton February 2016

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