Professor Loretta Lees

Professor of Human GeographyLoretta Lees


Personal details


I joined the Department of Geography in September 2013. Previously I was a Chair in Human Geography at King’s College London (where I worked between 1997-2013). I was also chair of the Cities Group, 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) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA). I sit on the ESRC peer review college and the ESRC Future Leaders panel. I previously 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. I was an Editor of Geoforum (2014-2016) and I have served 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- Urban Geography (2006-present), Environment and Planning A (2002-2012), The Canadian Geographer (2004-2006), ACME: an international e-journal for critical geographies (2003-2006).


Google Scholar

I also co-organise the Urban Salon: a London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism.

Twitter: @LorettaCLees




Loretta's Books

  • LEES,L., Slater,T. and Wyly,E. (in prep, second edition) The Gentrification Reader, Routledge: New York.
  • LEES,L. (in prep) (eds) Handbook of Research on Gentrification, Edward Elgar.
  • LEES,L.,  Shin,H. and Lopez-Morales,E. (2016) Planetary Gentrification Polity Press: Cambridge. (the launch text for their new series ‘Future Cities’)
  • 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.
  • 13.  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) (in press) Are Latin American cities being 'gentrified'?Urban Geography.
  • 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

  • LEES,L. and Ferreri, M. (in press) Resisting gentrification on its final frontiers: lessons from the Heygate Estate in London (1974-2013), for Special Issue of Cities edited by Ed Goetz.
  • 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 urbanismProgress 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.

Book chapters

  • LEES,L. (in press) Gentrification, in Jayne,M. and Ward,K. (eds) Urban Theory: New Critical Perspectives, Routledge: New York.

  • LEES,L. (in press) Doing comparative urbanism in gentrification studies: fashion or progress? , in Silver,H. (ed) Comparative Urban Studies, Routledge: New York.
  • 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.
  • LEES,L. (2014) The death of sustainable communities in London?, in Imrie,R. and LEES,L. (eds) Sustainable London? The future of a global city, Policy Press: Bristol, pp.149-172.
  • Imrie,R. and LEES,L. (2014) London’s future and sustainable city building, in Imrie,R. and LEES,L. (eds) Sustainable London? The future of a global city, Policy Press: Bristol, pp.3-28.


Loretta is an urban geographer who is world renown for her research on gentrification. She is also an international expert on urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, urban communities, architecture, and urban social theory.

Watch and Listen to Loretta talking about Gentrification:

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

Recent funded research

  • 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
Jess Steele Self-build as an alternative to Gentrification funded by College of Science and Engineering CASE studentship, Leicester University
Chris Hilbourne Gentrification in Brixton funded by College of Science and Engineering studentship, Leicester University
Clara Rivas Resistance to Gentrification in Istanbul Self-funded
Nastassia Barnes Historic preservation and black gentrification in Florida Self-funded

Continuing at King's College London:

NameThesis TitleFunding
Philipp Dimitrios Gentrification in Thessaloniki: neoliberalization and local specificities in Greece funded by A.G. Leventis Foundation
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


NameThesis TitleFundingYear AwardedDestination
Jason Luger Creative Singapore: a contradiction in terms? funded by KCL-NUS studentship 2016
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.

Prestigous invitations

Visiting Professorships

  • 2016 Key Thinker in Geography, Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, University of Utrecht.
  • 2015 Alexander von Humboldt, Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, Spatial Planning and Environment, University of Nijmegen, Netherlands.
  • 2008 Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, University of Barcelona, Spain.

Plenary, keynote and public lectures

Public Panel. Another Lambeth is Possible Pop Box, Brixton November 2015
Public Lecture. The Alexander Von Humboldt lectures on ‘Relational Approaches to Urban Transformations’ University of Nijmegen, Netherlands October 2015
Keynote. Cities, Race and Gentrification workshop, The Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University and  Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Lloyds Building, London June 2015
Keynote. Performing urban reistance: an exploration of Southwark’s culture of gentrification protests HARC, Royal Holloway’s Humanities and Arts Research Centre, Senate House, London May 2015
Private Lecture. Tottenham Labour Party (Labour party members only)

Tottenham, London

March 2015

Public Panel. ‘City, Country, Suburb?’(blog and podcast)

Royal Academy of the Arts, London February 2015
Public Lecture. Ruth Glass and London: Aspects of Change 1964-2014 UCL December 2014
Public Lecture. ‘Questioning time: housing and social justice, Teach in University of East London October 2014
Public Lecture, ‘Gentrification’, TEDxBrixton, ‘When Worlds Collide’ Evelyn Grace Adademy, Brixton October 2014
Plenary Speaker Summer Institute in Urban Studies (SIUS) University of Manchester 29 June to 4 July 2014
June 2014 Public Lecture ‘The death of sustainable communities in London?’, 60th Aniversary Event – ‘A tale of two cities? Class and space in Paris and London’ CUCR, Goldsmiths, London June 2014

Related links

Invited blogs


Television appearances

  • 2 October 2015-Interviewed for and appeared on CBC National News on anti-gentrification riots on Brick lane, London
  • 13 February 2015-Interviewed for and appeared on BBCNewsnight on Art-led regeneration.
  • 7 August 2014-BBC World News: tv interview by Rajesh Mirchandani on feature ‘Washington DC from murder capital to boomtown’ in relation to gentrification in London.
  • 19 October 2012-BBC London 94.9: phone interview about sink estates on The Paul Ross and Gaby Roslin Breakfast Show
  • 19 October 2012-BBC News London:London’s new housing loses the ‘dirty word’,  interviewed by Josephine McDermott.

Radio appearances

Newspaper and magazine coverage

  • 20 September 2012-The Irish Times: ‘Group calls for social housing plan’
  • June 2012-BBC:Is this the UK’s most gentrified street?’, interviewed by Keith Moore
  • July 2011-The Independent: Interviewed by Oliver Bennett–‘Galleries and festivals are reinvigorating our coastline: but do they bring lasting renewal?’
  • March 2011-The HafenCity Times: Interviewed on the HafenCity development in Hamburg:  ‘A 21st century test case for planned urbanity’.
  • 2010-The Economist ‘A tale of two constituencies: why the election fight in Islington South matters’,
  • 18 March 2010-Der Hamburger Abendblatt: BDA lecture commented on with the headline: ‘The Obligation for a socially just City’.
  • August 2009-The Globe and Mail: interviewed by Sarah Hampson – ‘They need to keep People Like You out of the hood’. Based on interview on super-gentrification in Barnsbury at the RGS-IBG Conference in September 2006:
  • 1 September 2007-The Times: p.26: There’s plain gentrification and then you have Islington
  • 1 September 2007-The Daily Telegraph: p.3: Britain’s ‘masters of the universe’ set up their own little world in Blair’s back yard. (also covered in The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Metro and the Islington Gazette; subsequently interviewed in the South China Morning Post too).
  • 1 November 2006-The Evening Standard: p.4-5, On new-build gentrification, interviewed by David Spittles and quoted in article titled: ‘A world apar’t.
  • 6 May 2005-The Daily Telegraph: p.1-2, interviewed by Oliver Bennett and quoted in an article on de-gentrification titled ‘Going Down in the World’

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