The ‘New Urbanisms, New Citizens’ research team is a multi-disciplinary research team led by Professor Pia Christensen (School of Education, University of Leeds).  The Co-Investigators are Dr. John Horton (Centre for Children and Youth, University of Northampton) and Dr. Peter Kraftl (Department of Geography, University of Leicester).   Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill (Centre for Children and Youth, University of Northampton) and Dr. Jane Ellis (Institute of Education, University of Warwick) are also working on the project.

The team has also worked with Dr. Claire Jarvis and Dr. Jen Dickie (both Department of Geography, University of Leicester) on the GPS component of the project.

Full biographies are shown below:

Principal Investigator:

Prof. Pia Christensen

Pia is a Professor of Anthropology and Childhood Studies in the School of  Education, University of Leeds. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research with children and young people in families, schools and local communities in Denmark and England. Her research includes innovative mixed-methods research into children’s mobility in the city. Her theoretical interests focus on how children’s agency is constituted in their everyday lives, and how concepts of life course can be applied to the study of children. She has written about methodological and ethical questions in research with children. She has  published widely on children’s understanding and agency in health, learning, engagement with risk, food, time and space.

Responsibilities on project: leadership, coordination and management of project; ensure systematic ethnographic data and comparative analysis.


Dr. John Horton

John is a Senior Lecturer in Social Science at the Centre for Children and Youth, The University of Northampton. He has worked on more than twenty externally-funded research projects about children and young people’s everyday issues and experiences in diverse institutional and policy contexts. This includes a recently completed two year AHRC/EPSRC-funded project, in collaboration with Peter Kraftl, exploring pupil participation in school design and refurbishment in the UK. He has published over 20 articles on childrens geographies, childhood policies and services, embodiment and everyday practice, many in collaboration with Peter Kraftl.

Responsibilities on project: oversee fieldwork in case studies areas; data analysis; dialogue with policy makers and urban planners; develop role of children in planning and designing new urban growth areas.


Dr Peter Kraftl

Peter is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, The University of Leicester. He has been involved with over 15 policy and consultancy projects which have explored young people’s opinions of, and participation in, outdoor play, health service provision, anti-social behaviour programmes and employment/education services. This includes a recently completed two year AHRC/EPSRC-funded project, in collaboration with John Horton, exploring pupil participation in school design and refurbishment in the UK. He has published over 20 articles on childhood, education, architecture and utopia; many explore relationships between these four areas. A number of these have been theoretical papers written in collaboration with John Horton.

Responsibilities on project: oversee sampling in case study areas; practical development of research methods; develop ethical best practice guidelines; data production; implement communications strategy.

Post-doctoral Researcher:

Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill

Sophie is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Children and Youth, The University of Northampton.  She completed her PhD at the Department of Geography, University of Leicester. Her PhD thesis focused on the ‘greening’ of leading companies and financial institutions in India.  Her broad research interests include environmental and social justice, corporate social responsibility and sustainable living.

Responsibilities on project: conduct field research in case studies communities; data analysis; dissemination.

 Research Fellow

Dr.  Jane Ellis

Dr. Jane Ellis is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Education at University of Warwick working on the ‘New Urbanisms, New Citizens’ project. She has undertaken several multi-method research projects focussed on gender-based violence and its prevention. She has worked for central and local government, voluntary and community sector organisations including the NSPCC. Her research interests include Children’s Rights in practice particularly participation, school-based violence prevention, children and social policy.

Responsibilities on Project: conduct field research in case study communities; data analysis; dissemination

 PhD Student

Sarah Smith

Sarah is a PhD student at the University of Leicester (Department of Geography) and her study is entitled: ‘An exploration of the relationship between youth cultures and community space.’