School of Environment


Urban Spaces / Social Lives


Researchers in this theme explore the intersection of social life with urban and more-than-urban spaces. We are interested in what is extant and emergent in contemporary urban life, in the different lived experiences of social spaces, the generation of inequality across various axes of social difference (race, class, gender, age, sexuality), and the potential for progressive change already pregnant in the worlds we inhabit. Our research also examines the social experiences of a range of more-than-urban spaces and processes, from households, to asylums, migration, post-disaster, and cultural diversity. Members of this theme draw on ideas and approaches developed in geography and the broader social sciences to ask what constitutes the intersection and divergence of the urban and the social in analytical, practical and political terms.

The group has a growing cohort of PhD students concerned with urban-social intersections and hosts the lively Auckland Geography Collective (AGC) reading group that explores cutting edge theoretical contributions. The AGC is organized around fortnightly meetings of faculty and graduate students to discuss social theory and practice of relevance to members’ research interests and activities. The group serves as a forum for engaging new ideas in the social sciences, building faculty-graduate student linkages, and supporting knowledge production and interventions in scholarly debates. If you are interested in participating, please contact Tom Baker or Francis Collins.

Our research topics


  • Cities and the mobility of policy ideas
  • Temporary Migration and Urban Incorporation in Auckland
  • Urban food networks in Auckland
  • Finance Capital and the Built Environment  
  • Resilient Urban Futures
  • Aging well: Independence, Housing Tenure and Wellbeing
  • Acceptability' and Access to Primary Care

Key Staff


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