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Prof Nicholas Phelps
Central House
14 Upper Woburn Place
Tel: (020) 76799570
Prof Nicholas Phelps profile picture
  • Honorary Professor
  • The Bartlett School of Planning
  • Faculty of the Built Environment
Together with co-authors, Nick has made a number of important contributions within economic geography. These include theoretically informed empirical articles in Regional Studies (1993, 2003, 2008), Journal of Economic Geography (2006), Economic Geography (2000, 2004, 2007), Environment & Planning A and C (1998, 2000, 2001, 2009), European Urban and regional studies 1998) which address aspects of the economic geography of multinational enterprises and foreign direct investment and the political economy of foreign direct investment and investment promotion. Research here has been funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy.

In addition Nick has authored and co edited the following books which cover these subjects.

Phelps, N.A. and Raines, P. (Eds) (2003) The New Competition for Inward Investment: Companies, Institutions and Regional Development. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. pp.xiii + 231 

Phelps, N.A. and Alden, J. (Eds.) (1999) FDI and the Global Economy: Corporate and Institutional Dynamics of Global-Localisation. The Stationery Office,   Norwich. pp. xvi+314

Nick has also written extensively on the subject of industrial clustering and economic agglomeration as these affect city-region economies. His key publications here are in the journals Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (1992), Progress in Human Geography (2003) and Urban Studies (2004). He is currently funded by the National Geographic Exploration Fund to examine processes of craft industry clustering in Indonesia.

More recently, as a result of research funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (2000 and 2008) and the British Academy (2002), Nick has been involved with colleagues in researching into the politics of development processes at the urban edge and their implications for understanding the political and planning dynamics of city-regions. Nick is the European Research Cluster leader for a unique international collaborative research network administered from York University in Canada in a project funded from 2010 to 2017. These collaborations have led to a number of important papers in the journals Urban Studies (2003, 2011), Environment & Planning A (2010) and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (2005), Urban Affairs Review (2012).

Key books from this research are the following:

Phelps, N.A. and Wu, F. (Eds.) (2011) International Perspectives on Suburbanization: a Post-suburban World? Palgrave-MacMillan, Basingstoke.

Phelps, N.A., Parsons, N., Ballas, D. and Dowling, A. (2006) Post-suburban Europe: Planning and Politics at the Margins of Europe’s Capital Cities. Palgrave-MacMillan, Basingstoke. pp.xiii +233

Most recently Nick has been involved with research concerned with understanding the planning of urban sprawl and planing for the delivery of growth in the UK and the planning and political possibilities for re-planning or re-working suburban space in the United States in research projects funded by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (2012), the Royal Town Planning Institute (2013) British Academy (2007, 2010). The key publications to date from this strand of work are:

Phelps, N.A. (2012) An anatomy of sprawl: Planning and Politics in Britain. Routledge, London.

Valler, D.C., Phelps, N.A. and Wood, A.M. ‘Planning for Growth? The Implications of Localism for ‘Science Vale’, Oxfordshire, UK’, Town Planning Review 83 (4): 457-488

Research Summary

Nick Phelps gained a BA (Hons) Geography from University College London and a PhD (Geography) from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

He taught as a Lecturer at the Department of City & Regional Planning, Cardiff University and the School of Geography, University of Leeds and as a Reader in Economic Geography at the School of Geography, University of Southampton.

His research interests cover economic geography, economic development, urban sociology, geography and planning. He is currently on the editorial advisory boards of Economic Geography, Journal of Economic Geography, Environment & Planning C and has served on the advisory boards of Environment & Planning B, International Planning Studies and Local Economy. 

Teaching Summary

Contemporary Cities (BSc year 1): An introductory course covering the contemporary dynamics of urbanisation and associated planning issues.

Economics of Cities and Their Regions (BSc year 2): An intermediate course covering the main theories of urban and regional economic development and associated planning and economic development policy issues.

International Planning (MSc International Planning): A course that considers bothe commonalities and differences among national planning systems.

Urban Problems and Problematics (MSc Urban Regeneration): A course that considers the main approaches to understanding urban economic change and the prospects for urban regeneration.

Contribution to Cities Space and Power module on MSc Urban Studies

Contribution to Spatial Planning on MSc Spatial Planning

Academic Background
1992   Doctor of Philosophy University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1987   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University College London
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