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Dr Saffron Woodcraft
Dr Saffron Woodcraft profile picture
  • Principal Research Fellow
  • UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
  • Faculty of the Built Environment
Research Summary

Saffron's research focuses on anthropological approaches to understanding lived experiences of prosperity and inequality in urban neighbourhoods. Her work examines how 'communities of place' are imagined and actioned in urban policy and place-making practice, and how relationships between urban social life, urban form and prosperity are theorised. Saffron's research questions the social and political implications of reimagining prosperity as situated and diverse, and the theoretical and methodological challenges this presents to developing new forms of evidence and policy directions.


Saffron works collaboratively with citizen scientists, community organisations, government policymakers and business decision-makers to bring local understandings of prosperity into planning and decision-making processes that produce place-based strategies.   She focuses on developing citizen 'social' science as a method for co-producing policy-relevant knowledge about pathways to prosperity, translating lived experience into new prosperity metrics, and developing new forms of partnership and collaboration for action on place-based prosperity. 


Saffron’s published work explores the value of place-based approaches to research and policy development, and citizen-led models and metrics of shared prosperity. Her work draws on several years of ethnographic research in east London, and mixed methods research in urban neighbourhoods around the UK and in Malmö, Seoul City and south Chicago, and in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.   

Teaching Summary


Saffron lectures at UCL on research methods for the MSc in Global Prosperity and has contributed lectures to the BA Urban Inequalities and Global Development, and Anthropology of the Built Environment module.  She currently supervises PhD and MSc students working on prosperity and inequalities, and is interested in supervising anthropologists research policy imaginaries and material cultures of community. 

01-OCT-2020 Principal Research Fellow Institute for Global Prosperity UCL, United Kingdom
20-APR-2018 – 30-SEP-2020 Senior Research Fellow Institute for Global Prosperity UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2019   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2004   Master of Science London School of Economics and Political Science
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