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Personal profile

Research interests

Human settlements in the rapidly urbanising world, mainly looking at planning and housing (with a particular focus on Latin America), community empowerment, participatory processes and user involvement in the production of the built environment Urban place-making and place-keeping, including waterfront (re)development, partnership approaches to the design and long-term maintenance of open space, and the impact of globalisation on historic centres Architectural design, with a focus on the interrelationship between process and product.


Trained as an Architect at the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (1990), Spain, where I worked in private practice. MSc in Urban & Regional Planning (Developing Countries) in 1996 (Dissertation was on Curitiba, Brazil), followed by a PhD in Planning and Housing focused on low-income housing in Costa Rica in 2000, both at Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University. Worked in the private sector as an architect and planner in Edinburgh between 1996 and 2000. Central Development Officer at Community Self-Build Scotland, Glasgow, 2000/01. Researcher at the School of Planning & Housing, Edinburgh College of Art (1999/2000 and 2001/02), and then at the School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University (2002/04), working on a range of projects including participatory planning in the UK, Europe and Latin America; access to land for housing in peri-urban areas in Africa; and housing needs of minority ethnic communities, diversity, green belts and permitted development in the UK. Since 2004, Lecturer at the School of the Built Environment, becoming Senior Lecturer in 2010. In this period my research interests broadened from institutional and governance issues in planning and housing to physical design, including: rental housing in Africa; waterfront redevelopment and urban place-making and place-making in Europe and worldwide; the impact of globalisation on historic centres in Latin America and Europe; housing and school building design; and architectural research in academia and practice. From 2006 to 2010 I was co-coordinator of the Network-Association of European Researchers on Urbanisation in the South (N-AERUS), contributing to the organisation of annual conferences in London, Edinburgh, Rotterdam and Brussels. Since 2007, Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Since 2010, Director of the Centre for Environment & Human Settlements, at the School of the Built Environment.

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  • 1 Similar Profiles
housing Social Sciences
Angola Social Sciences
Costa Rica Social Sciences
planning Social Sciences
governance Social Sciences
urban planning Earth & Environmental Sciences
stakeholder Social Sciences
experience Social Sciences

Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1998 2019

Resistance as resilience: A comparative analysis of state-community conflicts around self-built housing in Spain, Senegal and Argentina

Álvarez de Andrés, E., Cabrera, C. & Smith, H., Apr 2019, In : Habitat International. 86, p. 116-125 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Towards complex and integrated urban design in pre-crisis Spain: the case of the Padre Querbes urban project in Huesca

Lacilla Larrode, E., Smith, H. & Ordeig Corsini, J. M., 6 Feb 2019, In : Journal of Urban Design. 24, 5, p. 794-811 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

financial crisis

City profile: Medellin

Garcia Ferrari, S., Smith, H., Coupe, F. & Rivera, H., Apr 2018, In : Cities. 74, p. 354-364 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
public space
city center
Latin America

Contemporary tendencies in Colombian urban planning: the case of the ‘Planes Parciales’ in Medellín

Garcia Ferrari, S., Smith, H. & Calderon, E., 24 Jul 2018, In : International Planning Studies.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

urban planning
housing project
urban renewal
public space

Interrogating informality: Conceptualisations, practices and policies in the light of the New Urban Agenda

Alfaro d’Alençon, P., Smith, H., Álvarez de Andrés, E., Cabrera, C., Fokdal, J., Lombard, M., Mazzolini, A., Michelutti, E., Moretto, L. & Spire, A., May 2018, In : Habitat International. 75, p. 59-66

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle