Professor Peter Kraftl (BA Hons.), PhD, FRGS, FAcSS, FRSA

Professor Peter Kraftl

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Chair in Human Geography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Peter Kraftl is best known for his research on children’s geographies, focusing on children and young people’s experiences of and interactions with environmental processes – such as sustainable urban design, environmental resources and pollution. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture. He is currently national co-lead for the Children, Young People and Families Programme of the NIHR School for Public Health Research. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Royal Society of Arts.


BA (Hons.) Geography, University of Wales Swansea, 2001
PhD Geography, University of Wales Swansea, 2005


Professor Peter Kraftl completed his PhD in Geography at the University of Wales Swansea in 2005. His PhD focused on utopian practices at two ecological buildings, and spawned his longstanding interest in children’s geographies, education and architecture. Peter worked at the Centre for Children and Youth at the University of Northampton between 2004-2007. He moved to the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester in 2007. There, he progressed through Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader before becoming a Chair in Human Geography in January 2014. He took up a Chair in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham in September 2015. In 2020 he was conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and awarded the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Murchison Award for his longstanding work on geographies of childhood and education. In 2022 he was conferred as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, in recognition of his research about children, young people and urban design/planning.

Peter is the author of 10 books and over 100 journal articles and book chapters. His work is often placed centrally within a so-called ‘new wave’ of childhoods studies, as it focuses on questions of emotion, affect, materiality, memory and much more besides. At the intersection of these theoretical debates, he has developed a longstanding, substantive interest in children’s experiences of newly-built (and ‘sustainable’) urban spaces, in alternative education spaces and environmental education, and in the design and inhabitation of school buildings.

Peter currently co-leads the Voices of the Future project as part of the UKRI Future of UK Treescapes programme and is an Executive Member of the NIHR School for Public Health Research as well as the national co-lead for the Children, Young People and Families Programme in the School. He recently completed a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (called ‘Plastic Childhoods’), which examines these theoretical issues through the lens of contemporary concerns about plastics in the environment. Peter has also been collaborating with colleagues in Canada and Australia as part of an SSHRC-funded project on climate change pedagogies, and with colleagues in Brazil via Newton- and European Research Council-funded projects about young people and the food-water-energy nexus (details below).

Peter has led or co-led a number of funded projects on the above themes, including the following:

Transatlantic Platform (T-AP; ESRC/FAPESP/NRF), Co-I, “PANEX: Adaptations of young people in monetary-poor households for surviving and recovering from COVID-19 and associated lockdowns” (part of Recovery, Renewal and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World programme). Total award €485,000 (£405,000), duration March 2022-February 2024.

UKRI, Lead Co-I, “Voices of the Future: Collaborating with Children and Young People to Re-Imagine Treescapes” (part of UKRI Future of UK Treescapes programme). Total award £1.6 million, duration August 2021-July 2024. NE/V021370/1.

NIHR, Co-I and Executive Member, “School for Public Health Research” (core member of UoB-led PHRESH consortium, as part of the 2022-2027 SPHR, with 11 other UK Universities). Total award £30 million, duration April 2022-April 2027.

Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Principal Investigator, “Plastic Childhoods”. Awarded £51,389, duration September 2018-March 2020.

European Research Commission, Co-ordinator (PI), “Building resilience in the face of nexus threats: local knowledge and social practices of Brazilian youth”. Awarded Eur. 270,327 (£240,000), duration May 2019-May 2022.

Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Principal Investigator, “Plastic Childhoods”. Awarded £51,389, duration June 2018-December 2019. Awarded £51,000, duration September 2018-March 2020.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, UK PI, “Climate Action Network: Exploring Climate Change Pedagogies with Children”. Awarded Canadian $200,000 [£120,000], duration April 2017-March 2020.

ESRC-Newton-FAPESP, Principal Investigator, “(R)econnect the Nexus: Young Brazilians’ Experiences of and Learning about Food-Water-Energy”. Awarded £425,000, duration January 2016-September 2018. 

ESRC-CONFAP (Newton Fund, Collaboration/Networking Grant), Co-Investigator, “Sharing Futures: Sustainable Urban Transformations in Water and Energy". Awarded £90,886, duration January 2015-December 2016. 

ESRC, Co-investigator, “New Urbanisms, New Citizens: children and young people’s everyday life and participation in sustainable communities” (with researchers at Warwick University and The University of Northampton). Awarded £670,000, project duration June 2009-June 2012. Website:

AHRC/EPSRC, Co-investigator, “Realising participatory design with children and young people: A case study of design and refurbishment in schools” (with researchers at The University of Northampton, Coventry University and Keele University). Part of ‘Designing for the Twenty-First Century’ Programme. Awarded £330,000, project duration January 2007- April 2009.

Peter is currently Honorary Secretary of the Research and Higher Education Division of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He was an Editor of Area and Children’s Geographies journals. He was a founding member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and was the Research Group’s Chair from 2012-15. He has given invited talks around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada, and held visiting Professorships in those countries. He is fortunate enough to be a member of the incredible Common Worlds collective, whose global membership examines children’s lives as they are embedded with/in more-than-human relations.

Peter has worked with a range of international, national and local organisations, largely based on his work with children and young people in new or emerging urban places. He is currently advising national and local agencies involved in the delivery of large, master-planned housing developments in the UK about how best to include children and young people in their design processes.

Peter is a Coordinating Lead Author for UNESCO's International Science and Evidence Based Assessment of Education, as part of their Futures of Education Initiative (


I currently teach on the following modules:

  • Year 1 Research Methods and Design
  • Year 3 Geographies of Childhood and Education
  • Undergraduate dissertation supervisor

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise eleven PhD students, working on a variety of topics. I welcome applicants from prospective students on any of the following topics.

  • Children’s geographies - especially (but not exclusively) with conceptual interests in nonrepresentational, posthuman and new materialist theories.
  • Geographies of education – especially alternative education
  • Geographies of architecture (including sustainable urban design)
  • Utopia, hope, everyday ‘alternatives’


Peter is part of the Human Geography Research Group. His work falls into the following sub-themes:

  • Geographies of Childhood, Youth and Education
  • Adapting to Energy and Environmental Uncertainties
  • Embodied Geographies

Research interests

  • Children’s geographies (especially child-friendly cities and children & environmental change)
  • Geographies of education – especially alternative education
  • Geographies of architecture (including sustainable urban design)
  • Utopia, hope, everyday ‘alternatives’

Other activities

  • Honorary Secretary, Research and Higher Education Division, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Former Editor of Area journal and Children’s Geographies journals
  • Founding member and Chair (2012-15), Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Editorial Board member and Volume Editor, Springer Major Reference work on Geographies of Children and Young People
  • External Examiner, Coventry University BA Geography Degree, 2013-
  • External Examiner, University of Gloucestershire Playwork Degrees, 2012-
  • External Examiner, Cardiff University Geography Degree, 2016-
  • Editor, Spaces of Childhood and Youth book series (Routledge)
  • Member of ESRC Peer Review College, 2010-
  • Member of GCRF Peer Review College, 2018-
  • Visiting positions at Warwick, Otago, Linkoping, Western (Ontario) and RMIT Universities


Recent publications


Kraftl, P, Kelly, P, Padilla, D, Noonan, M, Ribeiro, A & MacDonald, D (eds) 2022, Young People and Stories for the Anthropocene. Rowman & Littlefield. <>

Kraftl, P, Kelly, P, Padilla, D, Nayak, A & Brown, S (eds) 2022, Young People and Thinking Technologies for the Anthropocene. Rowman & Littlefield. <>


Börner, S, Kraftl, P & Giatti, LL 2023, 'More than participatory? From ‘compensatory’ towards ‘expressive’ remote practices using digital technologies', Qualitative Research.

Singh, S, Pykett, J, Kraftl, P, Guisse, A, Hodgson, E, Humelnicu, UE, Keen, N, Kéïta, S, McNaney, N, Menzel, A, N’dri, K, N’goran, KJ, Oldknow, G, Tiéné, R & Weightman, W 2023, 'Understanding the ‘degree awarding gap’ in geography, planning, geology and environmental sciences in UK higher education through peer research', Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 227-247.

Kraftl, P, Hadfield-Hill, S, Jarman, P, Lynch, I, Menzel, A, Till, R & Walker, A 2022, 'Articulating encounters between children and plastics', Childhood, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 478-494.

Cortés-Morales, S, Holt, L, Acevedo-Rincón, J, Aitken, S, Ekman Ladru, D, Joelsson, T, Kraftl, P, Murray, L & Tebet, G 2022, 'Children living in pandemic times: a geographical, transnational and situated view', Children's Geographies, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 381-391.

Kraftl, P, Andrews, W, Beech, S, Ceresa, G, Holloway, S, Johnson, V & White, C 2022, 'Geographies of education: A journey', Area, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 15-23.

Zara, C, Coles, B, Hadfield-Hill, S, Horton, J & Kraftl, P 2022, 'Geographies of food beyond food: transfiguring nexus-thinking through encounters with young people in Brazil', Social and Cultural Geography, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 715-738.

Clifford, N, Viles, H, Eavis, A, Gardner, R, Rigg, J, Philo, C, Kraftl, P, Noxolo, P, Mawdsley, E & Laurie, N 2022, 'Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Medals and Awards celebration 2020 and 2021', Geographical Journal, vol. 188, no. 1, pp. 132-148.

Börner, S, Kraftl, P & Giatti, LL 2021, 'Blurring the ‘-ism’ in youth climate crisis activism: everyday agency and practices of marginalized youth in the Brazilian urban periphery', Children's Geographies, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 275-283.

Andres, L & Kraftl, P 2021, 'New directions in the theorisation of temporary urbanisms: Adaptability, activation and trajectory', Progress in Human Geography, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 1237-1253.


Kraftl, P 2022, (Re)Conceptualising Unfamiliar Landscapes. in TA Smith, H Pitt & RA Dunkley (eds), Unfamiliar Landscapes: Young People and Diverse Outdoor Experiences. 1 edn, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 539-549.

Kraftl, P 2022, Geographies of education spaces: Architecture, materialities, power, and identity. in L Hammond, M Biddulph, S Catling & JH McKendrick (eds), Children, Education and Geography: Rethinking Intersections. 1st edn, Routledge, pp. 36-48.

Kraftl, P 2022, Speculating with childhoods, plastics and other stuff. in N Williams & T Keating (eds), Speculative Geographies: Ethics, Technologies, Aesthetics. 1 edn, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 187-202.

Commissioned report

Acton, J, Anderson, P, Andres, L, Angus, M, Amor, P, Arrowsmith, J (ed.), Asmelash, H, Bartington, S (ed.), Bengtsson, F, Bhullar, L, Bloss, W, Bonet, B, Börner, S, O Bonsu, N, Bryson, JR, Burns, V, Burrows, A, Calvert, C, Cassidy, N, Cavoski, A, Chadyiwa, M, Chapman, H, Chapman, L, Cockram, M, Degendardt, L, Dickinson, D, Ding, Y, Dobrzynski, D, Dolo, M, Dora, J, Ercolani, M, Ersoy, A, Farag, H, Ferranti, E, Fisher, R, Freer, M, Goldmann, N, Goode, CE, Greenham, S, Gulati, S, Hadfield-Hill, S, Harper, G, Hegerl, G, Hillmansen, S, Holmes, J, Huang, JJ, Huser, C, Jackson, R, Jaroszweski, D, Jefferson, I, Johnson, J, Kaewunruen, S, Kelly-Akinnuoye, F, Kettles, G, Kraftl, P, Krause, S, Leckebusch, GC, Lee, R, Lockwood, B (ed.), Lohse, J, Luna Diez, E, Lynch, I (ed.), MacKenzie, R, Maddison, D, Makepeace, J, Mann, V, Marino, R, Mavronicola, N, McDonald, M, McGowan, K (ed.), Metje, N, Ng, K, Nicol, J, O'Sullivan, C, Phalkey, N, Prestwood, E, Pyatt, N, Quinn, A, Radcliffe, J (ed.), Ravi, M, Reardon, L, Reeder, T, O’Regan, P, Remedios, L, Roberts, J, Rogers, C, Rungskunroch, P, van Schaik, W, Swan, J (ed.), Thomson, I, Toft, H (ed.), Tong, J, Botello Villagrana, F, Walton, A, Wason, C (ed.), Weir, C, Wood, R & Zhong, J 2021, Addressing the climate challenge. University of Birmingham.

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