Dr Austin Barber

Austin Barber

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Urban Development and Planning

Contact details

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

Austin is an experienced teacher, researcher and writer who brings a passion for cities and urban life to all aspects of his professional work. He has played a leading role in development of planning education at the University of Birmingham and has established a research profile in the planning and regeneration of city centres and inner cities in Britain, Europe and North America.


Austin is a committed and passionate teacher who has played a leading role in the development of planning education at the University of Birmingham. He is a founder and director of the MSc Urban and Regional Planning programme, fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute. He is heavily involved in the programme’s management, recruitment and professional links. In addition he is co-ordinator of several modules at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels:

  • Urban Property Development
  • Integrated Planning Project
  • Contemporary Issues in Urban Development and Planning
  • Society, Space and Policy/ Economy, Space and Policy

Austin is especially keen on stimulating students’ enthusiasm for urban place-making through projects, site visits, and fieldwork around the city of Birmingham, working in conjunction with practitioners from the public and private sectors.

Postgraduate supervision

Austin Barber's research focuses on the planning and regeneration of city centre and inner city districts in major cities. Particular strands of interest include:

the rise of “city living” and new housing development in central urban areas
socio-economic sustainability in the development of new inner city neighbourhoods
innovative planning and development approaches in urban districts
comparative study of these themes across European and North American cities

Dr Barber welcomes expressions of interest in undertaking doctoral research linked to his main areas of research.

Other activities

Since 2006 Austin has served as a director of the Moseley Community Development Trust in South Birmingham. In this role he is responsible for planning and regeneration activities and acts as chair of the Moseley Regeneration Group, which comprises numerous local stakeholder organisations. The group is working with Birmingham City Council to develop a new official plan for the neighbourhood, the first time a community organisation has led such a process in the city.


Recent publications


Boyko, CT, Gaterell, M, Barber, A, Brown, J, Bryson, J, Butler, D, Caputo, S, Caserio, M, Coles, R, Cooper, R, Davies, G, Farmani, R, Hale, J, Hales, A, Hewitt, CN, Hunt, D, Jankovic, L, Jefferson, I, Leach, J, Lombardi, D, Mackenzie, A, Memon, FA, Pugh, TAM, Sadler, J, Weingaertner-Kohlscheen, C, Whyatt, JD & Rogers, C 2012, 'Benchmarking sustainability in cities: The role of indicators and future scenarios', Global Environmental Change, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 245-254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.10.004

Lombardi, D & Barber, A 2012, 'Elucidating sustainability sequencing: tensions and tradeoffs in development decision-making', Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design.

Rogers, C, Bouch, C, Williams, S, Barber, A, Baker, C, Bryson, J, Chapman, D, Chapman, L, Coaffee, J, Jefferson, I & Quinn, A 2012, 'Resistance and resilience - paradigms for critical local infrastructure', Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Municipal Engineer, vol. 165, no. 2, pp. 73-84. https://doi.org/10.1680/muen.11.00030

Hunt, DVL, Lombardi, DR, Atkinson, S, Barber, ARG, Barnes, M, Boyko, CT, Brown, J, Bryson, J, Butler, D, Caputo, S, Caserio, M, Coles, R, Cooper, RFD, Farmani, R, Gaterell, M, Hale, J, Hales, C, Hewitt, CN, Jankovic, L, Jefferson, I, Leach, J, MacKenzie, AR, Memon, FA, Sadler, JP, Weingaertner, C, Whyatt, JD & Rogers, CDF 2012, 'Scenario archetypes: converging rather than diverging themes', Sustainability, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 740-772. https://doi.org/10.3390/su4040740

Brown, J & Barber, A 2012, 'Social infrastructure and sustainable urban communities', Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Engineering Sustainability, vol. 165, no. 1, pp. 99-109. https://doi.org/10.1680/ensu.2012.165.1.99

Brown, J & Barber, A 2012, 'Social infrastructure and sustainable urban communities: planning challenges and opportunities', Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Engineering Sustainability.

Lombardi, D, Porter, EJ, Rogers, C & Barber, A 2011, 'Conceptualising Sustainability in UK urban Regeneration: a discursive formation', Urban Studies, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 273-296. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098009360690

Lombardi, D, Caserio, M, Donovan, R, Hale, J, Hunt, D, Weingaertner-Kohlscheen, C, Barber, A, Bryson, J, Coles, R, Gaterell, M, Jankovic, L, Jefferson, I, Sadler, J & Rogers, C 2011, 'Elucidating sustainability sequencing, tensions, and trade-offs in development decision making', Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 1105-1121. https://doi.org/10.1068/b36161

Barber, A & Pareja Eastaway, M 2010, 'Leadership challenges in the inner city: planning for sustainable regeneration in Birmingham and Barcelona', Policy Studies, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 393-411. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442871003723309

Weingaertner-Kohlscheen, C & Barber, A 2010, 'Urban Regeneration and Socio-economic Sustainability: A Role for Established Small Food Outlets', European Planning Studies, vol. 18, no. 10, pp. 1653-1674. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2010.504348


Lawton, P, Meczyński, M & Barber, A 2013, Policies towards Place Attraction and Policies for Place Retention. in Place-making and Policies for Competitive Cities. Wiley Interscience/John Wiley and Sons, pp. 105-125. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118554579.ch8

Barber, A, Pareja-Eastaway, M & Collinge, C 2011, Leadership Challenges in the Inner City: Planning for Sustainable Regeneration in Birmingham and Barcelona. in Leadership and Place.

Crossa, V, Barber, A, Pareja-Eastaway, M, Musterd, S & Murie, A 2010, Re-inventing the city: Barcelona, Birmingham and Dublin. in Making Competitive Cities.

Commissioned report

Brown, J, Lutz, R, Gibney, J, Barber, A, Chapain, C & Murie, A 2010, Policies and strategies for the creative knowledge economy in Birmingham and the West Midlands: How to enhance the city's competitiveness. vol. 10.3, Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR).

Brown, J, Barber, A, Chapain, C, Gibney, J, Murie, A & Lutz, R 2009, Attracting talent? Birmingham and the West Midlands Region as a destination for the highly skilled. The view of trans-national migrants. vol. 7.3, AMIDST. <http://acre.socsci.uva.nl/results/documents/7.3birmingham_FINAL.pdf>

View all publications in research portal