Professor Phil Jones MA PhD

Dr Phil Jones

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor in Cultural Geography

Contact details

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

Phil Jones - Research in 60 seconds videoDr Phil Jones is a cultural geographer who focuses on issues related to the city.  His work deals with a number of research areas including urban regeneration, cycling and the arts.  He has a particular interest in research methods, including qualitative GIS, mobile interviewing and arts-based approaches.


  • PhD University of Birmingham, 2003
  • MA University of Leicester, 1999
  • MA University of St Andrews, 1998


Phil grew up on the Wirral before moving to St Andrews in 1994 to undertake an MA in Modern History.  An MA in Urban History from the University of Leicester followed in 1999.  He started his PhD in Geography at Birmingham in 2000 and has lived in the city ever since.  He has worked for the University of Birmingham since 2003 and has served in a number of different roles including leader for the Human Geography Research Theme and REF lead for Unit of Assessment 14.  He is now the GEES Head of Education and Research Development.


BA / BSc Geography

Dr Jones teaches around cities, culture, embodiment and architecture. He gets consistently high feedback scores from student evaluations and has a commitment to excellence and innovation in the delivery of teaching. 

Postgraduate supervision

Phil runs a 'Playful Methods' Lab bringing together the activity of his PhD students, visiting fellows and postdoctoral researchers. He is keen to supervise students with an interest in qualitative methods exploring topics such as: embodiment (particularly around walking and cycling); urban development and regeneration; cultural and arts activity.

Professor Jones welcomes formal and informal enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in his areas of interest.


Phil is a cultural geographer whose work focuses on developing novel qualitative methods.  He runs the Playful Methods Lab and has developed techniques drawing upon virtual and augmented reality, videogames, qualitative GIS, wearables, biosensing, eyetracking, touchtables, smartphone apps, video and action research.  Much of his work is empirically embedded within cities and covers topics around embodiment (especially walking and cycling), art, creativity and urban regeneration. 


Recent publications


Osborne, T & Jones, P (eds) 2023, A research agenda for digital geographies. Elgar Research Agendas, Edward Elgar. <>

Jones, P & Osborne, T 2022, Virtual reality methods: a guide for researchers in the social sciences and humanities. Policy Press, Bristol. <>


Rzeszewski , M, Osborne, T, Jones, P, Evans, L & Weitkamp, G 2024, 'Interviewing in the metaverse: the renewed importance of location and embodiment', Applied Geography, vol. 167, 103295.

Andres, L, Denoon-Stevens, S & Jones, P 2024, 'Planners, blended (in)formality and a public interest of fragments', Planning, Practice and Research, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 207-222.

Moran, D, Jordaan, J & Jones, P 2024, 'Toxic prisons? Local environmental quality and the wellbeing of incarcerated populations', Land, vol. 13, no. 2, 223.

Moran, D, Jordaan, J & Jones, P 2023, 'Green space in prison improves wellbeing irrespective of prison/er characteristics, with particularly beneficial effects for younger and unsentenced prisoners, and in overcrowded prisons', European Journal of Criminology.

Osborne, T & Jones, P 2022, 'Embodied virtual geographies: linkages between bodies, spaces, and digital environments', Geography Compass, vol. 16, no. 6, e12648.

Moran, D, Jones, P, Jordaan, JA & Porter, A 2022, 'Nature contact in the carceral workplace: greenspace and staff sickness absence in prisons in England and Wales', Environment and Behavior, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 276-299.

Jones, P, Andres, L, Denoon-Stevens, SP & Melgaco Silva Marques, L 2022, 'Planning out abjection? The role of the planning profession in post-apartheid South Africa', Planning Theory, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 35-55.

Denoon-Stevens, S, Andres, L, Jones, P, Melgaco Silva Marques, L, Massey, R & Nel, V 2022, 'Theory versus practice in planning education: the view from South Africa', Planning, Practice and Research, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 509-525.

Denoon-Stevens, SP, Andres, L, Nel, V & Jones, P 2022, 'Unpacking planners' views of the success and failure of planning in post-apartheid South Africa', Cities, vol. 130, 103867.

Moran, D, Jones, P, Jordaan, JA & Porter, A 2021, 'Does nature contact in prison improve wellbeing? Mapping land cover to identify the effect of greenspace on self-harm and violence in prisons in England and Wales', Annals of the American Association of Geographers, vol. 111, no. 6, pp. 1779-1795.

Moran, D, Jones, P, Jordaan, JA & Porter, A 2021, 'Does prison location matter for prisoner wellbeing? The effect of location within greenspace on self-harm and violence in prisons in England and Wales', Wellbeing, Space and Society, vol. 3, 100065.


Moran, D, Jones, P, Jordaan, J & Porter, A 2022, Does nature contact in prison improve wellbeing? Greenspace, self-harm, violence and staff sickness absence in prisons in England and Wales. in D Moran, Y Jewkes, K-L Blount-Hill & V St John (eds), The Palgrave handbook of prison design. 1 edn, Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 657-678.

Jones, P & Osborne, T 2021, Gaming and VR in geographical research. in N von Benzon, M Holton, C Wilkinson & S Wilkinson (eds), Creative methods for human geographers. 1 edn, SAGE Publications, London, pp. 285-296. <>

View all publications in research portal


Urban regeneration in the UK; art as a research method; innovative mapping techniques; high-rise social housing in the UK; impact of historical development on the built form of contemporary cities; virtual reality; greenspace and stress