Professor Richard Ronald

Professor Richard Ronald

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Professor of Housing and Social Change

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Richard joined the University of Birmingham in 2013 and contributes to teaching in Social Policy (particularly in the area of comparative policy and research) as well as to research activities in the Centre for Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) and Housing and Communities Research. He also studied and worked in the Netherlands, Japan and the USA, and continues to hold a post at the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Richard's main area of interest is housing systems and their relation to social and urban change in different national and regional contexts. A particular concern at the moment is how housing markets have impacted household formation and strategies (before and after the crisis), and how this is reshaping (and is being shaped by) policy shifts and welfare state restructuring.


  • PhD Housing and Urban Studies
  • MA Critical Theory  


Richard originally graduated from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University in the UK where he studied for a Masters in Critical Theory and PhD in Housing and Urban Studies. From there he went to Japan to continue his research on housing and social change in East Asia. He was based at Kobe University from 2002 on a Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2006 Richard returned to Europe to join the OTB Institute at Delft University of Technology where he became part of the Housing Systems and Governance research group. From there he went to the University of Amsterdam to join the Centre for Urban Studies where he still manages a research team investigating relationships between housing markets, family property wealth and welfare state transformations (  funded by the European Research Council. He now splits his time between the Netherlands and the UK


  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Comparative Social Policy 
  • PG International Social Policy
  • Social Research Methods


Richard's research interests have circulated around the impact of housing and housing systems. This is a diverse and multi-disciplinary field and he has found himself at one time or another working in geography, demography, urban studies, planning, architecture, anthropology, gender and cultural studies. He now finds himself at home in social policy and urban studies, which are subject areas that allow for considerable conceptual and methodological diversity. Housing as an empirical focus has enjoyed growing attention in recent years, particularly in light of its growing centrality in the globalisation of financial networks in the 1990s and 2000s and its subsequent impact on social and economic destabilisation since the Credit Crisis and beyond. Housing now lies at the heart of debates, not just on the built environment, but also on macro-economic stability, social justice and inequality, and intergenerational divides. His research seeks to get to the heart of these issues and the many ways that housing is embedded in the social transformations that appear to dominate the current epoch.

Recent Projects

With his colleagues in Amsterdam, he has recently completed a report for the Dutch government on the position of starters on the Amsterdam housing market (Duurzame toegankelijkheid van de Amsterdamse woningmarkt voor starters)

Richard is also running a large, five-year project funded by the EU, looking at housing markets and family property wealth and their relationship to welfare state transformations and regime shifts

Other activities

  • Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Housing Policy
  • Co-editor of Palgrave Macmillan’s book series ‘The Contemporary City’
  • International Advisory Board, Housing Studies
  • Convenor, European Association for Japan Studies, Section One, Urban, Regional and Environmental Studies
  • Conference Chair, International Sociological Association, Research Committee 43, Housing and the Built Environment, 2013, University of Amsterdam


Books (selection)

Doling, J. and Ronald, R. (Eds) (2014 forthcoming) Housing in East Asia: Socioeconomic and Demographic Challenges, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

R. Ronald & M. Elsinga (Eds.) (2012) Beyond Home Ownership: Housing, Welfare and Society. London and New York: Routledge.

R. Ronald & A. Alexy (Eds.) (2011). Home and family in Japan: Continuity and Transformation, London: Routledge.

Ronald, R. (2008) The Ideology of Home Ownership: Homeowner Societies and the Role of Housing, Basingstoke and New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapters (Selection)

Ronald, R. (2013) Housing policy in East Asia, in: M. Izuhara (Ed.) Handbook on East Asian Social Policy, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

Ronald, R. and Dol, C. (2011) Housing in the Netherlands before and after the global financial crisis, in R. Forrest (Eds.) Housing Markets & the Global Financial Crisis, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

Ronald, R. and Hinokidani, M. (2011) Moving beyond the standard family model: the emerging housing situations of women in Japan, in P. Kennett and K-W Chan (Eds.) Women and Housing: an International Analysis, London, Routledge.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles (selection)

Ronald, R. and L. Nakano (2013) Single women and housing choices in urban Japan, Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 20(4) pp. 451-479.

Ronald, R. & H. Lee (2012). Housing policy socialization and de-commodification in South Korea. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 27(2), 111-131.

Ronald, R. & J. Doling (2012). Testing Home Ownership as the Cornerstone of Welfare: Lessons from East Asia for the West. Housing Studies, 27(7), 940-961.

Doling, J. & R. Ronald (2012). Meeting the income needs of older people in East Asia: using housing equity. Ageing & Society, 32(3), 471-490.

Ronald, R. (2011). Ethnography and Comparative Housing Research. International Journal of Housing Policy, 11(4), 417-439.