Professor Peter W Daniels PhD

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Emeritus Professor of Geography

Contact details

0121 414 5528
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Daniels is an economic geographer with an international reputation for research, initially on the development and location of office activities in cities, and later on the rise of the service economy and its impact on cities and regions, as well as its role in globalization and the internationalization of service firms. He is a member of the Services and Enterprise Research Unit.


  • BSc (University of London)
  • PhD (University of London)


Peter Daniels was born in Llanelli, Wales. He was educated at Llanelli Boys Grammar Technical School and University College London. He is Emeritus Professor of Geography, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences; he was previously Deputy Dean, Science (2000-2002); Deputy Dean (2002-2005), Dean of Physical Science and Engineering (2005-2008), and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Staffing) (2008-2011). Following a period at the University of Liverpool (1970-88), he was Professor of Geography and Head of Department, University of Portsmouth (1988-92), and Head of School of Geography, University of Birmingham (1993-98). He is a past-President of the European Research Network of Services and Space (RESER), was Human Geography Assessor for the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Programme (1992-1998), a member of the RAE Geography Panel (1992), and Honorary Secretary of the Institute of British Geographers (1991-1994). He was American Council of Learned Societies Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle (1980) and has held other visiting positions at the University of California Los Angeles (1982), University of New South Wales (Australian Studies Centre Research Fellow) (1984), Macquarie University (1993), Monash University (1998), and Bocconi University, Milan (2000). In 2009 he was awarded the RESER Medal in recognition of ‘lifetime achievement and contribution to the field of economic geography of services’.

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Daniels currently supervises one postgraduate student working on "Graduate students and the competitiveness of business and professional services in the West Midlands Region".

Potential students can contact Professor Daniels directly for details of available postgraduate research opportunities.


Stand-alone projects

Producer Services and Urban Development in China

Contribution to a four-year (2011-2015) EU-China Collaborative Project (URBACHINA) exploring aspects of sustainable urbanization in China up to 2050, including a study of the impact of a shift to producer services on the economy of cities. The sub-project will examine the distribution, and likely future growth trajectories, of intermediate (or producer) services in all cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. Secondary data on employment (and establishments) will be used to model the comparative shares of producer services in cities in relation to population, measures of manufacturing structure, location, inward investment by sector, size of the public sector, and governance status. Four cities (Shanghai, Huangshan, Chongqing, Kunming) will be the focus for more detailed analyses of: 1) the spatial distribution and functional characteristics of producer services in each city, 2) the production of producer services by firm size and type (including production within manufacturing enterprises), 3) the consumption of city-based producer services, including profiles of clients (sector, firm size, location, type of expertise used etc.), and 4) the negative positive and negative influences (city governance, zoning controls, economic development policies, skills and training environment, fiscal policies, quality of life measures etc.) on the performance of producer services. The findings will be benchmarked against evidence from cities of similar size in the EU along with a consideration of the functional, economic, social and local governance policies that will enhance the performance of producer services and deepen their integration into urbanization and city development in China.

Role of the Services Sector in Urban and Regional Economic Restructuring in China

The accession of China to the WTO in 2001 has consolidated recognition by national policy makers that services haves a key part to play in the transition from a centrally-planned to a market economy. A rapidly changing domestic market, industrial restructuring, and greater integration with international markets are just some of the drivers of demand for services. This research focuses on advanced (producer) services as sources of the knowledge and expertise that will support industry sectors across the Chinese economy, enhancing their comparative and competitive advantages, as well being an integral part of strategic planning for metropolitan and regional economic development. The initial stages of this research have been undertaken in collaboration with Dr Ying Qui (Hofstra University, New York). The research is ongoing.

Producer Services and Economic Development in the Asia-Pacific

A network of researchers based in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, the US, Japan and the UK is continuing collaboration that started in 1997. Some of the research by members of the network is reported in Daniels et al (2005). A further publication (Daniels et al, 2011) that examines the relationship between the new cultural economy and the form and structure of cities in the Asia-Pacific is in press.

Second City and Regional Economy Research: An ongoing, long term research programme involving staff and research students sponsored by local agencies and the research councils, including the following:

Evaluation of the Impact of Specialist Business and Professional Services on Regional Economic Development (with J R Bryson)

A cross-sectional analysis of the business and professional services cluster in Birmingham and the West Midlands has highlighted a requirement to regularly monitor and evaluate its contribution to employment change, knowledge exchange and engagement with markets within the UK and overseas. 

The Skills Needs of Business and Professional Services in the West Midlands: A Sub-Regional and Sub-Sectoral Analysis (with J R Bryson)

This research was initially co-financed by the European Social Fund and commissioned and managed by the Learning and Skills Council (Birmingham and Solihull). The research, completed in 2006, focused on BPS firms located within Objective 2 areas within the West Midlands region. An earlier study of professional services in the region highlighted demand-led labour force issues as one of the key concerns amongst employers; shortages of skilled staff, shortages of graduate recruits, high cost of staff, and poor educational attainment and qualifications were especially significant. The findings will facilitate the development and implementation of skills-based policies.

Other activities

Professor Daniels is currently a member of the Board of Directors, The Merlin Venture Ltd, Castle Vale, Birmingham (A not-for-profit social enterprise).


Daniels, P. W. (2013) Reconfiguring the global service economy? The case of the BRICs, in Cuadrado-Roura, J. R. (ed.) Service Industries and Regions. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 135-155. DOI10.1007/978-3-642-35801-2

Gipouloux, F., Du, D., NI, P., Daniels, P. W., LI, S., Huang L., Goulard, S., AI, C. (eds.) (2013) Institutional Foundations and Policies for Urbanisation. UrbaChina Project Report no. D2.1, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Huadong Shifan Daxue (East China Normal University)( HUADA), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of Finance and Trade Economics, Beijing (CASS), University of Birmingham/Services and Enterprises Research Unit (SERU), Development Research Centre of the State Council of China (DRC). Paris: CNRS.  

Daniels, P. W. (2013) Geography of services industries, Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. Warf, B (Editor-in-Chief), New York: Oxford University Press,, (in press, Autumn).

Bryson, J R and Daniels, P W (2013) The Handbook of Service Business: Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalization. Cheltenham: Elgar (in progress).

Daniels, P. W., Bradshaw, M. J., Shaw, D. J. B., and Sidaway, J. D. (2012) (eds.) An Introduction to Human Geography. Harlow: Pearson, 4th Edition.

Daniels, P. W. (2012) Changing landscapes of services and restructuring in Asian cities, inDaniels, P. W., Ho, K. C. and Hutton, T. A. (eds.) (2012) New Economic Spaces in Asian Cities: From Industrial Restructuring to the Cultural Turn. London: Routledge, 17-30. ISBN-10:0-415-56773-4.

Daniels, P. W., Ho, K. C. and Hutton, T. A. (2012) Contextualising the transition from industrial restructuring to the cultural turn in Asian cities, ibid, 1-15.

Daniels, P. W. (2012) The transition to producer services in China: opportunities and obstacles, in Yeh, A. G. O. and Yang, F. (eds) Producer Services in China: Economic and Urban Development. London: Routledge, 29-51. ISBN: 978-0-415-51677-8.

Daniels, P. W. (2012) Service industries at a crossroads: some fragile assumptions and future challenges, The Service Industries Journal, 32(3-4), 619-639. DOI: 10.1080/02642069.2011.596536

Daniels, P W, Ho, K C and Hutton, T A (eds.) (2012) New Economic Spaces in Asian Cities: From Industrial Restructuring to the Cultural Turn. London: Routledge (in press).

Daniels, P W (2012) Service industries at a crossroads: some fragile assumptions and future challenges, The Service Industries Journal, 32(3-4), 619-639.

Daniels, P W (2011) Sustaining the creative city: The role of business and professional services, in Girard, F, Baycan, T and Nijkamp, P (eds.) Sustainable Cities and Creativity: Promoting Creative Urban Initiatives, Aldershot: Ashgate, 145-162.

Daniels, P W (2011) The global economic crisis: opportunities for major cities in East and Southeast Asia? In Gipouloux, F (ed.) Gateways to Globalization: International Trading and Finance Centres in East Asia. Cheltenham: Elgar, 159-176.

Daniels, P W, Rubalcaba, L, Stare, M and Bryson, J R (2011) How many Europes? Varieties of transformation of the European services landscape, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 10(2), 146-61.

Bryson, J R and Daniels, P W (2010) Service worlds: The ‘services duality’ and the rise of the ‘manuservice’ economy, in Spohrer, J, Maglio, P and Kieliszewski, C (eds.) The Handbook of Services Science, New York: Springer, 79-106.

Daniels, P W (2009) Service innovation in a globalized economy, in Gallouj, F (ed.) Handbook of Services Innovation. Cheltenham: Elgar, 452-469.

Bryson, J R, Taylor, M and Daniels, P W (2008) Commercializing 'creative' expertise: business and professional services and regional economic development in the West Midlands, UK, Politics and Policy, 36(2), 306-328

Bryson, J R and Daniels, P W (2008) Skills, Expertise and Innovation in the Developing Knowledge Economy: the case of business and professional services, International Journal of Services Technology and Management (Special Issue on ‘Innovation in Services’), 9(3/4), 234-248

Bryson, J R and Daniels, P W (2007) Business and professional services in the Birmingham city-region: shifting the horizon beyond global cities, in L Rubalcaba, H Kox (eds.) Business Services in European Economic Growth. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 251-262.

Bryson, J R and Daniels, P W (eds.) (2007) The Handbook of Service Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Daniels, P W and Harrington, J W (eds.) (2007) Services and Economic Development in the Asia-Pacific. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Daniels, P W, Leyshon, A, Bradshaw, M J and Beaverstock, J V (eds.) (2006) Geographies of the New Economy: Critical Reflections. London: Routledge.

Harrington, J W and Daniels, P W (eds.) (2006) Knowledge-Based Services, Internationalisation and Regional Development. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Daniels, P W (2006) On services and economic geography, in H Lawton-Smith and S Bagchi-Sen (eds.) Economic Geography: Past, Present and Future. New York: Routledge, 112-124.

Daniels, P W, Ho, K C and Hutton, T A (eds.) (2005) Services Industries and Asia-Pacific Cities: New Development Trajectories. London: Routledge

Daniels, P W and Bryson, J R (2005) Sustaining business and professional services in a second city region: the case of Birmingham, UK, The Service Industries Journal (Special Issue on Services and Regions), 25(4), 505-524.

Bryson, J R, Daniels, P W and Warf B (2004) Service Worlds: People, Organisations, Technologies. London: Routledge.

Daniels, P W (2004) Reflection on the ‘old’ economy, ‘new’ economy, and services, Growth and Change, 35(2), 115-137.

Daniels, P W (2004) Urban challenges: the formal and informal economies in mega-cities, Cities, 21(6), 501-511.

Daniels, P W (2002) EU services trade, with particular reference to business and professional services, in Cuadrado;Roura, J R, Rubalcaba-Bermejo, L, and Bryson, J R (eds) Trading Services in the Global Economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 111-133.

Daniels, P W and Bryson, J R (2002) Manufacturing services or servicing manufacturing?: new forms of production in advanced capitalist economies, Urban Studies, 39, 977-991.

Daniels, P W (2001) Globalisation, producer services and the city: is Asia a special case? in Stern, R M (ed) Services in the International Economy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 213-230.

O’Connor, K and Daniels, P W (2001) The geography of international trade in services: Australia and the APEC region, Environment and Planning A, 33, 281-296.