Robert Richardson



Research title: Creating well-designed places in Scotland: What does it take

Research Summary

My PhD research focusses on the local implementation of national urban design policy, in a context where the quality of much of Scotland's new development fails to meet the aspirations of policy. I am researching the governance of urban design in West Dunbartonshire, and aim to understand how urban design is negotiated between actors within the development process.

West Dunbartonshire Council has adopted urban design as a strategic priority, and is using innovative policy and practice interventions to attempt to create better places, in a post-industrial area which has historically struggled to achieve high quality development. My research will therefore contribute to theoretical knowledge of urban design and planning governance, while also providing evidence to support planning and design practice to deliver better places in Scotland.

I am currently a Research Assistant on REPAIR, an ESRC-funded project studying the spatial processes of adaptation occurring within urban centres as they adjust to structural change within the retail sector.

 Research interests:

  • Urban design
  • Planning systems
  • Spatial governance
  • Public policy implementation


ESRC Collaborative Studentship with West Dunbartonshire Council (4 years)


  • Designing Places (URBAN5010)
  • Social and Public Policy 1B: Understanding Glasgow in a Globalised World (PUBPOL1011)
  • Spatial Planning Strategies (URBAN5046)

Additional Information

Previous education:

  • MRes, Urban Research, University of Glasgow
  • MSc, City Planning and Real Estate Development, University of Glasgow
  • MA, Geography, University of Cambridge (Robinson College)