Looking down from the clouds? Comparative equalities of luxury highrise housing in the future city

Project Summary

Luxury highrise buildings are reshaping the physical form of the urban areas and reshaping the social, economic and cultural experience of cities. In many cities across the world, housing can be purchased or rented in buildings that offer high levels of personal security and exclusive access to a range of luxurious shared amenities. In the context of increasing urban inequality, especially related to land and property and the pressures of gentrification, this project will raise critical questions about the sustainability of this housing typology in the future city. Adopting a comparative approach, it will examine the lived experience of luxury high rise housing in two distinct contexts, London (a world city of the Global North) and Bangalore (a megacity in the Global South). Walking interviews will be conducted with the residents of luxury highrise buildings and with those who live in neighbourhoods impacts by highrise development. The aim will be to identify the social, economic and cultural impacts of luxury highrise development and to analyse the extent to which the experience of this development and its equity differs in the Global North and the Global South.

Project Team and where the student will be based

The project will be hosted by the School of Social and Political Sciences (University of Glasgow) and the School of GeoSciences (University of Edinburgh). It will be co-supervised by Dr James White (Senior Lecturer in Urban Design, Glasgow) and Dr Sukanya Krishnamurthy (Chancellor’s Fellow, Edinburgh). The student will join a vibrant research environment at both the universities and will benefit from an excellent peer-supported network at both the universities.

The student will be based at Urban Studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow and travel to the University of Edinburgh twice a month to take part in research and training activities. The aim is that the student becomes a member of both research institutions during the duration of their studies.


  • Academic qualifications – Minimum Entry Requirements – an Honours degree at 2:1 or above in a social science or humanities subject (or international equivalent) and preferably an MSc degree in a relevant urban studies, planning, geography, sociology or architecture discipline.
  • Experience – Work experience in the field of housing, planning and design is welcome but not preferred. A passion for and interest in cities, people and buildings is crucial. Experience working in the Global South is preferred.
  • Skills/Attributes – Skills in qualitative research methods and data analysis.


Enquiries about this project should be directed to Dr James Whitejamest.white@glasgow.ac.uk.