Rebecca Cox

Research title

Measuring the Social Life of the City

Research summary

Research indicates that attractive places which are easily navigated by pedestrians, and where buildings and public spaces sit together harmoniously, support economic development, foster social interaction, and improve people’s health and well-being.

Many cities around the world are currently transforming car-dominated streets into pedestrian and cycle friendly spaces. The Avenues Project in the Scottish city of Glasgow is one such ambitious scheme; a £115 million investment to make “the city more attractive, ‘people-friendly’, and economically competitive” through major improvements to infrastructure, such as increased space for people walking and cycling.

Robust evaluation and measurement of the impacts of these types of public realm interventions have been limited due to a lack of available data and methods. This PhD will thus develop an evidence base that identifies whether such investments enhance the social life of the city utilising a mix of quantitative (big data) and qualitative methods to gain insight into people’s perceptions and actions.

 Research Interests:

  • Transport as urban design
  • Methods for collecting meaningful data for walking
  • Factors affecting the success of public realm-led regeneration

Grants

University of Glasgow College of Social Sciences Scholarship (3 years)


Additional information

Professional urbanist with experience in planning, urban design, transport and behaviour change in both the public and non-profit sector. Specialist in walking infrastructure and walking as a transport mode. Passionate about sustainability, transport, social justice and especially the niche areas where these meet.

 Academic career:

  • MSc City Planning and Real Estate Development (Merit), University of Glasgow (2013 – 2014)
    • Dissertation: The Psychosocial Impact of Major Transport Infrastructure: The Corkerhill Community
  • BSc Psychology (1st class hons.), University of Birmingham (2006 – 2009)

 Professional career:

  • Principal Technical Advisor, Living Streets (2016 – 2019)
  • Planning and Development Officer, Birmingham City Council (2015 – 2016)
  • Strategic Planning Assistant, Great Yarmouth Borough Council (2014 – 2015)
  • Resident Staff Member, The Iona Community (2009, 2011 – 2013)

 Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (Member, 2019)

Women in Transport (Member, 2017)

Academy of Urbanism (Young Urbanist Member, 2015)