The Research Team 

The project team comprises Prof Gavin Parker (University of Reading), Prof John Sturzaker (University of Hertfordshire), Dr Matthew Wargent (Cardiff University) and Dr Tessa Lynn (University of Reading).


Professor Gavin Parker  

Gavin is Chair of Planning Studies at the University of Reading. Gavin has published six books and numerous other papers and reports over the past 25 years. He has been actively researching community and neighbourhood planning and shaped policy agendas in that area. His PhD focussed on property rights and citizenship and more recently he led studies in 2014 and 2020 exploring neighbourhood planning for the Westminster government. He maintains a strong research interest in citizenship, participation and governance in land, planning and development.  He has also been exploring the changing nature of planning and the profession, including the shifting roles of the public, private and third sectors.  In the past Gavin has worked for the  RTPI, and chaired a National Park and a  Rural Community Council. He is the principal investigator for the Just Neighbourhoods research project.

You can find out more about Gavin here.

Professor John Sturzaker  

John is the Ebenezer Howard Chair of Planning at the University of Hertfordshire. John has had a varied career as a planner in both practice and academia, and is keen to bring both areas closer together and he tries to work across disciplinary boundaries, with the ultimate aim of improving people’s lives by contributing to planning and development policy and practice. John became interested in community-led planning after undertaking research into rural affordable housing for his PhD, 2005-2008. Since the 2011 Localism Act introduced Neighbourhood Planning in England, John has undertaken several research projects to find out how communities were making use of the new powers granted by that legislation. John is also interested in comparative planning, understanding how different places adapt to similar challenges in different ways.  John is a co-investigator on the Just Neighbourhoods project.

You can find out more about John here.

Dr Matthew Wargent  

Matt is a Lecturer in Urban Planning and Development at Cardiff University. Matt’s research focuses on the planning, governance and development of urban space, with a particular emphasis on neighbourhoods, localism, and public participation. Recent research projects have focused on the impact of community-led planning on housebuilding and the influence of private sector expertise in urban governance. He is currently Book Review Editor for Town Planning Review. He joined Cardiff as Lecturer in Urban Planning and Development in October 2021. Matt is a co-investigator on the Just Neighbourhoods project.

You can find out more about Matt here

Dr Tessa Lynn 

Tessa is the Postdoctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) on the Just Neighbourhoods project and is based at the University of Reading. The project is investigating community-led planning across all four nations of the UK, focusing on local areas where take-up of these initiatives is less common. Tessa has amassed a wealth of experience researching planning, governance and community participation, with a particular focus on community planning, localism and community assets. Tessa’s doctoral thesis was entitled The social relations of property : motives, means and outcomes of the Community Right to Bid in England. Her work discussed ownership as a governance issue and contributed to wider conceptualisations of property as an expression of diverse social relations and how property impacts on social relations. This is pertinent given the advent of renewed attention to the (new)commons as a set of practices and is intrinsically linked to issues of how rights are constituted, defended and challenged.

You can find out more about Tessa here.