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Andrew Harris


Department of Geography,
University College London,
26 Bedford Way,

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 5528
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 7565
E-Mail: andrew.harris[at ]

Co-Director UCL Urban Lab

Convenor: MSc Urban Studies


Andrew Harris grew up in Hanwell in West London. He graduated in Geography from the University of Cambridge in 1999, completed a MSc in 'Modernity, Space and Place' at UCL in 2001, and undertook an ESRC-funded PhD in UCL Geography between 2001 and 2005 entitled ‘Branding urban space: the creation of art districts in contemporary London and Mumbai’.

After a year working away from academia, Andrew was as a part-time research fellow at UCL on an AHRC-funded project entitled ‘Liquid City: water, landscape and social formation in twenty-first century Mumbai’. This project explored the material and metaphorical dimensions to water and landscape in Mumbai, and included the making of a short documentary film. Between July 2007 and June 2008, Andrew was an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow working on a project entitled ‘Rethinking the creative city: twenty-first century urbanism in London and Mumbai’.

In September 2008, Andrew was appointed as a Lecturer in Urban Studies and Geography at UCL to support an innovative new MSc programme in Urban Studies, which he now convenes, part of an interdisciplinary initiative at UCL called the Urban Laboratory. He was the primary investigator on an ESRC funded research project between 2009-2010 entitled 'Vertical urbanism: geographies of the Mumbai flyover' and ran an AHRC funded international research network on 'Creative city limits: urban cultural economy in a new era of austerity' between 2011-2012. He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, was Events Coordinator for the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers Urban Geography Research Group (2009-2013), and was part of the Urban Lab+ network funded by the EU's Erasmus Mundus Programme Action 3.

Mumbai mill landslowerparel1.jpgbrentford


Academic Papers

2023: The expertise of urban expertise. Urban Geography. Link.

2018: Engineering formality: flyover and skywalk construction in Mumbai. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Link

Bjorkman, L and Harris, A. 2018: Engineering cities: mediating materialities, infrastructural imaginaries and shifting regimes of urban expertise. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Link

Drozdz, M. Appert, M. and Harris, A. 2017: High-rise urbanism in contemporary Europe. Built Environment. Link

2015: Vertical urbanisms: opening up geographies of the three-dimensional city. Progress in Human Geography 39 (5). Link

Harris, A. and Moore, S. 2015:  Convergence and divergence in conceptualising and planning the sustainable city: an introduction. Area. Link

2013 'Concrete geographies: assembling global Mumbai through transport infrastructure' CITY 17 (3), 343-360 Link

2013: ‘Mumbai’s underworld: beneath transport infrastructure’. Moving Worlds: South Asian Cities special issue, 13 (2).

2013: ‘Financial artscapes: Damien Hirst, crisis and the City of London.’ Cities 33, 29-35.

Harris, A. and Moore, S. 2013 'Planning histories and practices of circulating knowledge.’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37 (5), 1499–1509 link

Bunnell, T. and Harris, A. 2012: ‘Re-visioning informality: perspectives from urban Asia.’ International Development Planning Review 34 (4), 339-348.

2012: ‘The metonymic urbanism of twenty-first-century Mumbai.’ Urban Studies 49 (13) Link

2012: ‘Aerial visions and grounded realities: new dimensions of the Mumbai Street’.Seminar, August, 636.

2012: 'Art and gentrification: pursuing the urban pastoral in Hoxton, London'. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Link

2008: ‘From London to Mumbai and back again: gentrification and public policy in comparative perspective’. Urban Studies 45, 2407-2428. Link

2008: 'Livingstone versus Serota: the high-rise battle of Bankside’. The London Journal 33, 3, 289-299. Link

Book Chapters

2020:‘‘“When I get up it just goes to shit”: unearthing the everyday vertical landscapes of Detectorists’. In Keighren, I. and Norcup, J.
(eds.) Landscapes of Detectorists. Uniformbooks

2016: Visualising the Ups and Downs of Contemporary Mumbai. In Campkin, B. and Duijzings, G. (eds.) Engaged Urbanism. IB Tauris.

2014: 'Margins music: Lost futures in London's edgelands'. In Gandy M. and Nilsen, B. (eds.) The Acoustic City. Jovis: Berlin.

2011: 'Vertical urbanism: flyovers and skywalks in Mumbai'. In Gandy (ed) Urban constellations, pp. 118-123.

2011: 'Branding Hoxton: cultural landscapes of postindustrial London'. In Pike, A. (ed.) Brands and Branding Geographies, pp. 187-199.

2009: 'The golden calf: art and finance in contemporary London’. In Moreno, L. (ed.) The Architecture and Urban Culture of Financial Crisis, London: Figaropravda, pp. 48-57.

2005: ‘Opening up the symbolic economy of contemporary Mumbai’. In Hall, T. and Miles, M. (eds.) Advances in Art and Urban Futures. Intellect Books: Bristol, UK and Portland, USA, pp. 29-41.

Other publications

Harris, A. 2015: Adventures in the Art of Dissent and London’s Olympic State. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action.

Harris, A. 2015: Smart ventures in Modi’s urban India. Dialogues in Human Geography

Harris, A. and Moreno, L. 2012: 'Creative city limits: urban cultural economy in a new era of austerity'. AHRC pamphlet.


My work falls into two main strands: critical perspectives on the creative city and explorations of vertical urbanism.

The first of these investigates how symbols, practices and networks associated with the visual arts have become increasingly important in negotiating power in the postindustrial metropolis. This research combines a concern for cultural landscapes and aesthetics with an exploration of the economic and political dynamics of contemporary urban restructuring. I use this focus to consider how spatial articulations and exclusions associated with the creative city have been implicated in asserting discourses and practices of ‘neoliberal’ urbanism, and instigating new waves of inner-city gentrification. Yet I also use this perspective to chart new directions and possibilities for cultural interventions in the contemporary city. I have undertaken work on these themes across several case-studies in London, Mumbai and Buenos Aires. I am also expanding my geographical focus from the inner-city to consider creative practices and visions associated with the suburbs or urban fringe.

The second strand focuses on the three-dimensional geographies of contemporary cities. In particular I am interested in the construction of flyovers and skywalks in Mumbai. This research considers how the visions, materials and practices associated with these elevated infrastructural projects play a constitutive role in new political performances and relations of power. I am also developing work on tall buildings in London, and have been awarded a Beacon Bursary for a web-based project entitled 'Tall tales'.

Throughout my work I use inter-urban and intra-urban comparative frameworks. This enables me to highlight important particularities both between and within cities, contest Eurocentric assumptions in urban and social theory, and open up new channels of urban policy formation.

Kurla Flyoverhoxton

‘Tall Tales’ web project. Working with Dr Andy Hudson-Smith from UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. (CASA). Funded by the UCL Public Engagement Unit, this project develops a growing public interest in London’s buildings and urban histories.

Londonist feature on Shoreditch (2014)

Shardology film

Vertical Urbanism (design by Sanjay Bhangar from the Mumbai-based CAMP)

Liquid City documentary film (2007)


'Vertical Urbanism' Installation at CitiesMethodologies2010

Urban Studies MSc

Urban Imaginations (Convenor)

Creative Cities (Convenor)

Urban Practices (Co-convenor)

London: Aspects of Change (Convenor)

MSc Urban Studies dissertation (Convenor)

Department of Geography:

Geography in the Field II (Co-convenor 1st year module)

Urban Geography (2nd year module)

Bartlett School of Planning

BENVGPL6 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures


Current PhD students and their working titles:

Emilia Weber (FT, 2017-) Performances of Politics, Power and Resistance in the UK. ESRC studentship. Secondary supervisor (Primary supervisor, Dr Tariq Jazeel, Department of Geography).

Sidra Ahmed (FT, 2018-) The Lived Skyscraper: Branding, Viewing and Experiencing Contemporary Vertical London. ESRC studentship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Dr Clare Melhuish, UCL Urban Lab).

Isobel Pagendam (FT, 2019-) Everyday ups and downs: exploring multi-sensory experiences of the lift in London. ESRC studentship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Professor Iain Borden, Bartlett School of Architecture).

Hanadi Samhan (FT, 2019-) The volumetric Palestian refugee camp. Self-funded. Secondary supervisor (Primary supervisor, Professor Camillo Boano, Development Planning Unit).

Sarojini Sapru (FT, 2022-) In the end we only regret the walls we didn't tag: Migrant Youth and the Spatial Politics of Graffiti Writing in Delhi. ESRC studentship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Dr Pushpa Arabindoo, Department of Geography).

Qianqian Lu (FT, 2022-) Urban Regeneration and Community Revitalisation through Participatory Art and Cultural Projects in Historic Areas in Beijing. Self-funded. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Prof Yasminah Beebeejaun, Bartlett School of Planning).

Leah Aaron (FT, 2022-) How Data Governance Anxieties Impact Post-COVID Platform Urbanisms in London and Berlin. ESRC studentship. Secondary supervisor (Primary supervisor, Dr Susan Moore, Bartlett School of Planning).

Helene Schulze (FT, 2022-) Crop diversity and resilient urban futures Understanding the contributions of seed savers in London. ESRC studentship. Secondary supervisor (Primary supervisor, Dr Russell Hitchings, Department of Geography).

Completed PhD students

Dzmitry Suslau (FT, 2015-) Constructing Urban Narratives: Public Art and the Gendering of Urban Space in Vilnius, Minsk and Kaliningrad. SSEES Foundation Scholarship. Secondary supervisor (Primary supervisor, Dr Richard Mole, School of Slavic and Eastern European Studies).

Murray McKenzie (FT, 2014-2019) Coming Together and Apart in Heiqiao Village, Beijing: Urban Life, Artistic Practices, and the Making of Social Worlds UCL Overseas Research Scholarship, Chinese Government Scholarship and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Scholarship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Dr Caroline Bressey, Department of Geography).

Shaun Teo (FT, 2015-2019) Symbiotic States and Progressive Projects: Shenzhen and London in Comparative Conversation. UCL Graduate Research Scholarship/Overseas Research Scholarship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Professor Jennifer Robinson, Department of Geography).

Ana Maria Huaita Alfaro (FT, 2013-2018) Encounters at Lima’s inner-city marketplaces: negotiating fragmentation and common living in urban Peru. PRONABEC – National Scholarship Programme, Ministry of Education of Peru. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Alexandre Apsan Frediani, Development Planning Unit).

Soledad Martinez (FT, 2013-2018) May I Walk with You? Exploring Inequality in Everyday Walking Practices in Santiago de Chile Full-support scholarship (Beca Chile), Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Dr Filipa Matos Wunderlich, Bartlett School of Planning).

Cecil Sagoe (FT, 2013-2017) English Planning and Governmentality: the Case of the London Legacy Development Corporation. ESRC studentship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Dr Ben Clifford, Bartlett School of Planning).

Sam Barton (FT, 2013-2017) Alientation and Authenticity in Brixton: An Ethnography of a Changing Neighbourhood. ESRC studentship. Primary supervisor (Secondary supervisor, Dr Adam Drazin, Department of Anthropology).

Sam Merrill Buried Memories: Mnemonic Production in the London Underground and Berlin U-Bahn. (FT 2010-2014) University College London Graduate School Research Scholarship. Second supervisor (Primary supervisor, Professor Richard Dennis).

Donald Poland The Remaking of Resilient Space: A Case Study of West Hartford Center (PT, 2009-2015). Self-funded. Second supervisor (Primary supervisor, Dr Alan Latham).

Astrid Wood, Peripatetic Planning: Tracing the Mobility of Bus Rapid Transit through South African Cities (FT, 2010-2015) Self-funded. Second supervisor (Primary supervisor, Professor Jennifer Robinson)