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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Students  /  Jack Layton

Jack Layton


Jack Layton
Room 214
North-West Wing,
Gower Street, University College London
London WC1E 6BT


Twitter: @MrLaytonJ



2015-2016: MSc Urban Studies, University College London, distinction
Dissertation: ‘Southbank Centre and the Long Live Southbank Campaign: a study of public spaces, and democratic practices’

2011-2014: BA Geography, University of Cambridge, first class with distinction
Dissertation: ‘Running: Urban life and the ‘active’ use of public space’


2016 - 2018: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Geography UCL

GEOG0139, Public Space and the City

GEOG2023, Urban Geography

GEOG2001, The Practice of Geography

GEOG1007, Global Geographies


2014 - 2015:  Social Researcher, UK Government, Department of Communities and Local Government



2016: Runner up in the UCL Research Images as Art competition
2015: Economic and Social Research Council 1+3 funded PhD studentship at UCL
2014: Downham Yeomans Scholarship, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
2014: Dick Chorley Award, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
2014: Nomination for the Royal Geographical Society and Transnational Institute of British Geographers Dissertation Prize


My research focus is everyday urban public spaces. My aim is to understand how public spaces are assembled, the kinds of social life that are facilitated by them, and their broader impact on the urban environment. My current project is on sports and fitness practices.

The (working) title for my PhD is:

Active Publics: everyday sports and fitness practices in the urban environment, their spaces and their politics

It focuses on three well-used public spaces in London, and explores how they are assembled and maintained, the ways of being together they facilitate, and the kinds of civic organisation that coalesce around them.  This will mean thinking sports and fitness practices as public, and thinking public spaces as prosaic. The aim is to broaden the conceptual vocabulary for understanding what public spaces are, what happens in them, and what they can do.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Alan Latham
Secondary Supervisor: Professor Iain Borden

Publications & Presentations


  • Layton, J. (forthcoming) Review of: Borden, I. (2019) Skateboarding and the city: A complete history. Urban Studies.
  • Latham, A. and Layton, J. (forthcoming) Kinaesthetic cities: Studying worlds of amateur sports and fitness in contemporary urban environments. Progress in Human Geography.
  • Latham, A. and Layton, J. (forthcoming) Social infrastructure and the public life of cities: Studying urban sociality and public spaces. Geography Compass.
  • Latham, A. and Layton, J. (forthcoming) Publics and their problems: Notes on the remaking of the South Bank, London. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
  • Latham, A. and Layton, J. (2018) Editors' Introduction: The City — Post-Modernity. In: Latham, A. (ed.) The City: Post-Modernity. London: Sage.



  • Social infrastructures and public facilities: Notes on Finsbury Park London, AAG 2019
  • Social infrastructures and the public life of cities: Materialities, institutions, and practices. Co-organised set of sessions, AAG 2019
  • Publics and their Problems - redeveloping the Southbank Centre in times of austerity, RGS-IBG 2018
  • Kinaesthetic Cities: making sense of exercise, sport and physical fitness in contemporary urban life, RGS-IBG 2018
  • Author meets critics panel discussion, Clive Barnett's (2017) The Priority of Injustice, RGS-IBG 2018
  • Researching urban public space through everyday sports and fitness practices, UCL Human Geography Seminar Series


I have written articles for a non-academic audience based around my research interests:

  • Layton, J. (2017) The Skate Escape. The Journal of The London Society, no. 471: 44-49.
  • Layton, J. (2017) My Achilles Heel. Like The Wind, no. 12: 66-67.
  • Layton, J. (2014) Living For The City. Like The Wind, no. 2: 88-89.

I also blog about my research interests at: