Prof Colin McFarlane

Professor of Urban Geography, 

United Kingdom

PhDs supervised to completion
United Kingdom

Research Focus

My work focusses on the experience and politics of the city. I explore how cities are known, lived and politicised. This includes research on urban densities, infrastructures, and learning across different cities, focussing in particular on the economic margins of the city. My current work seeks to understand:
1: The experience and perception of high densities in cities (project website: This research examines how high urban densities – or ‘intensities’ – are lived and perceived in Asian cities, focusing on Mumbai, Dhaka, Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo. It explores several themes that cut-across different sites in urban Asia: urban markets, waste and informality, urban mobility, vertical densities, and ways of seeing and knowing intensity. This research is supported through a European Research Council Consolidator grant;
2: The potential for urban equality in contemporary cities. This work examines the forms of knowledge, distribution and recognition required for equality in various cities across Asia, Africa and South America. This is a large project supported by an ESRC-GCRF grant, on which I am one of several co-investigators (
I am author of ‘Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage’ (Blackwell), a book focussed on the intersections between urban inequality, materiality, resistance and learning, as well as related edited collections, including: ‘Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False Dawn?’ (Routledge, with Simon Marvin and Andres Luque-Ayala)


  • The experience and perception of high densities in cities (project website:


  • Professor of Urban Geography

Global goals

Target 1.1
Target 1.2
Target 1.3
Target 1.B
Target 6.2
Target 6.A
Target 6.B
Target 11.1
Target 11.3
Target 11.A
Target 11.C


  • United Kingdom

Find me online