Prof Simon Guy - Research
My research aims to critically understanding the co-evolution of design and development strategies and socio-economic processes shaping cities. This approach has involved the development and application of an innovative sociotechnical approach to researching architecture, urban development, technological innovation and urban change analysis and integration of previously disconnected research fields - architecture and urban planning, the property sector and utilities industry the stimulation of a collaborative, inter-disciplinary methodological approach. I have pursued, in parallel, three main strands of research.
Firstly, I have been exploring the social construction of design, principally focusing on the field of sustainable architecture. My concern has been with the contested nature of urban sustainability as it is played out within competing discourses of green building. By analysing sustainable architectures in the plural, my work has identified a diverse range of interpretations of the environmental challenge, imagined futures and suggested pathways to sustainability.
Secondly, I have researched the socio-economic processes underpinning urban development processes and practices. Here my concern has been with the interaction of built environment professionals with distinct design strategies and operating in diverse contexts of development practice. A key objective of this work has been to connect social and economic perspectives on real estate practice and to link debate about property to wider analyses of urban change.
Thirdly, I have been studying the changing logic’s of infrastructure networks (energy, transport, telecoms, water and waste), and their relationship to urban change. This work has involved the development and application of sociological theory and methodology to understanding urban technical networks in general, and the social, economic and environmental implications of infrastructure privatisation and liberalisation in particular. A key objective has been to identify connections between the reconfiguration of technical networks and the design and development of buildings and cities.
In each area of research I have sought to develop and apply theoretical and methodological insights from a range of disciplines (notably science and technology studies, urban and environmental sociology and cultural studies), thereby offering new perspectives on architecture, planning, property and infrastructure studies and connecting them to wider debates about urbanism.
For a list of current and recently completed research projects please visit the MARC website.
Industrial Professional and International Collaborations
I develop and maintain collaborative links with industry professionals including; ARUP, Bruntwood, Norman Foster and Partners; Will Allsop; IBM; MEPC; Prudential Insurance; Interior; the Environment Agency; DETR; Newcastle City Council; Manchester City Council, Northern Electric; Northumbria Water, United Utilities, EDF and Scottish Power.
These links have supported a number of research bids and led to funding of specialist consultancy work for Northumbria Water and the Californian Energy Commission advising on the scope for environmental innovation through property/utility market transformation partnership. I am currently PI on the Bruntwood funded EcoCities collaborative research project. I am centrally involved in the Tesco funded Sustainable Consumptions Institute. I was also a member of the expert panel on a UK Government Foresight Energy and Built Environment project.
This cross-sectoral research has enabled collaboration with academic experts in design, property management, GIS modelling, transportation planning, environmental science, law, water engineering and econometric analysis. I have held visiting Research Fellowships in leading research institutes in Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Graz, Texas, Leuven, California and Singapore (2009) and have built international research networks through my funded project and edited book collections in each of my research areas. I was the UK representative on a EU COST action (332 - Mobility Planning), and a British Council link co-ordinator for the research network with the Copperbelt University, Zambia.
I review grant applications for the ESRC, EPSRC and NERC and was a grant committee member for EPSRC’s Sustainable Environments programme and AHRC’s Landscape and Environment programme. I have also been an invited Research programme evaluator for the Academy of Finland, the Croation Science Foundation and the California Energy Commission, am an Advisory Board Member of the RICS Research Foundation and have served on a Manchester Knowledge Capital working group on sustainable design.