Rowland Atkinson is Reader in Urban Studies and Criminology and co-director of the Centre for URBan Research (CURB), a research centre that focuses on ordinary cities and city life in non-metropolitan urban areas.
Following his doctorate (on gentrification and displacement in greater London) in 1997 Rowland started work as a research fellow at the Department of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow in 1997 where he became a lecturer in 2004. While in Glasgow he developed a strong interest in the experience of poverty and social exclusion, and the response of policymakers and the public to these issues. While there he was involved in a wide range of research projects, including studies of poverty/area effects, gentrification and the rise of gated communities.
In 2005 he moved to Australia to become Director of the Housing and Community Research Unit at the University of Tasmania. It was here that he led national initiatives to raise the profile of urban affairs, and public housing more specifically. He started work at the University of York in 2009 where he has taken a more emphatic interest in questions of social harm, urban life and crime more generally. He is the author, co-author or editor of over 80 articles, chapters and reports.
My work takes social problems as the focus and basis of my empirical, theoretical and applied research. Since my doctoral work on the displacement of households from gentrification in London I have been concerned with the lack of attention on such issues and inequities. My research has endeavoured to connect the choices of affluent and rich households with the traditional foci of much sociological and social geographical work which has tended to emphasise the poor, disorderly and excluded without seeing these issues as part of larger urban, housing and social systems which are themselves deeply divided and unequally structured. A key element of my work has therefore been to integrate high income groups into sociological and public debates about urban disorder, anti-social behaviour and inequalities of access to security and safety.
Today my work is primarily focused on the way that crime and disorder have shaped rich and middle-class life in the city; not least their consumption and relative ‘fortification’ of domestic spaces, and their inclination to seek the domestication of public spaces outside their front doors (often seen in both the control and privatisation of public space). My work with Sarah Blandy (School of Law, University of Leeds) on gated communities and fortress homes continues to question how and why better-off households move into such dwellings, and to challenge thinking around the inevitability or desirability of these patterns.
Rowland is keen to work with research students with interests around the intersecting areas of urban, housing, political and criminological studies that relate to questions of local security, disorder, social exclusion, noise/sound and patterns of poverty and wealth in urban life.
Atkinson, R. and Winlow, S. (eds.) (2012) New Directions in Crime and Deviance, London: Routledge.
Atkinson, R. and Smith, O. (2012) An economy of false securities? An analysis of murders inside gated residential developments in the US, Crime Media Culture, 8, 2, pp. 162-173.
Atkinson, R. (2011) Ears have walls: The listening body in urban space, Aether: The Journal of Media Geography, 7, pp. 20-28.
Atkinson, R., Taylor, E. and Walter, M. (2010) Burying Indigeneity: The Spatial Construction of Reality and Aboriginal Australia, Social and Legal Studies, 19, 3, pp. 311-330.
Atkinson, R. and Beer, D. (2010) The Ivorine Tower in the City: Engaging urban studies after The Wire, CITY, 14, 5, pp. 529-544.