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Dr Matthew Wargent

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Matthew Wargent 75ncjvia1


  • Public participation, 
  • Urban planning, 
  • Local governance, localism, 
  • Power


EM 168, Whiteknights Campus

Matthew is a researcher in urban governance and planning. He is interested in democratic decision-making and the increasing range of actors drawn into the governance of urban space. Recent research has explored public participation and the UK localism agenda, particularly community involvement in the development process through neighbourhood planning.

Matthew's current research concerns the production of local development plans. This explores the relations of rationality and power in planning through a consideration of how evidence is created, interpreted and deployed within plan-making. Further recent projects have explored the role of consultants in the creation of urban policy, and the effect of organisational structures on planners' agency.

Before joining the University of Reading in 2018, Matthew held research posts at the University of Sheffield and University College London.


  • PhD Sociology, University of Sheffield
  • MA Sociology and Management, University of Essex
  • BA (Hons) Social Policy and Sociology, University of Sheffield

Recent conference papers

‘Local governance and the private sector: the role of consultants in the English planning system’, paper presented to Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Washington D.C., 4 April 2019.

Most recent news & media

Generating Effective Planning Cultures. David Robins Research Fund (£10,615), Co-Investigator, 2019-2020.

Impact of Neighbourhood Planning in England. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (£63,039.50), Co-Investigator, 2019-2020.

The Politics of Private Sector Provision in Local Governance. British Academy (£269,940.60), Principal Investigator, 2018-2021.

Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement, Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Research Excellence, 2019