Kirsten Alke

PHD Student

Kirsten Alke

Kirsten Alke

Academic Area(s): Real Estate & Planning
Supervisor(s): Professor Kathy Pain, Dr Richard Nunes
Research Topic(s): Boundary crossings: The international work experiences of migrant spatial planners in the South East of England

Areas of academic interest

International planning; Planning cultures; Planning careers; International mobility of professionals


Kirsten’s general interests lie in the globalisation of planning practice and planning as an occupation and a career in an international context.

Her PhD focuses on the ‘boundary crossing’ experiences of internationally mobile planners with a particular focus on the links between migration, planning culture, international career trajectories and self-identity. Specifically, she is using biographical methods to explore the cross-cultural experiences of 18 individual planners in adapting to planning work after a permanent or semi-permanent move to London and the South East of England.


After secondary school in Germany, Kirsten moved to the UK and, in 1996, obtained a BA (Hons) in Geography and History at Royal Holloway, University of London. She then went on to study Town Planning at the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL.

Having graduated with an MPhil, Kirsten worked as a policy planner for a local authority in Surrey and a private planning consultancy in London for a total of four years before moving back to Germany in 2003. During that time, she worked for an international property consultancy in Frankfurt. After returning to the UK, she was awarded a studentship by Reading Real Estate Fund (RREF) in 2010 to study for a PhD at the University of Reading.

Kirsten has been a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) since 2001.


Kirsten was a Teaching Assistant for the MSc module in Comparative International Planning Studies from 2010/11 and 2011/12 and accompanied two MSc fieldtrips to Strasbourg and Berlin in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Research Grants

Reading Real Estate Foundation (RREF) PhD Studentship


RTPI Book Prize for performance during MPhil Town Planning