Professor Kathy Pain

Professor of Real Estate Development

Professor Kathy Pain

Professor Kathy Pain

Research Division Lead
Real Estate & Planning
HBS 220, Whiteknights campus
+44 (0) 118 378 8175
External website link



Kathy’s research focuses on sustainable city and regional development, governance and planning in the contemporary networked world economy. She is a Co-Director of the international Globalization & World Cities (GaWC) Research Network heading up Global City Planning research. She has been a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) 'Vision for Cities' Global Sustainability Task Group and is a member of the UK Smart Cities All Party Parliamentary Group, the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Industrial Productivity Commission and the Scientific Council, Institute Louis Bachelier Business School, Paris. She is the ESRC SeNSS Human Geography Doctoral Training Pathway Lead for the University of Reading and serves on the ESRC Peer Review College.

Kathy’s research covers three main theoretical-empirical strands: (i) urbanization, agglomeration and city integration in the networked world economy (ii) intersections between the practices and global location strategies of specialized international financial and linked business services, and real estate investment flows; (iii) global mega-city region economic and spatial development, governance, policy, and resilience.

Drawing on her interdisciplinary/practitioner-academic background, Kathy’s research links rigorous quantitative and qualitative data directly to policy and practitioner end-users, shedding light on the relationships between complex macro and micro development drivers associated with contemporary world urbanization, economic change, international business and real estate investment. Recent research has focused on the associations between investment in urban density and human and environmental health, productivity and economic resilience.

Kathy's research engagement as an expert has included the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Pacific Asia region; examples include: the UK Treasury Fourth Economic Test for entry to Economic Monetary Union on the financial services industry and City wholesale markets; South East England Statutory Regional Policy Guidance Review; Canada's Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative; China’s global mega-city region development; Abu Dhabi global city development strategy; United States mega-region development; regional development planning for the Sydney global city-region; and strategy for the East Asian Pan-Yellow Sea Region.


  • Diploma in Town Planning, PhD (Reading)
  • Corporate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society / Institute of British Geographers


Urban and regional economic growth in contemporary globalization; the financialization of real estate and the influence of cross-border capital flows on economic resilience; urban development impacts on economic and environmental sustainability, human health and well-being; urban and regional policy, planning and governance.

Selected Research Grants

Research published 2018: Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Coalition for Urban Transitions global commission Supporting Smart Urban Development: Successful Investing in Density.

Major EU studies: the UK-led 2003-06 INTERREG IIIB 2003-2006 North West Europe POLYNET: Sustainable Management of European Mega-City Regions study, co-directed with Professor Sir Peter Hall at the Young Foundation, London; the 2010-12 European Spatial Observation Network (ESPON) study, TIGER - Territorial Impact of Globalization for Europe and its Regions, (UK Principal Investigator).

Current PhD students

Ijeoma Emeghe: Housing Quality and Mental Well-being Valuation. First supervisor

Martyna Surma: Growing Entrepreneurship through Sustainable Urban Planning. First supervisor


View a full list of Professor Kathy Pain's Publications

Selected Publications

Pain, K. Land Use Policy and Governance of Real Estate Development, Routledge Real Estate Companion, Squires, G., Heurkens, E. and Peiser, R. (eds.), 2018, Routledge, London, 370-384.

Pain, K., Megaregions Imaginaries: Excursions through a maze, Geographical Review, 106(2), 2016, 536-550.

Pain, K. and Van Hamme, G. Changing Urban and Regional Relations in a Globalizing World: Europe as a Global Macro-Region, 2014, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Lizieri, C. And Pain, K. International Office Investment in Global Cities: The Production of Financial Space and Systemic Risk, Regional Studies, published online 23 January, 2013.

Harrison, J. and Pain, K. Global Cities, Volume IV: Planning and Governance of Cities in Globalization, 2012, Routledge, London.

Pain, K. 'New Worlds' for 'Old'? Twenty-First-Century Century Gateways and Corridors: Reflections on a European spatial perspective, International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, 35(6), 2011, 1154-74.

Pain, K. Spaces of practice in advanced business services: rethinking London-Frankfurt relations", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26(2), 2008, 264-279.

Hall, P. and Pain, K. (eds.), The Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from mega-city regions in Europe, Earthscan, London, 2006.