Dr Juliet Davis MA DipArch (Cantab) R.I.B.A. PhD


+44 (0)29 2087 5497
4.18, Friary House
Research group:
Architectural History and Theory Group


Architectural Design Masters Convenor (MArch, MA AD, MA UD)
MArch Dissertation supervisor
City Planning/ Urban Design History and Theory lectures
Higher degree (PhD) supervision
Research Ethics Committee Chair
Admissions Committee member
Research Committee member
Board of Studies member

External activities

External examiner at the Leicester School of Architecture (2014-2017)
Examiner of higher degree work (at Cambridge and Bristol universities recently)
Peer reviewer for several academic journals
Chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects
Occasional guest lecturer and guest critic

Other information

‘Dispersal: Picturing Urban Change in East London’ – a book to be published by Historic England Publishing, 2017. Research was funded in 2014 by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Care for the City – research project in development, funded by Grosvenor in 2015.

Research interests

Urban Theory
Planning and architectural history
Urban regeneration
Mega event cities and urban legacies
Urban Resilience
Politics of heritage
Urban futures

Three main interests inform Juliet Davis’s academic research. First, she is interested in the role of design in the context of regeneration, and in the frequently problematic connections between urban improvement and processes of social change involving displacement and/or gentrification. She is interested in temporal aspects of urban transformation – the relationships that change articulates between past, present and future. She is particularly concerned with how design approaches the future, whether as a realm of anticipation, of endless possibility, of creative or speculative opportunity and/or of uncertainty. But, she is also interested in the history of the city, especially in exploring the nature of change over time, the relationship between future-oriented visions and everyday realities, and the path-dependencies of development.

Her doctoral thesis ‘Urbanising the Event’, which she completed in 2011, integrated these interests by examining the role and process of planning and design in enabling the ‘promise’ of sustainable regeneration connected to the 2012 Olympic Games legacy to be anticipated and realised over several decades. What, she asked, could be learnt about the nature and possible future of ‘legacy’ by looking at how it was being made at the inception of a long-term regeneration process? Her research involved exploring the contexts for regeneration through the planning and development history of the Lower Lea Valley, the politics surrounding the Olympic site’s Compulsory Purchase and redevelopment, the governance of the legacy masterplan, the ideas of the future shaping the masterplan framework between 2005 and 2010, and perspectives of local residents on what regeneration might bring.

In framing this research, three strands of social and urban theory were central: Henri Lefebvre’s theorisations of the politics of city-making and the production of space, ideas of discourse formation and power associated with Michel Foucault and Barbara Adam’s work on orientations toward and social constructions of the future. The study also drew on wide base of interdisciplinary literature related to mega-events, global cities, urban governance, regeneration and participatory design.

The research revealed the complex processes through which a mega-event landscape was designed to transform into a ‘piece of city’. In the process, however, it highlighted challenges in making the vision of regeneration relevant to the experience of local people – those very residents of East London who, in theory, were the ‘subjects’ of sustainable regeneration.

Juliet has disseminated this research through peer-reviewed journal papers and she has a book in press related to the history of the Olympics site and the experience of legacy from the perspectives of small business dispersed from it in 2007. This book is a collaboration with the photographers Marion Davies and Debra Rapp. Her research on legacy governance led her to London’s Great Estates as historic examples of development management over centuries. The Grosvenor Estate has been the focus of recent research and is one of the case studies in her current book project, ‘Care for the City’. Through a wide range of case studies, this sets out to make a case for the need and value of care in the making of urban futures.

Since being in Cardiff, Juliet has also developed interests in planning and development in Cardiff Bay, particularly related to Butetown and the historical area around the Coal Exchange.

She is involved in Cardiff University’s interdisciplinary ‘Futures Research Group’ led by Emeritus Professor Barbara Adam:

Research supervisor

Main expertise

Architecture, urbanism and urban design: history and theory

Supervision experience

Six current PhDs (four as first supervisor)

Additional supervision interests

Urban futures, regeneration, mega event cities and transformative urban legacies, resilience in urban design and planning, politics of heritage, planning/ urban design history in London and elsewhere.

Teaching profile

Juliet Davis teaches at various levels of the school. She gives lectures on city/town planning history and theory including the Garden City Movement and New Urbanism, on the ideas of urban thinkers such as Ebenezer Howard, Le Corbusier, Jane Jacobs and Richard Sennett, on research methods related to design-based projects and dissertations, and on issues of contemporary urban design (social inclusivity, regeneration, resilience, planned communities, comprehensive versus incremental change, and gentrification). She teaches design in studio where the aim is to engage students critically in the dynamics and politics of real-world urban projects and issues. She has several PhD students working on topics broadly connected with her research interests.

Juliet Davis received her architectural education at Cambridge University, graduating in 1995 with a first-class degree (and the Edward S. Prior Prize for design) and, in 1999, with a Commendation for the Diploma in Architecture (RIBA Part II). She became a registered architect in 2001 and a Chartered Member of the RIBA in 2005. She worked at Stanton Williams Architects in London between 1995 and 1997, focusing predominantly on the extension and modernisation of the Royal National Theatre but also on Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank. At Eric Parry Architects (1999 – 2005), she worked on a number of projects including public realm improvements in Lambeth, an extension to the Wimbledon School of Art and the regeneration of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square. She began to teach design in 2004, running the first year of the undergraduate design programme at Cambridge University (2004-2005) and, subsequently, ran studios at Canterbury School of Architecture and the London School of Economics (LSE). She was an LSE Fellow between 2008 and 2011, co-leading the MSc City Design and Social Science studio at the Cities Programme. She completed an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) PhD at the LSE in 2011 entitled ‘Urbanising the Event’ which focused on plans for London’s post-Olympic legacy as regeneration futures. She took up her Senior Lectureship in Architecture at Cardiff University in late 2012.