Personal profile


Overview: Associate Professor Parham works as the University of Hertfordshire's Head of Urbanism and Planning at the School of Life and Medical Sciences (LMS) in the Geography, Environment and Planning (GEP) subject group. She runs the UH Urbanism Unit and was the Academic Director of the International Garden Cities Institute (IGCI) from 2015 to 2022. Susan’s research interests include food and spatial design, nature-based solutions to place issues, sprawl retrofitting and transport oriented, compact and sustainable cities, the urbanism of Garden Cities and New Towns, and engagement on planning, urban design and urbanism. She is an Associate and active contributor to the UH Centre for Future Societies and the Centre for Climate Change Research. In July 2022 and July 2023 Susan ran the food and urbanism stream of an international Summer School on health and urbanism in Venice as part of the Biennale, co-coordinated an international Garden Cities of Tomorrow Congress and will be doing so again in 2024. Susan recently contributed to a symposium on New Towns at the Sorbonne, and spoke at a Garden Cities for the 21st Century Symposium in the French garden suburb of Suresnes about her recent co-authored book chapter on practice-based garden city education and teaching.

Recent research: In 2021 Assoc. Prof. Parham completed work on an EU funded international Edible Cities Research Network project (‘EdiCitNet’) for which she co-wrote the funding bid with Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. Susan is completing a research programme funded by Tarmac through a Sustainable Living Partnership in which she is exploring decision making for sustainability within construction industry materials supply chains.

Research Excellence Framework contribution: Susan is a member of the University’s Design Research Group and contributes to the Design Unit of Assessment in the most recent iteration of the Research Excellence Framework.

Publications: Assoc. Prof. Parham has been exploring the urbanism, design and planning connections between food and cities since the early 1990s and as well as research and publications related to garden cities and planned settlements more latterly. Her most recent published writing on food includes co-editing the book Exploring Food and Urbanism (Routledge, 2021) based on a Special Issue of the Journal of Urbanism on Food and Urbanism (February 2020) for which she was editor. Her most recent book chapters explore teaching the urbanism of garden cities (Parentheses, 2021), rural urbanism and conviviality (Rural Urbanism, Bokförlaget Stolpe, 2020), food and place issues in peri-urban areas in (Agrourbanism, Springer, 2018) and two chapters on food and urban design and on the evolution of food markets in a Handbook of Landscape and Food (Routledge, Jan 2018). In 2015 Susan completed a book for Bloomsbury entitled Food and Urbanism, delving into the interplay between food and place from the scale of the table to the productive region, while her 2012 book Market Place: Food Quarters, Design and Urban Renewal in London reported on primary research into food-centred regeneration processes that are transforming physical spaces and social practices in moribund market areas in contemporary London.

Recent articles include on Food, Cities and Nature Based Solutions for Japan Architect (2024), Food and the Garden City (Territorio, 95, 4, 2020). In 2016 Susan published the research report 'Making Space for Food in Hatfield' with Ben McCabe and a chapter based on this primary research as "Shrinking Cities and Food: Place-making for Sustainable Renewal, Reuse and Retrofit' in the book Future Directions for the European Shrinking City (RTPI Routledge series). Other policy focused publications include contributions to an Edible Garden Cities Guide (TCPA, 2019) and 'Why are Garden Villages in the News?' (The Conversation, 2016). Susan has also edited and published five ‘Garden Cities Perspectives Papers over the last five years, an in-depth policy papers series she initiated through the IGCI in 2017 and has been lead or co-author on two of these. The most recent was a Perspectives Paper (IGCI, 2018) with colleagues on how to build a new garden city based on her co-written, commended entry for the Wolfson Economics Prize.

Partnership Working: Susan is active in international, national and regional partnership working in urban planning and urbanism areas with stakeholders in academic, public and private sectors. Partners include the École Nationale Supérieure d'architecture de Grenoble (ENSAG), Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, The King’s Foundation and Gascoyne Cecil Estates. Assoc. Prof Parham recently ran the food stream in a Venice based international summer school with the European Cultural Academy, the Prince's Foundation and the Global Centre on Health Care and Urbanisation, Oxford University, as part of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, co-convened an international Congress on “Garden Cities of Tomorrow”, spoke on teaching about garden cities at the Garden Cities for the 21st Century conference in Suresnes (June, 2022), and provided a paper for a Sorbonne New Towns study day (April, 2022).

Teaching: Associate Professor Parham is a member of the Ebenezer Howard School of Planning. She has worked as Programme Leader for the University's Master's Programme in Sustainable Planning and led the accreditation process for the Planning School’s successful accreditation. Susan teaches and supervises research doctoral, post graduate and undergraduate students both within the Geography, Environment and Planning Subject Group and in the University’s Professional Doctorate in Heritage. Susan gives annual guest lectures on areas of urbanism including engagement and food for the University of Oxford’s MA in Sustainable Urban Development, as well as for the urban policy programme at the University of Glasgow.

Scholarly activities and research dissemination: Susan has recently been appointed as an editor of the Journal of Urbanism and is a member of the editorial board, a role she has held since the journal’s inception in 2007. She has also been editor (chair of the editorial panel) of the peer-reviewed journal, Urban Design and Planning, for the Institute of Civil Engineers from 2016 to 2020. Susan is an active peer reviewer and has provided more than 70 peer reviews for journals including the Journal of Urbanism; Urban Design International; Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Space and Culture; Societies; Sustainability; and Agriculture and Human Values among others. Susan is active in presenting urbanism research at conferences including most recently at the International Association of Landscape Ecology (July 2022), the 4th International Conference on Agricultural Geography and Land Engineering, the UK and Ireland Planning Research Conference, and AESOP, and takes part in the UK and Ireland Planning Schools Forum.

Academic qualifications, fellowships and memberships: Associate Professor Parham holds undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in political economy (BA), town planning (Grad Dip), urban design (MA), and urban sociology (PhD) from the London School of Economics’ Cities Programme. Susan is a Research Associate for the Laboratory for Building Cultures, at the École Nationale Supérieure d'architecture de Grenoble (ENSAG). Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) and a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Susan is an active alumnus of Living Streets as its former deputy chair of trustees.

Research interests

Research interests include the urbanism of Garden Cities and New Towns; food and city design; urban morphology and renewal; design processes for remaking 'sprawl' urbanism toward more transport oriented development; and urban sustainability through nature based solutions.

Recent publications and conference presentations include:

“Living in an Age-Friendly Community: Evidence from a Masterplanned Development in Southwest Sydney”, Jones, A., Parham, S., in Rojo-Pérez, F. (ed.), Fernández-Mayoralas, G. (ed.), Sánchez-González, D. (ed.) & Tchounwou, P. B. (ed.), 11 Jan 2023, (E-pub ahead of print) In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 20, 2, 21 p.

“Getting there: learning from engagement practice on convivial urbanism to develop productive urban landscapes”, Parham, S., Edwards, F. & Mandersheid, M., 11 Jul 2022, p. 1-10. 10 p. presented at the IALE 2022 European Landscape Ecology Congress: Making the future, learning from the past.

“La Garden City, un précedent au service de l'enseignement du projet architectural: Entre théorie et experimentations”, Parham, S., Hardy, M., Sadoux, S. & Dubus, N., 20 Jun 2022, in the book Des Cites-Jardins pour Le XXIe Siècle: Valorisation. Prèservation. Perspectives. 1 ed. Marseille: Parenthèses, p. 375-384 10 p.

“Learning sustainable urbanism lessons from ‘other’ New Towns in the UK: Contributing to design for health and wellbeing in the postwar British New Towns (and beyond)”, presentation Parham, S., Hardy, M. & Sadoux, S., Sorbonne, Paris New Towns Study Day 7 Apr 2022, p. 1-35. 35 p.

Exploring Food and Urbanism, Parham, S. & Hardy, M. (eds.), 10 Sep 2021, 1st ed. London: Routledge. 144 p. (Special Issues as Books)

Teaching specialisms

Teaching specialisms include principles of urbanism; the urbanism of Garden Cities and New Towns; urban sprawl 'retrofitting'; urban design and conservation theory and practice; and the theory and practice of design focused stakeholder engagement.

External positions

Academic Director, International Garden Cities Institute

2015 → …


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