Gavin’s PhD research focuses on post-growth theorisations of spatial planning in the context of global environmental challenges. He is particularly interested in exploring how alternative planning discourses, emergent in the abandoned spaces of post-industrial shrinking cities in both Europe and the USA, is brought to bear on planning practice and as proving grounds for autonomous, grassroots attempts at institutional change.
Gavin graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a BA Degree in Town and Country Planning. He has worked as a planning consultant and a policy advisor, and is currently a Senior Project Expert at the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) based in Luxembourg. Gavin also formerly worked as a special advisor to the Irish government on planning and climate change, and also as researcher at Maynooth University, Ireland.
Planning for Degrowth:
Shrinking Cities and Insurgent Praxis in an Age of Limits
Supervisors: Prof. Mark Boyle & Dr Peter North
Description: This research seeks to theorise possible alternative post-growth trajectories for contemporary spatial planning practice within the context of unfolding 21st Century global socioecological realities. Using the Irish case study as an explanatory and exploratory account, the research critically examines how planning knowledge and its institutionalisation evolved, developed and circulated to install a growth-imperative as its governing rationality. Drawing on experimental, grassroots planning praxes in the abandoned urban spaces of post-industrial shrinking cities, as real-life proving grounds for ‘degrowth', the analysis seeks to identify possible theoretical openings to elicit a radical epistemological break from mainstream growth-orientated planning cultures and for steering transformative sociospatial change in the face of environmental limits to growth.