New lecture series to explore Leicesters planning story

A new series of public lectures that will explore the urban development, history and architecture of Leicester will launch later this month.

The ‘City Series’ lecture programme is being developed by the ‘Leicester Urban Observatory’, a small group of planning professionals and academics from Leicester City Council, De Montfort University, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby, who will deliver the first lecture in the series, said: “This is an exciting collaboration that will bring together a wealth of local expertise in urban studies, architecture and Leicester's planning story and I am delighted to be giving the inaugural lecture.

“We have some outstanding experts across the three local universities and we are looking forward to working closely together to share learning with the wider community through this new series of public lectures.”

The inaugural lecture will explore the historic and future development of Leicester. It will take place at City Hall, 115 Charles Street, on Thursday 26 January from 5.15pm.

It is free to attend but places are limited and must be booked in advance at

Future events in the ‘City Series’ for 2017 will be led by academics from the three local universities and will explore a wide range of topics such as urban design and the role of way-marking, gentrification, design for healthy cities, and the historic development of place identity in Leicester.

Dr Gavin Brown, Associate Professor in Human Geography, said:

“The City Series lectures are an initiative that has developed out of the Leicester Urban Observatory. The Observatory is an informal collaborative network of academics at Leicester, DMU and Loughborough, with planners and urban professionals from Leicester City Council. Three University of Leicester staff regularly  participate in the meetings of the Leicester Urban Observatory: myself and Prof Loretta Lees from Geography, and Prof Simon Gunn from the Centre for Urban History. The LUO meetings allow an exchange of ideas between academics and urban professionals in the city, developing interdisciplinary understanding and trust that we hope will be to the mutual benefit of teaching and research at the three universities, and the professional development of planners and others in the local authority.


“The Mayor’s lecture on 26th January initiates the City Series lectures. In early March, Prof Lees and Dr Katy Bennett from Geography will be giving talks about their research on planetary gentrification and living multicultures, respectively.”