Dr Alan Mace joined the Department in 2010. Prior to this he worked in practice as a spatial planner in London alongside teaching planning at the University of Westminster. At LSE he delivers several of the core units for the Masters programme in Regional and Urban Planning Studies (RUPS) and teaches undergraduate courses in cultural geography with a focus on London.
His research interests focus on the interface between the conventions and institutions of planning and the priorities and perspectives of local communities. While many planning conventions may seek desirable outcomes, Alan is interested in the unintended consequences and/or the unspoken trade-offs, including of densification and green belt. He has framed green belt as a policy institution to understand why it produces such strong resistance to change in order to identify a route to reconstructing the policy with a new purpose that would lead to a reappraisal of its current extent. In relation to density, he is interested in how residents perceive higher density development and in the relationship between attitudes to housing need and the acceptability of densification. His research is also focused on the question of scale in planning governance, where he has employed empirical work in London and the Greater South East to draw out lessons on the challenges presented when seeking to resolve the differing aspirations and priorities of local and regional planners and politicians.
Alan’s other broad research interest is in change in the suburbs. This includes research on how an increase in buy-to-let housing has led to suburban gentrification. And on how changes in the ethnic mix of residents across London’s suburbs is reflected in particular neighbourhood-based constructions of White ethnic identity. His interest in suburban change sometimes interfaces with his planning research, for example by focusing on the specific challenges of developing higher density housing in existing suburbs.