Peter Kraftl


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Professor Kraftl welcomes applicants from prospective students on any of the following topics.

Children’s geographies - especially (but not exclusively) with conceptual interests in nonrepresentational, posthuman and new materialist theories.
Geographies of education - especially alternative education
Geographies of architecture (including sustainable urban design)
Utopia, hope, everyday ‘alternatives’


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Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Peter Kraftl is best known for his research on children’s geographies, focusing on children and young people’s experiences of and interactions with environmental processes – such as sustainable urban design, environmental resources and pollution. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture. He is currently national co-lead for the Children, Young People and Families Programme of the NIHR School for Public Health Research. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Royal Society of Arts.

Recent projects have focused on children's experiences of living in newly-built, masterplanned urban communities, young people's and the food-water-energy nexus in Brazil, and the many ways in which children's lives interact with plastics. I am also co-leading projects about children and treescapes and about young people's experiences of and adaptations to COVID-19 in England, Brazil and South Africa. My work on children and urban places informs local, national and international policy and practice - from work with Homes England and Local Authorities in the UK, to ongoing work with UNESCO and UNICEF.


Professor Peter Kraftl completed his PhD in Geography at the University of Wales Swansea in 2005. His PhD focused on utopian practices at two ecological buildings, and spawned his longstanding interest in children's geographies, education and architecture. Peter worked at the Centre for Children and Youth at the University of Northampton between 2004-2007. He moved to the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester in 2007. There, he progressed through Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader before becoming a Chair in Human Geography in January 2014.

He took up a Chair in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham in September 2015. In 2020 he was conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and awarded the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Murchison Award for his longstanding work on geographies of childhood and education. In 2022 he was conferred as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, in recognition of his research about children, young people and urban design/planning.

Peter is the author of 10 books and over 100 journal articles and book chapters. His work is often placed centrally within a so-called 'new wave' of childhoods studies, as it focuses on questions of emotion, affect, materiality, memory and much more besides. At the intersection of these theoretical debates, he has developed a longstanding, substantive interest in children's experiences of newly-built (and 'sustainable') urban spaces, in alternative education spaces, in environmental challenges and learning, in children's health and wellbeing, and in the design and inhabitation of school buildings.

Peter currently co-leads the Voices of the Future project as part of the UKRI Future of UK Treescapes programme and is an Executive Member of the NIHR School for Public Health Research as well as the national co-lead for the Children, Young People and Families Programme in the School.

Peter has also been collaborating with colleagues in Canada and Australia as part of an SSHRC-funded project on climate change pedagogies, and with colleagues in Brazil via Newton-, Transatlantic Programme and European Research Council-funded projects about young people, the environment and (most recently) COVID-19.

Peter has led or co-led a number of funded projects on the above themes, including the following current/recent projects.

Transatlantic Platform (T-AP; ESRC/FAPESP/NRF), Co-I, 'PANEX: Adaptations of young people in monetary-poor households for surviving and recovering from COVID-19 and associated lockdowns' (part of 'Recovery, Renewal and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World' programme). Total award EUR485,000 (GBP405,000), duration March 2022-February 2024.

UKRI, Lead Co-I, 'Voices of the Future: Collaborating with Children and Young People to Re-Imagine Treescapes' (part of UKRI Future of UK Treescapes programme). Total award GBP1.6 million, duration August 2021-July 2024. NE/V021370/1.

NIHR, Co-I and Executive Member, 'School for Public Health Research' (core member of UoB-led PHRESH consortium, as part of the 2022-2027 SPHR, with 11 other UK Universities. Total award GBP30 million, duration April 2022-April 2027.

European Research Commission, Co-ordinator (PI), 'Building resilience in the face of nexus threats: local knowledge and social practices of Brazilian youth.' Awarded EUR270,327 (GBP240,000), duration May 2019-May 2022.

Peter was until 2023 Honorary Secretary of the Research and Higher Education Division of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He was an Editor of Area and Children's Geographies journals. He was a founding member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG, and was the Research Group's Chair from 2012-15. He has given invited talks around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada, and held visiting Professorships in those countries.

Peter has worked with a range of international, national and local organisations, largely based on his work with children and young people about their everyday lives, learning, and interactions with environmental challenges. He is currently advising national and local agencies involved in the delivery of large, master-planned housing developments in the UK about how best to include children and young people in their design processes. He also works with major global agencies such as UNESCO: for instance, he is a Coordinating Lead Author for UNESCO's International Science and Evidence Based Assessment of Education, as part of their Futures of Education Initiative.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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