Sophie Hadfield-Hill

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

Sophie Hadfield-Hill is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham.  Principally a Children’s Geographer, Sophie’s expertise is children and young people’s everyday experiences of urban change in diverse contexts.  Her research portfolio spans young people’s lives in the UK, India and Brazil; she has been Principal and Co-Investigator on numerous research projects related to urban transformation.  Sophie is currently Chair of the RGS-IBG Geographies of Children, Youth and Families research group.


Sophie Hadfield-Hill studied Geography at the University of Leicester (BA, MSc, PhD) graduating in 2009 with a PhD (thesis title: The future of responsible lending in India: perceptions of sustainability and the environment – supervised by Professor Jenny Pickerill and Professor Mike Bradshaw).  She subsequently moved to the Centre for Children and Youth, The University of Northampton to work as a post-doctoral researcher on the ESRC funded New Urbanisms, New Citizens (NUNC) project – exploring children and young people’s everyday life and participation in sustainable communities (2009-2013). Her responsibilities included ethnographic fieldwork in two case study areas, design of research tools, organisation of community based workshops, and research reports and dissemination to a range of academic and practitioner based audiences.

In 2013 Sophie was awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant to explore New Urbanism in India (2013-2016); a unique opportunity to investigate the everyday lives of children and their families living and moving through new urban environments in the emerging market context.  Her work is published in numerous outlets (see publications) on interlinked issues related to young people’s experiences of urban change (housing, play, sustainability, participation). Sophie joined the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences in 2014 as a Lecturer in Human Geography.

Since being at the University of Birmingham Sophie has developed her research portfolio which spans young people’s lives in the UK, India and Brazil.  Her contribution to the urban transformation agenda is significant.  Her work has also pushed the boundaries of digital qualitative research.  Through the development of a mobile app data collection tool ‘Map my Community’ she is an advocate of co-developed, digital tools, sensitive to cultural nuances. 

Sophie’s work has received national and international recognition.  She has worked with numerous organisations in advising on large-scale, master-planned housing developments and how to best design these for the everyday needs of children and young people.


2006 – 2009        PhD Human Geography, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

2005 - 2006        MSc. Research in Human Geography (Distinction) University of Leicester, UK

2002 - 2005        BA Geography (Hons. 1st Class) University of Leicester, Leicester, UK


Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Dr Hadfield-Hill would be interested to hear from potential PhD candidates in the fields of geographies of children and young people, urbanism and sustainable living across various geographical contexts.

Sustainable Development Goals