Academic career 

Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS)
Adjunct Professor, Hunan University, China

Current professional responsibilities

(Co)Editor-in-Chief: Population, Space and Place
Editor-in-Chief: Journal of Rural Studies
Vice-chair Panel D ESRC Grant Assessment Panel
Committee Member, Steering Group of Population Commission, IGU


Darren is fascinated by the formation of new social and economic geographies that are giving rise to more exclusive, segregated, and transient societies. He coined the term studentification to conceptualise processes of change within university towns and cities tied to the growth of student populations and the expansion of higher education. To date, he has researched studentification in UK, Ireland, North America, Australia and China. In the rural context, Darren's work investigates processes of rural gentrification and migration. He is part of an international research team (iRGENT), funded by ESRC, NSF and ANR, that is studying international rural gentrification in UK, USA and France. Other current research interests focus on the impact of Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and changing neighbourhoods.

Darren's teaching explores how places are transformed by contemporary processes of migration and population change, examining the new social geographies which are created.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Andreas Culora: "The diverse geographies of Housing in Multiple Occupation"
  • Charlotte Bolton: "English Foreign Language Schools and Home-stay"
  • Niamh McHugh: "Rural gentrification and real estate markets"
  • Chidinma Okorie: "Commonwealth scholarships and return migration"

Recent postgraduate research students 

  • Alexis Alamel (2015) "Sustainable student housing and negotiating socio-economic and environmental tensions"
  • Stacey Balsdon (2015) "Studentification and intra-student relations: the importance of geography and residence"
  • Hao Gu (2015) "Studentification in China: a comparative international perspective"
  • Catherine Waite (2014) "The Temporary, Seasonal Migration of Elite Cricket professionals: Career Progression and International Migration"
  • Chloe Kinton (2013) "Processes of destudentification and studentification"
  • Agnieska Szewczyk (2013) "Stepping Stone Migration Polish Graduates in England"
  • Lucia Paul (2013) "Transylvanian saxons migration from Romania to Germany: The formation of a Return diaspora"


  • Smith, D.P. & Mills, S. (2018) The youth-fullness of Youth Geographies: ‘coming of age’. Children’s Geographies.
  • Blazek, M., Esson, J. & Smith, D.P. (2018) Relational geographies of human trafficking: inequality, manoeuvring and im/mobility across space and time. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
  • Kinton, C., Smith, D.P., & Harrison, J. (2018) New frontiers of studentification: The commodification of student housing as a driver of urban change. Geographical Journal.
  • Smith, D.P. (2018) Population geography II: The R/age of migration. Progress in Human Geography. [DOI:0309132518760098]
  • Phillips, M. & Smith, D.P. (2018) Comparative ruralism and 'opening new windows' on gentrification. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(1): 51-58.
  • Phillips, M. & Smith, D.P. (2018) Comparative approaches to gentrification: lessons from the rural. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(1): 2-25.
  • Smith, D.P. (2018) Population geography I: Human trafficking. Progress in Human Geography, 42(2): 297-308.
  • Waite, C. & Smith, D.P. (2017) Temporary skilled international migration of young professional cricketers: ‘going Down-Under’ to move-up the career path. Geoforum, 84: 70-76.