John Harrison

Dr John Harrison

Pronouns: He/him

PhD Aberystwyth University

  • Research and Impact Director
  • Reader in Human Geography

Academic career:

2016- : Reader in Human Geography, Loughborough University.
2012-2016: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University.
2006-2011: Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University.

Professional responsibilities:

2020- : Board Member and Trustee, Regional Studies Association
2019- : Adjunct Professor, Hunan University, China
2013- : Editor, Urban and Regional HorizonsRegional Studies
2013- : Associate Director, GaWC

Prizes and awards:

2015: Vice Chancellor's Loughborough Academic Award of Excellence
2015: Jim Lewis Prize
2011: Routledge Regional Studies Association Award for Early Career Excellence

John’s research interests lie within the broad scope of political-economic geography, with a specific focus on cities and regions. Conceptually his research uncovers how new, generally more networked urban and regional spaces, are being (re)produced in globalization. To answer this his research investigates the politics and practices of region formation: who or what is constructing new urban and regional spaces, how they are being re/constructed, and who stands to gain/lose as a result. The aim of his research is to investigate the extent to which emerging forms of urban-regional governance and planning variously complement, contradict, compete, and overlap with extant structures of state spatial/scalar organisation in different spatial, scalar, and temporal contexts. This work centres around three main themes.

Regions and regional theory

  • The political construction of regions and regional spaces
  • The relationship between regions, territoriality and relationality
  • Theorising processes of regionalism and regionalisation

Urban and regional governance

  • The uneven geographies of devolution and decentralisation
  • City-regions and metropolitan regions
  • Planning and governing cities and regions

Global urban studies

  • Global city-region governance
  • Researching globalization’s new urban form
  • The practice of doing global urban research


John's teaching examines political and economic globalization with a focus on cities and regions.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Lingjia Zhao: Rural planning in China: planning the new countryside
  • Carla Cannone: Climate compatible growth
  • Jiaying Xue: Polycentricity in China’s ‘Greater Bay’ area
  • Naomi Tan: From energy modelling to funding applications: what dataset must we need to financially realize climate-compatible growth?

Recent postgraduate research students

  • Swayam Das (2020) Placing Indian cities in the world city network: a firm-level spatial and temporal study
  • Richard Sieff (2020) Decentralised energy governance in the global south: political decentralisation and energy access in Kenya
  • Ozgur Sayin (2018) Istanbul - the making of a ‘global city' between East and West
  • Chao Luo (2016) Integrative development and governance of ‘megaregion’: the case of Wuhan ‘1+8’ city circle
  • Yifei Chen (2016) Understanding city expansion into larger city-regions: the case of the Yangtze River Delta
  • David Rigby (2016) Nascent geographies of austerity – understanding the implications of a (re)new(ed) welfare-to-work discourse