Professor Michael Hardman
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Professor of Urban Sustainability
I am currently Professor of Urban Sustainability at the University of Salford and co-lead of the Salford Care and Urban Farm Hub. Prior to this, I led programmes in the division of Geography and Environmental Management, alongside other major leadership roles, such as a REF Impact Case Study lead for our recent submission. Before joining Salford in 2013, I was a Research Fellow in Birmingham on the UK National Ecosystem Follow-On project, working alongside DEFRA, Natural England, the Environment Agency and others to explore the mainstreaming of the ecosystem approach concept.
My work broadly surrounds exploring ways of enabling sustainability within cities, from radical greening initiatives, to urban agriculture, guerrilla gardening and beyond. I have been involved in over 50 projects in the likes of Africa, North America, Europe and across the UK. An example with the latter can be seen with Northern Roots, the largest urban farm in the country, on which I have led research teams on since its creation.
I am currently Senior Editor for Taylor & Francis’ Cogent Social Sciences and hold editorial positions on the likes of Agronomy, Frontiers in Sustainable Food, the Journal of Inclusive Cities & Built Environment and the Journal for Horticulture, Landscape Engineering and Architecture. I have led Special Issues and published widely in the likes of Urban Studies, the British Medical Journal Open, Landscape and Urban Planning and other journals. I have also authored a book and multiple book chapters with various publishers. An example here can be seen with my book Informal Urban Agriculture published by Springer, which critically explores the guerrilla gardening and urban farming movements.
Stemming from this work, I have keynoted at a wide variety of major global events, such as the international Society of City and Regional Planners Congress in South Africa to a UNESCO event in Oregon, USA and other keynotes in the likes of France, Slovakia and across the UK. I have also acted as a regular media commentator in the likes of the British and global presses, alongside appearing in documentaries on climate change and other forms of media.
Alongside my academic roles, I hold several non-academic positions with organisations, from an ambassador for Social Farms & Gardens to an advisor for Food Sync and member of a number of other similar organisations. I also hold several visiting researcher positions in the likes of Europe, Africa and North America; an example here can be seen with my work with Toronto Metropolitan University’s Carrot City Research Group, which aims to capture innovative examples of urban agricultural initiatives across the globe.
Areas of research
Urban Agriculture, Sustainable Cities, Planning, Green Infrastructure, Food Security
Areas of supervision
Urban agriculture, Green infrastructure, Urban sustainability, Planning, Human geography, Food security
I have previously acted as Programme Leader at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside creating several of our degree programmes (e.g. MSc Sustainability) and many of our existing modules. Alongside this, I have acted as an external examiner and validator at several institutions, ranging from the University of the West of England (2018 – 2022) to the Cambridge Education Group (2016 – 2020) and other universities.
I currently teach across all levels and lead modules ranging from Sustainable Cities to Planning & Policies of Urban Environments, Contemporary Issues in Sustainability and Sustainability & Environment. Alongside this, I contribute to other modules on topics such as research methods to environmental protection, resource security and beyond.
My research interests are interdisciplinary and surround the broad area of urban sustainability, with my work particularly focusing on the idea of urban agriculture and city greening initiatives. My early work focussed on informal approaches to greening cities, through activities such as guerrilla gardening. More recently, my work has focussed more explicitly on larger-scaled interventions, such as urban farming, rooftop growing and other concepts. This has led to global research in the likes of South Africa to work with UNESCO in North America and other bodies.
- PhD in Planning, Birmingham City University
- MA in the Contemporary City, Manchester Metropolitan University
- PGCE in Academic Practice, University of Salford
- BSc (Hons) Geography, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (including co-founder of the Food Geographies Research Group)
- Fellow of Advance HE
- Member of the Town & Country Planning Association
- Member of the British Sociological Association
- Other memberships, such as ISOCARP
I supervise a wide range of PGRs from around the world who focus on topics ranging from urban agriculture to radical greening, innovations in public health, environmental impact, flood mitigation and beyond. I was recently awarded a Highly Commended prize in the best PhD supervisor awards across the institution for my PGR work. My PhD students include recent graduates, to lecturers from other institutions and directors of major organisations, both at a national and international level. I welcome PGR applications which focus on my areas of research around the broad field of urban sustainability studies.