Find out more about the people who make up the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI).


Prof James Evans (Director)

Prof James Evans is the Director of the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) where he leads the ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’ research theme.

He is Professor of Geography and former Head of the Department of Geography in the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED).

His research focuses on how cities learn to become smarter and more sustainable.

He has published widely, with over 40 peer-reviewed papers and two authored books in the field, and his work on Urban Living Labs has been foundational across the social sciences.

He led the University's involvement in Triangulum, a £25million Horizon 2020 project to establish smart districts across Europe, and the Manchester Urban Observatory, a £1million EPSRC-funded initiative as part of the UKCRIC portfolio.

Prof Karen Lucas (Deputy Director)

Prof Karen Lucas is Deputy Director of MUI where she leads the ‘Transport and Mobilities’ research theme.

She is Professor of Human Geography and Director of Research in the Department of Geography in SEED.

Karen has 25+ years’ experience in delivering social research into practice in transport, employing a variety of mixed methods approaches to issues of mobility, accessibility, and social justice.

Karen is a world-leading expert on transport and social justice in the Global North and South and is currently devising a new integrated methodology for the social assessment of road projects for National Highways.

Emma Tsoneva (Acting Research Manager)

Emma Tsoneva started work as the Institute Manager of the MUI in August 2023.

In addition to supporting Manchester urban scholars in elevating world-class research, Emma is helping develop MUI’s research and funding strategies as well as driving the institute’s stakeholder engagement.

Emma is the point of contact for enquiries about the Institute.

Emma’s background is in university research administration.

She has a particular interest in developing international projects and has coordinated the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low-Income Communities since 2017.

Emma has an MSc in Development Management (2022) from the Open University and has worked in both research and administrative capacities on several UK and European-based projects at Manchester and elsewhere.


Academic staff

Affiliated staff

  • Dave Carter
  • Vincent Goodstadt 
  • John Holden
  • Ruth Lupton
  • Neil McInroy
  • Anthony Vigo

Current PhD students

International Academic Advisory Board

  • Neil Brenner (Chicago)
  • Tim Bunnell (NUS)
  • Matthew Gandy (Cambridge)
  • Brandan Gleeson (Melbourne)
  • Mercedes Gonzalez de la Rocha (CIESAS, Mexico)
  • Arif Hasan (Karachi)
  • Jane Jacobs (NUS-Yale)
  • David Imbroscio (Louisville)
  • Roger Keil (York, Ca)
  • Zhigang Li (Wuhan University)
  • Pauline Lipman (UIC)
  • Karen Seto (Yale)
  • Eugene McCann (Simon Fraser)
  • Tim Moss (HB Zu Berlin)
  • Sue Parnell (Bristol)
  • Linda Peake (York, Ca)
  • Jamie Peck (UBC)
  • Stephanie Pincetl (UCLA)
  • Ananya Roy (UCLA)
  • Stefan Siedentop (Dortmund)
  • Matti Siemiatycki (Toronto)
  • Ivan Turok (Human Science Research Council of South Africa)
  • Pengjun Zhao (Peking)