Monica Degen**



I joined Brunel University in 2004 after having worked as a Research Fellow in the Human Geography department at the Open University. I completed my MSc at the Cultural Studies Department, Birmingham and my PhD in 2001 at the Sociology Department, Lancaster University.


  • PhD Cultural Sociology (Lancaster University)
  • MSocSc Cultural Studies (Birmingham University)
  • BA Culture and Communication (Lancaster University)

Research area(s)

  • Cities, space and urban culture
  • The senses and embodiment
  • Material cultures
  • Sociology of everyday life

I welcome applications from potential PhD students in any of the above areas.

Membership and affiliation

  • Organizer of “Urban Salon”, a London based seminar group analysing international urbanism, in collaboration with Prof. Robinson (OU); Prof. Lees (Kings), Prof. Gandy (UCL).
  • Editorial Advisory Board Journal of Urban Culture
  • Visiting Professor, Barcelona University, Spain
  • Visiting Professor, Gothenburg University, Sweden


Research interests

As a cultural sociologist my research is interdisciplinary. My key areas of research are urban life and culture with a specific emphasis on spatial politics; the senses and embodiment with a focus on the relationship between material environment and experience, the politics of the senses and the organization of urban life; sociology of everyday life; and material cultures focusing on design and architecture and the diverse entanglements between human non-human relations. I am particularly interested in the ways in which sensory experiences mediate and are shaped by urban space and life.

Previous research projects have explored these themes from various perspectives. I completed an ESRC-funded project Urban Aesthetics with Prof Gillian Rose from the Open University in 2009 in which we explored new methods to research how people experience two very different towncentres: Milton Keynes and Bedford (ESRC grant number RES-062-23-0223).

In 2011 Prof Gillian Rose and Dr Clare Melhuish started the project 'Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the role of digital visualizing technologies in contemporary architectural practice' (ESRC grant number RES-062-23-3305) which was a two-year ethnographic study of erchitectural studios exploring how digital visualization processes and technologies are working as part of architecture and urban design, shaping new kinds of architectural work practices, as well as envisioning particular forms of social life. As part of the project we curated a two week exhibition in August 2013 at the Building Centre, London as well as an international workshop: Visualising Atmospheres.

In 2015 I started with Dr Astrid Swenson a two year AHRC Research Networking grant: "Sensory Cities: researching, representing and curating sensory-emotional landscapes of urban environments" in which we are bringing together diverse urban professionals, museum curators and academics in a series of workshops across Europe (London, Cologne and Barcelona) to discuss how to research, represent and curate sensory experience (AHRC grant number AH/M006379/1).

In 2015 I also started a one year research project with Prof. Sue Buckingham on street sexworkers in Tower Hamlets. The research was commissioned by the charity UTurn Women's Centre who wanted to find out more about the everyday lives and needs of women who street sex work and to find out how the third sector can provide appropriate services and facilities, you can access the report here: 

From January 2016 I will be a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow examining “Timescapes of Urban Change” (BA grant number MD140041). I will be examining how different perceptions of time converge or conflict in urban regeneration processes across the structural and experiential level to produce a particular sense of place. Drawing on long term fieldwork of an urban regeneration process in el Raval, Barcelona, this research explores temporal features as a crucial dimension in shaping power relations in regeneration processes.

Research project(s) and grant(s)

British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship
“Timescapes of Urban Change”
£ 127.000
January 2016- January 2017
Monica Degen (PI)

Co- investigator with Prof. S. Buckingham
“Women involved in street sex work in the UK: An analysis of service need and provision”
£72,525 Funded by UTurn Women’s Centre.
June 2015 – May 2016

Research Networking Grant
“Sensory Cities: researching, representing and curating sensory-emotional landscapes of urban
April 2015 – April 2017
Monica Degen (PI)


Architectural Atmospheres:The impact of digital technologies on architectural design practice'
October 2011 - September 2013
Monica Degen (CI)

AGAUR (Agencia de Gestio d’Ajuts Universitaris i Recerca), Catalan Government
Evaluating the social politics of urban regeneration in el Raval, Barcelona
5,840 Euros
January 2012 – January 2013
Monica Degen (PI)

Urban Aesthetics: a comparison of experiences in Milton Keynes and Bedford town centres.
Sept 2007 – April 2009
Monica Degen ( CI)



Undergraduate Programmes

Module convenor

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology of Everyday Life: Current Issues in Popular Culture
  • City Lives and Urban Cultures (yr3)

Module contributor

  • Research Methods (Yr2)
  • Writing your dissertation (Yr 3)

Postgraduate Programmes

Module convenor

  • Creative Industries


  • Staff-Student Liaison Officer

Research supervision

Iain Lindsay: Olympicisation: life in the shadow of the Olympic torch; 2009 – 2012 completed

Nessa Adams (PT): Identifying Multicultural Audiences: An Examination of the Practice and Future of Communication Agencies; 2010 – 2016

Danil Mikhailov (PT): Problems of Authority in the Emerging Online Culture; 2010 – 2015

Jasbinder Nijjar (PT): Police race relations in Southall and Tottenham, 2013-2018

Sundos Abdulrahim (FT): Audience engagement and participation in contemporary museums, 2015-2018

Selected Publications

Journal articles

Degen, MM.   (Accepted)   'Urban Regeneration and 'Resistance of Place': Foregrounding Time and Experience'. Space and CultureDownload publication 

Degen, MM. , Melhuish, C.  and Rose, G.   (2016)   '“The real modernity that is here”:understanding the role of digital visualisations in the production ofa new urban imaginary at Msheireb Downtown, Doha'. City and SocietyDownload publication 

Degen, MM. , Melhuish, C.  and Rose, G.   (2015)   'Producing Place Atmospheres Digitally: Architecture, Digital Visualisations Practices and the Experience Economy'. Journal of Consumer Culture, Forthcoming doi: 10.1177/1469540515572238 Download publication 

Degen, MM. , Rose, G.  and Melhuish, C.   (2014)   'Networks, interfaces and computer-generated images: learning from digital visualisations of urban redevelopment projects'. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 32 (2).  pp. 386 - 403. Download publication 

Buckingham, S.  and Degen, M.   (2012)   'Sensing our way: Using yoga as a research method'. The Senses and Society, 7 (3).  pp. 329 - 344. doi: 10.2752/174589312X13394219653644 

Degen, MM.  and Rose, G.   (2012)   'The sensory experiencing of urban design: The role of walking and perceptual memory'. Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies, 49 (15).  pp. 3271 - 3287. doi: 10.1177/0042098012440463 

Degen, M.  and Garcia, S.   (2012)   'The Transformation of the ‘Barcelona Model’: An Analysis of Culture, Urban Regeneration and Governance'. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 36 (5).  pp. 1022 - 1038. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2427.2012.01152.x 

Degen, M.  and Wainwright, E.   (2010)   'Wallpaper* city guides and gendering the urban aesthetic'. Tourist Studies, 10 (2).  pp. 155 - 174. doi: 10.1177/1468797611403056 

Rose, G. , Degen, M.  and Basdas, B.   (2010)   'More on ‘big things’: Building events and feelings'. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35 (3).  pp. 334 - 349. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2010.00388.x 

Degen, M. , Rose, G.  and Basdas, B.   (2010)   'Bodies and everyday practices in designed urban environments'. Science Studies, 23 (2).  pp. 60 - 76. Download publication 

Rose, G. , Basdas, B.  and Degen, M.   (2009)   'Using websites to disseminate research on urban spatialities'. Geography Compass, 3 (6).  pp. 2098 - 2108. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2009.00285.x Download publication 

Degen, M. , DeSilvey, C.  and Rose, G.   (2008)   'Experiencing visualities in designed urban environments: learning from Milton Keynes'. Environment and Planning A, 40 (8).  pp. 1901 - 1920. doi: 10.1068/a39208 

Degen, MM. , Hinchliffe, S. , Whatmore, S.  and Kearnes, M.   (2007)   'Ecologies and economies of action - sustainability, calculations and other things'. Environment and Planning, 39 

Hinchliffe, S. , Degen, M. , Kearnes, M.  and Whatmore, S.   (2005)   'Urban wild things: a cosmopolitical experiment'. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 23 (5).  pp. 643 - 658. doi: 10.1068/d351t 

Degen, M.   (2003)   'Fighting for the global catwalk: formalizing public life in Castlefield (Manchester) and diluting public life in el Raval (Barcelona)'. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27 (4).  pp. 867 - 880. doi: 10.1111/j.0309-1317.2003.00488.x 


Degen, M.   (2010) Culture and agency: contemporary culture and urban change.  Plymouth University Press 

Degen, M.  and Garcia, M.   (2008) La metaciudad: Barcelona: transformación de una metrópolis (The meta-city: Barcelona - transformation of a metropolis).  Anthropos 

Degen, MM.   (2008) Sensing cities: regenerating public life in Barcelona and Manchester.  Routledge 

Book chapters

Degen, MM.  and Rose, G.  (2016)   'Dimming the scintillating glow of unwork: looking at digital visualisations of urban redevelopment projects', in Lindner, C.  and Jordan, S. (eds.) Cities Interrupted Visual Culture and Urban Space.  Bloomsbury Academic 

Degen, MM.  (2014)   'The everyday city of the senses', in Paddison, R.  and McCann, E. (eds.) Cities and Social Change.  Sage (Forthcoming)  

Degen, MM.  (2010)   'Consuming urban rhythms: Let’s ravalejar', in Edensor, T. (ed.) Geographies of Rhythm.  Aldershot Ashgate Publishing Download publication 

Degen, MM.  (2010)   'The urban green: passionate involvements with urban natures', in Miles, M.  and Degen, M. (eds.) Culture and Agency: Contemporary Culture and Urban Change.  Univerity of Plymouth Press 

Degen, MM.  and Garcia, M.  (2008)   'Introduction: Barcelona: spaces, cultures and societies', in The Meta-city: Barcelona – Transformation of a Metropolis.  Barcelona Anthropos 

Degen, MM.  (2008)   'Modelling a new Barcelona: the design of public life', in The Meta-city: Barcelona – Transformation of a Metropolis.  Barcelona Anthropos 

Degen, M.  (2004)   'Barcelona's games: the Olympics, urban design, and global tourism', in Sheller, M.  and Urry, J. (eds.) Tourism Mobilities: Places to Play, Places in Play.  London Routledge (1) : pp. 131 - 142. 


Degen, MM. , Buckingham, S.  and Marandet, E.   (2016)  Women involved in street sex work in the UK: An analysis of service need and provision.  Place of publication: U-Turn Women's Project Download publication 

Page last updated: Tuesday 24 May 2016