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Professor Chris Hamnett

Emeritus Professor

  • Board member for Menzies Australia Institute

Research interests

  • Geography


Professor Chris Hamnett began at King’s in 1995. Before this, he had a long career at the Open University interspersed with numerous visiting positions including UBC, George Washington University, ANU, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, Nuffield College Oxford, where he held the Sir Norman Chester Senior Research Fellowship, and recently at Sciences Po, Paris. 

He is regarded as a leading British expert on housing wealth and inheritance and a leading researcher in the fields of social polarisation, gentrification and housing. He has authored or co-authored a number of books including Cities, Housing and Profits (1989), Shrinking the State: the political underpinnings of privatisation (1998) Winners and Losers: home ownership in modern Britain (1999), Unequal City: London in the global arena (2003) and with Tim Butler, Ethnicity, Class and Aspiration: remaking London's New East End (2011). 

He was a member of the Dutch equivalent of the RAE geography team in 2000-2001, and in 2006 he was on the international assessment panel for the departments of geography and urban studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has held a variety of external examiner posts at the universities of Reading, Sheffield, Nottingham, Oxford, Birkbeck and Oxford amongst others. He is on the editorial boards of several academic journals.

He was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2007 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2010. He was awarded the Back Meal of the Royal Geographical Society in 2010. He is a contributor on economic and social issues to the Independent, The Financial Times, the Guardian and other newspapers.


  • Urban social change
  • Housing and gentrification
  • The geography of education and welfare
  • Inequality, social polarisation and social exclusion especially in London
  • Urbanisation and economic and social change in China

In the mid-1980s, his research on the flat break-up and conversion market in London led to his being appointed as member and research director of the Nugee Committee of Inquiry into the problems of purpose-built flats. The findings and recommendations of this committee which received all party support in Parliament led directly to the 1987 Landlord and Tenants Act.

His current research is on the links between social class, ethnic change, the housing market and education in East London, the impact of welfare benefit cuts in London. His knowledge of the housing market in London was recognised by his becoming a Westminster housing commissioner in 2005-6 and an Ealing Housing Commissioner in 2011.