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Professor Chris Hamnett

Professor Chris Hamnett

Chris HamnettEmeritus Professor


Department of Geography
King's College London





Chris Hamnett has been at King’s since 1995. Before coming to King’s 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 polarization, 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 privatization (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 2000-1, 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 

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. He was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciencesin 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.

Research interests
  • 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


Coinvestigator with Tim Butler ESRC project Gentrification, Ethnic Change and Education in East London, £240k


Cultural Industries on the South Bank, for LDA (£10,000)


The loft conversion market in London, ESRC £40,000

PhD students


Mengyao Chen 
Advanced producer services in Beijing and Shanghai (2013-)

Xiaofan Jin 
Affordable Housing Development in Shanghai China (2014-)

Dong Liu 
Social Inequality in Peri-urban Space of Urbanising Cities in China (2014-)

Matthew Richmond 
Networks and social reproduction in a fragmented city: A comparison of three low-income neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro (2011-)


Dr Seon Young Lee

New Build Gentrification and Anti-Gentrification Movements in Seoul, South Korea (2011 - 2014)

Dr Rene Hohmann

2007-2011 Partnerships, Urban Policies and Institutional Change: a Comparative Analysis of Area-Based Initiatives and New Localism(s) in England and Germany

Currently working for the Urban Alliance at the World Bank.

Dr Adriana Soaita

2006-2011 Unregulated Housing Privatism: a Comparative Analysis of the Nature and Extent of Housing Problems and Resident Responses in Two Forms of Romanian Urban Housing

Currently working as Research Fellow for the Centre for Housing Research.

Dr Xiaochun Chen

2005-2010 Different Cities, Different Practices? Assessing the Strategic Behaviour of Environmental NGOs in China

Dr Priya Kissoon

2000-2007 Homelessness Reconsidered: Refugees' Housing Experiences and Perceptions of Home in Canada and the UK

Currently Lecturer in Geography, University of the West Indies

Dr Rebecca Finkel

2002-2007 The Role of Combined Arts in Festivals in the UK Cultural Economy

Currently Senior Lecturer, St Margarets College, Edinburgh

Dr Kathleen Noreisch

2003-2007 Catchment Areas, Ethnic School Complosition and Parental Choice at Primary Schools in Berlin, Germany

Currently Teaching in Berne

Dr Inge Van Nieuwenhuyze (Co-Supervisor With Margaret Byron)

2003-2007 Getting By in Europe's Urban Labour Markets: the Case of Senegambian Migrants in Antwerp And Barcelona

Currently working for the City of Antwerp in the Ethnic Policy Unit

Dr Paula Pennanen

1997-2003 Policies And Impacts of Urban Regeneration: Waterfront Regeneration in Helsinki, Finland, 1980-2000

Currently Administrator on UNDP Programme, Malawi

Dr Zhengji Fu

1997-2003 The State, Capital and Urban Restructuring in Post-Reform Shanghai

Currently Senior Private Sector Company Manager, Shanghai

Dr Paul Watt

1996-2002 The Dynamics of Social Class and Housing: a Study of Local Authority Tenants in the London Borough of Camden

Currently Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Birkbeck College

Dr Drew Whitelegg 

1993-1997 He Visible And The Invisible: The Production Of Image in Atlanta Georgia, Research Fellow, Emory University, Atlanta 

Impact, innovation and outreach
Appointed Housing Commissioner for Ealing

Appointed Housing Commissioner for Westminster 

Consultant to London Development Agency, producing annotated bibliography on the role of the Cultural and Creative Industries in London’s South Bank.   

Consultant to University of Hong Kong study of the Cultural and Creative Industries for the Hong Kong Central Policy Unit. 

Member of German Ministry of Planning Expert Advisory Group producing its background report Cities in the 21st century for Habitat 2000.  

Newspaper articles

Chris Hamnett is a contributor to the Independent and Guardian newspapers and an occasional contributor to the Times and the Financial Times.

Financial Times 
Hamnett, C (2004) Mansions maketh man, weekend, 31 July 

Hamnett, C (2004) Moving in and up, weekend, 9 July 

Hamnett, C (2007) Has the UK housing market reached a tipping point? 28 November 

Hamnett, C (2007) City squeeze could end London’s home shortage, 28 November 

The Times 
Hamnett, C (2008) Great news! House prices are down: A market correction is essential, 28 January 2008 

The Guardian 
Hamnett, C (2008) Home truths for mortgage lenders, 21 November 

Hamnett, C. (2008) Credit crash, 8 November 

Hamnett, C (2008) The Leeson lesson November 1st 

Hamnett, C (2008) It’s not nationalization by stealth, 8 October 

Hamnett, C (2008) The credit crisis: it’s not over yet, 8 October 

Hamnett, C (2008) Stop rewarding greedy failures, 2 October 

Hamnett, C (2008) Demutually assured destruction, 30 September 

Hamnett, C (2008) Intervention isn’t a dirty word, 25 September 

Hamnett, C (2008) Selling us short, 18 September 

Hamnett, C (2008) Squeezing the taxpayer, 15 September 

Hamnett, C (2008) The housing market needs a kick, not a holiday, 2 September 

Hamnett, C (2008) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and a Nightmare on Wall Street, 14 July 

Hamnett, C (2008) Winners and losers in the Education debate, 13 July 

Hamnett, C (2008) The regeneration game, 11 July 

Hamnett, C (2008) Rebuilding the housing market, 19 May 

Hamnett, C (2008) Buy to let – or to lose? 5 May 

Hamnett, C (2008) Owning the past, 15 April 

Hamnett, C (2008) The hand that rocks the markets, April 9th 

Hamnett, C (2008) Hit and miss, 9 February 

Hamnett, C (2008) The tide of wealth has turned, 28 January 

Hamnett, C (2008) Location, location, location, 20 January 

Hamnett, C (2008) Worlds apart, 17 January 

The Independent 
Hamnett, C (1999) Time to reflect on house price booms, 30 August 

Hamnett, C (2002) North-south divide may narrow but not for long, 6 August 

Hamnett, C. (2002) Whatever happened to Nigel Lawson’s nation of inheritors? 15 August 

Hamnett, C (2003) Few find London’s streets paved with gold as earnings in the capital become divided, 21 August 

Hamnett, C (2003) Incomes grow more unequal as the South still takes the lion’s share, 28 August 

Hamnett, C (2004) Trend to greater equality reversed by the ‘winner-take-all society’, 3 August 

Hamnett, C (2004) Can the Bank of England win a game of reverse monopoly? 23 August 

Hamnett, C (2004) Who wins most from the benefits system? 23 August 



For a full list of publications, please visit Professor Hamnett's research profile.



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