Michael Martin

Assistant Professor in Urban Design, Dr (PhD Planning & Environmental Management)

  • Rendsburggade 14, 6-313

    9000 Aalborg



Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research profile

I joined the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology at Aalborg University as Assistant Professor in Urban Design in 2017. I previously worked at the University of Manchester, UK as well as urban design/planning consultancy firm Urban Imprint. As an undergraduate I studied urban planning before undertaking a master’s specialism in urban design. My PhD, with an urban studies/planning emphasis, analysed temporary uses in urban regeneration.

My research/teaching focuses on the design, planning and development of cities. Within these areas, I have developed specialisms relative to three complementary research strands spanning the disciplines of urban design, urban studies and planning:

  • Urban vacancy, regeneration and temporary use
  • Child-friendly cities - promoting playful places
  • Applied urban design: processes and practices of sustainable placemaking

I have undertaken funded research in the UK and Denmark by the ESRC as well as Capital of Children/LEGO Foundation and published my results in leading international journals including Planning Practice and Research, Town Planning Review and Urban Studies as well as national/regional journals such as Trafik & Veje (Denmark). Having practiced professionally as an urban designer and planner in the UK from 2012-15, I am acutely aware of the value of positioning my research and teaching in the context of contemporary policy debates and real-world challenges that demand cutting-edge approaches to the design, planning and development of cities.

Teaching profile

My research and teaching is international in focus and sits within the broad scope of urban design and planning. I am a professionally accredited urban designer and planner (RTPI, IDA) and have a passion for developing and delivering innovative, research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels that promotes critical thinking, professional competencies and the development of reflective practitioners. In 2019, I was honoured to be awarded the Teacher of the Year by the Study Board of Architecture and Design at Aalborg University (nominated by students). I specialise in teaching students the process, application and practice of contextually responsive urban design at multiple scales in the built environment. A co-authored monograph that details this approach is to be published by Routledge in Fall 2022, entitled ‘Applied Urban Design’.

 I am module leader for:

  • Analysing Urban Transformation (MSc Urban Design)
  • Constructing and Designing Performative Urban Environments (MSc Urban Design)
  • Urban and Mobilities Design in Post-Conflict Societies, International Study Trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland (MSc Urban Design; MSc Mobilities and Urban Studies)
  • MSc Thesis (Urban Design)
  • MSc Thesis (Mobilities and Urban Studies)

I also contribute to teaching/supervision on the module Sustainable Urban Transformation (MSc Urban Design) and to modules taught as part of the Bachelor programme in Architecture and Design.

Education/Academic qualification

Planning & Environmental Management, PhD, University of Manchester

Urban Planning/Design, Master of Town & Country Planning (Hons), University of Manchester


  • Architecture and Spatial Planning
  • Urban vacancy
  • Urban regeneration
  • Temporary use
  • Brownfield land
  • Urban crises
  • Urban competitiveness
  • Child friendly cities
  • Urban childhoods
  • Urban design
  • Sustainable placemaking
  • Applied urban design
  • Design processes
  • Education
  • Contextually responsive design
  • Urban design/planning pedagogy


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