About us

ProBE coordinates and instigates research into the planning, production, social processes and people creating the structures and spaces that frame the urban and rural built environment, nationally and globally.

In building up a portfolio of projects and outputs and a committed team of researchers, ProBE seeks to be recognised as a distinct, original and even controversial unit, not afraid to research problematic issues and to develop theoretical approaches challenging existing orthodoxies.

Core objectives

Our core objectives are to:

  • develop a coherent body of research on social processes underpinning the production of the built environment
  • research problematic issues and develop unique theoretical approaches
  • develop interaction between academics, policy-makers, practitioners, employers and trade unionists in researching key issues
  • maintain a flexible interdisciplinary research environment
  • develop the international profile of ProBE as a distinct, original and controversial unit
  • provide ProBE staff with opportunities for career development in a supportive working environment

Key questions are raised when the production of the built environment is seen as a social process; these are addressed in ProBE’s projects and are critical to its future strategy. 

Key research areas

Investigations on the built environment focus on the following areas: 

  • history
  • education, training and professional development
  • the construction industry and employment and labour issues
  • the production of space, architecture, plans, master plans and strategies

These are interrelated by a series of subsidiary research themes including:

  • equality and diversity
  • technical and social interfaces
  • innovation, social and economic change.

A multi-disciplinary approach

These key areas of research are too often addressed through mono-disciplinary lenses, which tend to ignore or oversimplify the complex interactions with the production of the built environment.

The unique strength of ProBE is that it brings these aspects together and allows the interrelationships to be studied. Researching these areas means engaging with theoretical approaches from sociology; economics; material culture; the visual arts; philosophy; education; design; law; and oral, economic, social, labour and art history.

ProBE’s programme is thus inevitably multi-disciplinary in both methodology and analysis, ranging from the use of texts, statistics, oral histories, film/video, maps and plans, photographic and other visual material. Its outputs range from written publications to seminars, visual and oral archives, exhibitions and films. 

Download ProBE's 2017 report 


Professor Linda Clarke
[email protected]
+44 (0) 207911 5000 ext. 3158

Dr Christine Wall
[email protected]
+44 (0) 207911 5000 ext. 66582

Deputy director

Colin Gleeson
[email protected]
+44 (0) 207911 5000 ext.66641

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