Michael Keith Professor and Director of PEAK Urban

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Michael Keith is Professor at COMPAS, University of Oxford, Director of the PEAK Urban Research programme, co-ordinator of Urban Transformations (The ESRC portfolio of investments and research on cities), and co-Director of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities. Since June 2021, he is Co-Investigator on the Open City research project.

He was the Director of COMPAS until October 2019, a position that he held for over a decade but has stepped down from 2019 until 2023 to focus on the PEAK Urban programme.

His research focuses on migration related processes of urban change. His most recent work is the monograph China Constructing Capitalism: Economic Life and Urban Change (2014). His recent publications are Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city (2020), and African Cities and Collaborative Futures (2021), both published by Manchester University Press.

He has experience outside the academy working in the community and voluntary sector and as a politician for twenty years in the East End of London, leader of a London local authority and founder, chair and board member of a wide range of urban regeneration companies and public/private partnerships. He has also several decades experience in the voluntary sector, initially in organisations focusing on racism and the criminal justice system and more recently as the co-founder and chair of the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, the largest multicultural arts centre in the UK.


Jacobs: If/When – Mobility & Future Cities: The Direction Ahead


Select Publications

See publications tab above for further details


Gómez, Jairo A.; Guan, ChengHe; Tripathy, Pratyush; Duque, Juan C.; Passos, Santiago; Keith, Michael; Liu, Jialin. 2021. Analyzing the Spatiotemporal Uncertainty in Urbanization Predictions, J. Remote Sens.13, no. 3: 512, https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13030512

Guan, C., Song, J., Keith, M., Zhang, B., Akiyama, Y., Da, L., Shibasaki, R., & Sato, T. (2021), Seasonal variations of park visitor volume and park service area in Tokyo: A mixed-method approach combining big data and field observations, Journal of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Volume 58, 126973, ISSN 1618-8667, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2020.126973 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1618866720307901)

Keith, M., & de Souza Santos, A. A. (eds) (2021) African cities and collaborative futures, Manchester, England: Manchester University Press
Incl. chapters:
– Introduction: Urban presence and uncertain futures in African cities (Michael Keith with Andreza de Souza Santos)
– ‘From an ‘infrastructural turn’ to the platform logics of logistics (Michael Keith with Andreza de Souza Santos)


Garnett, E., Keith, M., Gidley, B., & Ahmed, N. (2020) Shared Devotions: space, faith and community in East LondonHistoric England

Guan, C., Keith, M., & Hong, A. (2020) Designing walkable cities and neighborhoods in the era of urban big dataUrban Planning International 01 Jan 2020, DOI:10.22217/upi.2019.389

Guan, C., Song, J., Keith, M., Akiyama, Y., Shibasaki, R., & Sato, T. (2020) Delineating urban park catchment areas using mobile phone data: A case study of Tokyo, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 81:101474-101474 Article number 101474 01 May 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2020.101474

Keith, M., & de Souza Santos, A. A. (eds) (2020) Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city, Manchester, England: Manchester University Press; Publication date: 25 Aug 2020
Incl. chapters:
– ‘Urban transformation and public health in future cities’ (pp1-35) and the conclusion
– ‘City DNA, public health and a new urban imaginary’ (pp198-212)

Keith, M., O’Clery, N., Parnell, S., & Revi, A. (2020), The future of the future city? The new urban sciences and a PEAK Urban interdisciplinary disposition, Cities Journal, 105 Article number 102820 29 Jun 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2020.102820

The future of the future city? The new urban sciences and a PEAK Urban interdisciplinary disposition
Briefing | 04/08/2020

Future Cities, New Economy, and Shared City Prosperity Driven by Technological Innovations
Report | 13/02/2020


Keith, M. (2019) ‘Philosophies of Commensuration, Value and Worth in the Future City Rethinking the Interdisciplinary’, in Philosophy and the City Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Perspectives, Jacobs, Keith, Malpas, Jeff, (eds) pp. 217-233, Rowman and Littlefield, London and New York


Ahmed, N., Garnett, J., Gidley, B., Harris, A., & Keith, M. (2016) Shifting markers of identity in East London’s diasporic religious spaces, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39:2, 223-242,DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1105993




Attitudes to Migrants, Communication and Local Leadership (AMICALL)

Sarah Spencer, Michael Keith and COMPAS Communications | 2011 – 2012

PEAK Urban

Michael Keith, Mikal Mast, Rosaleen Cunningham, Bhawani Buswala and ChengHe Guan | 1 October 2017 - 31 December 2021

Risk Cultures in China: An Economic Sociology?

Michael Keith | 2006 – 2009

Social Externalities: China, India, Africa

Michael Keith | 2010 - 2011

Urban Transformations Coordination

Michael Keith, Igor Calzada, Mikal Mast and Nathan Grassi | 2015 - 2019