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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Andrea Armstrong

Research Associate in the Department of Geography
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 104

Contact Dr Andrea Armstrong (email at


BSc Environment and Development, Durham University

PhD Geography, Durham University. Thesis title ‘Creating sustainable communities in NewcastleGateshead’ 

Current Research

Andrea is currently working on the NATURVATION project. Led by Durham University, NATURVATION involves 14 institutions across Europe working in fields as diverse as urban development, innovation studies, geography, ecology, environmental assessment and economics. The partnership includes city governments, non-governmental organisations and business. The research will assess what nature-based solutions can achieve in cities, examine how innovation is taking place, and work with communities and stakeholders to develop the knowledge and tools required to realise the potential of nature-based solutions for meeting urban sustainability goals.

Previous Research Projects

The Trust Map funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), in partnership with Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and is one of a cluster of projects funded under the “Empathy and Trust In Communicating Online” (EMoTICON) call. The Trust Map project is explored the ways in which trust (and legacies of mistrust) can lead to social exclusion and power imbalances within minority communities in the UK. While many of these issues have been examined separately, no previous research has examined in detail the relationships between trust, mistrust, power and the role digital technologies may play within communities in mitigating or reaffirming these issues.

Imagine: connecting communities through research: a large ESRC-funded research project involving four research teams (coordinated by Brighton, Durham, Sheffield and Edinburgh Universities). The aim of Imagine is to explore the social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic participation, based around the theme of ‘imagining different communities and making them happen’.Imagine2 is the historical strand led by Durham University and it takes as its starting point three former Community Development Project (CDP) areas – Benwell (in Newcastle upon Tyne), part of North Shields and Hillfields (in Coventry). The CDP was Britain’s first national area-based anti-poverty programme in the 1970s. As well as looking back to the CDPs we also looked to the future. In each area, teams of university researchers (from Durham and Warwick Universities) and a range of community organisations undertook research and a programme of related activities. We looked at the history of regeneration in each area, how local people have been involved (or not), the visions of local people, community workers, policy-makers and politicians (and how these may differ) and consider what we can learn about how local communities can be engaged in imagining and creating better futures for their areas.

AHRC Connected Communities Programme (Community-based participatory research: ethics and outcomes). The aim of the project was to provide a critical overview of a range of literature on participatory approaches to community-based research with a particular focus on ethical issues and the evaluation of outcomes, drawing on national and international experience. The process of producing the literature review was participatory and involved academics from different disciplines at Durham University, an international advisory board and community partners.

Beacon North East Co-Inquiry Action Research (CAR) project. The CAR project involved Durham and Newcastle University staff and community partners and aimed to explore co-inquiry as an approach to community-university collaboration. The main outputs from the project were disseminated through the Beacon North East and National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) websites.

She has also worked as an action researcher with the Thrive project in Thornaby on Tees exploring debt and financial exclusion and wellbeing with fifty low income households.

Whilst working on her doctorate, Andrea taught on undergraduate modules in the Department of Geography, was an academic tutor for human geography and worked on numerous projects as a research assistant. These include working with Prof Harriet Bulkeley (Durham University) and other colleagues in Durham and Oxford Universities on World Bank (see publication below) and United Nations ‘Cities and Climate Change’ projects (co-authored book chapter May 2011.

Andrea is a Fellow of Royal Geographic Society and a member of the Association of American Geographers.

Research Interests

Andrea's research interests include:

  1. Community-based participatory research, with a focus on ethical issues and dilemmas
  2. Urban transformations, with a focus on geographies of demolition, mobile policies and urban imaginaries/visions
  3. Community-based responses to climate change and energy, with a focus on micro-hydro, equity and vulnerability

Research Interests

  • Community-based participatory research
  • Urban politics, policies and theories
  • Community energy and climate change

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2014: Research Impact Award: Durham University Award for Excellence in Research Impact, April 2014 (with Sarah Banks)

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • Armstrong, Andrea Twentieth century urban regeneration policy in Britain: charting discourses of ‘community’ and ‘sustainability. In: Lee, K Administrative justice for the qualitative evaluation. ChoMyung Publisher, Seoul, Korea; 2013:191-210.
  • Armstrong, A Twentieth century urban regeneration policy in Britain: charting discourses of community and sustainability. In: Lee, K Administrative justice for the qualitative evaluation. ChoMyung Publisher; 2012:191 - 210.
  • Bulkeley, H., Schroeder, H., Janda, K., Zhao, J., Armstrong, A., Yi Chu, S. & Ghosh, S. Cities and climate change: the role of institutions, governance and urban planning. In: Hoornweg, Daniel, Freire, Mila, Lee, Marcus J., Bhada-Tata, Perinaz & Yuen, Belinda Cities and climate change: responding to an urgent agenda. Washington: World Bank; 2011:125-159.

Book review

  • Armstrong, A Housing and Inequality. Housing Studies. 2012.
  • Armstrong, A Affluence, second home ownership and mobility. Housing Studies. 2011;26:967-969.

Doctoral Thesis

Other (Print)

  • Armstrong, Andrea & Banks, Sarah Imagining Benwell: Past, Present and Future. 2015;24.
  • Armstrong, Andrea & Banks, Sarah Imagining North Shields: Past, Present and Future. 2015;24.
  • Armstrong, A & Bulkeley, H New climate change initiatives in the UK: Energyshare and Hexham River Hydro - Research Briefing. 2013.
  • Armstrong, A & Bulkeley, H New climate change initiatives in the UK: HSBC – Research Briefing. 2013.


  • Armstrong, A Community development in austerity. Newcastle upon Tyne: Imagining Benwell Workshop; 2016.
  • Armstrong, A, Banks, S, Bonner, A & Johnson, L Imagining Benwell and North Shields: from the National Community Development Projecrs (1970s) to ‘Our Place’ and beyond. London: Empowering Communities and Making Change Happen Policy Seminar with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG); 2016.
  • Armstrong, A North Tyneside Community Development Project: legacies and lessons. North Shields, England: Imagining North Shields Workshop; 2016.
  • Armstrong, A, Craig, G, Hall, Y & Smith, K Re-gilding the ghetto: pictures of life in the North East from the 1970s to the present day. Millenium Gallery, Sheffield: Imagine 2016 Annual Event; 2016.
  • Armstrong, A, Banks, S & Craig, G Lessons and Legacies of the Community Development Projects of the 1970s, Revisting the Benwell CDP, 1972 to 2015. Hinsley Hall, Leeds: History of Youth and Community Work Conference; 2015.
  • Armstrong, Andrea, Banks, Sarah, Hall, Yvonne, Smith, Kath & Taylor, Ruth Whose community? Whose history? Issues and challenges when doing community-based historical research. Huddersfield University, UK: 3rd Annual Imagine Conference; 2015.
  • Armstrong, A A geography of demolition: politics, justifications and experiences. York, England: Housing Studies Association Conference; 2011.


  • Armstrong, A & Pattison, B Delivering effective regeneration: learning from Bridging NewcastleGateshead. 2012.

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