• Shore Road, Jordanstown Campus

    BT37 0QB Newtownabbey

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


Dr Gavan Rafferty, PhD, MSc, BA (Hons.), Pg Cert HEP, MRTPI, FHEA, is a Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Development at the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Ulster University. Gavan is the BSc/MSci Planning, Regeneration and Development Course Director. 

Before his lectureship at Ulster University, Gavan had a temporary Lectureship (2007-2009) and was a Research Assistant (2005-2007) at Queen's University Belfast, and was a Development Control Officer (2004-2005) at the (then) Planning Service in Northern Ireland. Gavan is a member of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and is past Chairperson of the RTPI Northern Ireland Branch (2009-2010).

Research Interests

Dr Rafferty is a member of the Research on Property and Planning (RPP) centre within the Built Environment Research Institute at Ulster University, and his research interests include:

  • the interplay between community planning (integrated service delivery) and spatial planning (land use development)
  • community engagement, rights and co-production in community planning and spatial planning
  • inclusive and healthy planning, including the co-design of chlid-friendly and age-friendly places
  • regeneration and urban governance in post-conflict societies/contested spaces
  • European and cross-border spatial planning 

Current and Recent Grants

BelfastTHRIVES - Transformative Health and Regeneration Initiatives for Vibrancy, Equality and Sustainability

Rafferty, G., CoI, Architecture Built Environment and Planning (UoA 13)

Leavey, G., CoI, Psychology Psychiatry and Neuroscience (UoA 4)

Golden, S., PI, Architecture Built Environment and Planning (UoA 13)

Belfast City Council: £30,000.00

1/12/20 → 31/08/21

Models of spatial planning and development in a post-Brexit landscape: collaborating across external borders

Rafferty, G.Hewitt, N.Blair, N. & Mc Elduff, L.

Dept. of Foreign Affairs - Republic of Ireland: £4,989.00

1/01/17 → 31/12/18

Greater Monkstown Place Shaping Pilot

Rafferty, G. & Blair, N. (Principal Investigators)

Antrim & N'abbey Borough in collaboration with (then) PLACE: £1,500.00

1/03/17 → 28/02/20

Community Participation in Planning: Learning and Skills Framework

Rafferty, G. (Principal Investigator)

C.E.C. Erasmus+: £182,954.00

1/01/15 → 27/02/17

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, From ‘Contested Space’ to ‘Shared Space’? A longitudinal study on the relationship between people, place and power in Belfast, Queen's Univeristy Belfast

Award Date: 14 Dec 2017

Fellow of Higher Education Academy, Higher EducationAcademy

Award Date: 7 Nov 2011

Post-graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PgCHEP), Ulster Univesity

Award Date: 7 Nov 2011

Master, MSc Town and Country Planning (with Distinction) , Queen's Univeristy Belfast

Award Date: 15 Dec 2004

Bachelor, BSc (Hons) Geography, Queen's Univeristy Belfast

Award Date: 10 Jul 2002

External positions

External Examiner, University College London

Sept 2019Jul 2023

Research Associate, Governance International

Senior Research Associate, International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD)

RTPI Partnership Board Chairperson, University of Dundee


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • G Geography (General)
  • Community Engagement
  • Regeneration
  • Spatial Planning
  • Community Planning
  • Shared Space
  • Healthy Communities
  • Cross-border Spatial Planning


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