Profile image of Dr Gavan Rafferty

Dr Gavan Rafferty

Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Development

Profile image of Dr Gavan Rafferty


Belfast School of Architecture & the Be


Built Environment Research


Room 04B06 Shore Road Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB



Dr Gavan Rafferty, PhD, MSc, BA (Hons.), MRTPI, Pg Cert HEP, FHEA, is a Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Development at the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment, and is a member of the Built Environment Research Institute (BERI). He joined Ulster University in 2009, having previously worked as a Lecturer (2007-2009) and Research Assistant (2005-2007) at Queen's University Belfast, and a Development Control Officer (2004-2005) at the (then) Planning Service in Northern Ireland.

His doctoral research comprised a longitudinal study of ‘contested space’ and ‘shared space’ in Belfast, examining the relationship between ‘people’, ‘place’ and ‘power’.  Gavan has a Master of Science (MSc) in Town and Country Planning, with Distinction, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography from Queen's University Belfast.

Gavan's research interests include: the interplay between community planning (integrated service delivery) and spatial planning (land use development); community engagement and participation; regeneration and urban governance in post-conflict societies/contested spaces; inclusive planning for creating healthy places; European and cross-border spatial planning. He was project coordinator of the ERASMUS+ (Community Participation in Planning - CPiP) project at Ulster University, collaborating with Community Places (UK), the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) to co-design, teach and test different ways of engaging stakeholders in both spatial planning (place-making) and community planning (service delivery).

Gavan is a member of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) - and is a past Chairperson of the RTPI Northern Ireland Branch (2009-2010). He is Ulster University’s representative on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Community Planning Officers Working Group, and representative on Belfast Healthy Cities’ Healthy Places Group.  He has worked with a number of local authorities and government agencies in the fields of spatial/land use planning, community planning and community engagement.