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Theodor Barry Born


PhD student

Room Number: Geography Building, Room 218


Research interests: urban informality, dwelling, everyday practices, markets, bureaucracy and regulation, the prosaic state, borders, infrastructure, rights, contestation

PhD working title: Interfaces of housing informality: assembling housing infrastructures, markets, and rights in London

PhD research: My research focuses on informal and quasi-legal housing practices in London – for instance ‘beds in sheds’, overcrowding, day tenants sharing with night tenants, sub-letting, and ‘sofa surfing’. First, the research attends to these forms of housing as situated, everyday practices in their own right, encompassing distinctive economic arrangements, social realities, and makeshift infrastructures. Second, building on an understanding of informality as both a mode of urbanisation and the outcome of ongoing negotiations, the research will examine the legal, political, and normative production of housing informality through the interface of these practices with the state, housing markets, advice organisations, and housing activism.


Academic background

  • MRes Geography, Queen Mary University of London
  • MSc Middle East Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford


  • Tinson, A., Ayrton, C., Barker, K., Barry Born, T., Long O., 2017. London’s Poverty Profile 2017. London: Trust for London.
  • Tinson, A., Ayrton, C., Barker, K., Barry Born, T., Aldridge, H., Kenway, P., 2016. Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2016. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Funding awards

  • Economic and Social Research Council studentship


  • Research Methods for Geographers and Environmental Scientists (1st year undergraduate course) – practical workshop assistant
  • Reinventing Britain (1st year undergraduate course) – field trip assistant


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