Christine Manley BA (Hons) Architecture, DipArch, MArch (by Conversion)

Job Title:

PhD Research Student


Mackintosh School of Architecture



A Sense of Enclosure
Study at Bishopsfield, Harlow

A Sense of Enclosure


Christine Manley

New Town Urbanity: Theory and Practice in Housing Design at Harlow

Supervisors: Dr Robert Proctor, Professor Florian Urban

Christine Hui Lan Manley is currently in her final year of PhD study at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. Her research centres on the concept of ‘urbanity’ – a notion which developed in Britain through the architectural discourse of the 1940s and 50s. Modernist architects, particularly Sir Frederick Gibberd, considered urbanity to be a visual town-like quality. Christine’s PhD research investigates how urbanity was defined and understood by the architectural avant-garde during the Post-War era, and how the concept was applied to the design of housing in the New Towns. Archive research is essential to the project, uncovering new information about the political and social aspects which affected the implementation of urbanity in housing design. Harlow New Town provides the ideal case study, as Gibberd served as Architect Planner from the town’s conception to its completion. Harlow was also seen as a test-bed for housing design and has examples of pioneering housing schemes across the period of study (1947 – 67).

Christine’s interest in housing design came to light during her time working for a London-based architectural practice. Here, Christine contributed to layout plans for high density sites and worked on innovative social housing schemes. Her interest in the development of housing in a historical context arose during a research project carried out during Diploma study at the Mackintosh School. Her investigation into the growth of housing in Glasgow from 1700-1900 was developed further by introducing the city of Edinburgh for a comparative aspect, to gain a MArch (by Conversion). Following these historical studies, Christine became interested in housing design in the twentieth-century, particularly in the Post-War years.

Christine is a member of the C20 Society and is currently the editor of the ‘Building of the Month’ feature. Her PhD research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).