Dr Christopher Maidment

Lecturer in Town Planning

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

Department:School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Built environment

Chris is a chartered town planner, with a doctorate in planning and practice experience in local government, working on the development of new planning policy.



Chris joined our Department of Engineering and the Built Environment in September 2017, having previously worked as a Planning Policy Officer for Bassetlaw District Council. Chris was part of the team working on The Bassetlaw Plan, going from a blank sheet of paper to a full set of ideas for a new Local Plan. Whilst at Bassetlaw Chris was also involved in commissioning new evidence to underpin the Plan, and talking to a range of other groups, including the public, parish councils and other local authorities.

Prior to this, Chris studied for his PhD at the University of Sheffield. His PhD draws on different ways in which the ‘public interest’ can be understood, and how these variations are present in plan-making.

Research interests

  • Plan-making
  • The relationship between theory and practice
  • Strategic planning
  • Professionalism in planning

At the core of Chris’ research interests is understanding the relationship between normative theories of planning and the practice environment; both how planning theory should shape practice and how practice should influence the development of theory.


Module Leader for:

  • MOD003661: Planning Implementation
  • MOD002407: Sustainability & Environmental Management


Taking the idea that planning is about accounting for collective interests, Chris’ thesis considers how this ‘public interest’ justification plays out in English plan-making practice. The fieldwork explored case studies of spatial plan-making in Central Lincolnshire and the Peak District National Park, using multiple qualitative methods. At the heart of the thesis is a theoretical framework that uses scale, in terms of time and geography, to bring together different meanings of the public interest. Chris was supervised by Heather Campbell and Andy Inch, and supported by a full scholarship from the University of Sheffield.

  • MA Town & Regional Planning (September 2010–September 2011), The University of Sheffield
  • BA (Hons) Geography & Planning with Employment Experience (September 2006–July 2010) , The University of Sheffield

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Selected recent publications

Maidment C., 2016. In the Public Interest? Planning in the Peak District National Park. Planning Theory, 15(4), p366-385.

Bache I., Kane M. and Maidment C., 2014. Student Connections: Enhancing Interaction in the Internationalised Learning Environment, A 3.4-2 In: Beerkens E., Magnan M., Söderqvist M. and van Liempd H.G. (Eds.) The Internationalisation of Higher Education Handbook. Berlin: Raabe Academic Publishers.

Blog posts

Maidment C., 2017. #sheffvista 30 – Planning Policy Officer, Dr Chris Maidment. Think Ahead Blog. Available at: https://thinkaheadsheffield.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/sheffvista-30-planning-policy-officer-dr-chris-maidment/#more-93453 (Last accessed 15 September 2017)

Maidment C., 2015. What is Planning? It’s plotting an escape route from the path of the ‘invisible hand’. FOReTHOUGHT: Making Space for Planning. Available at: http://sheffield-planning.org/2014/12/09/what-is-planning-its-plotting-an-escape-route-from-the-path-of-the-invisible-hand/ (Last accessed 15 September 2017)

Maidment C., 2015. Evidence as a Passion Killer: The Need to Decouple the Everyday Experience of Place from a National Housing Crisis. Ways of Neighbourhood Working and Knowing: Seminar Series 2014-16 – Seminar Blogs. Available at: https://neighbourhoodworking.wordpress.com/seminar-1-blog/ (Last accessed 15 September 2017)

Recent presentations and conferences

Maidment C., 2016, September. Conceptualising the Plan as an Argument: The Key to Better Plan-making Practice? Presentation at the 2016 Planning Research Conference, Cardiff, Wales.

Maidment C., 2014, July. Planning in the Public Interest? Exploring the Use of the Public Interest in English Local Plan Making. Poster Presentation at the 2014 AESOP Congress, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Maidment C., 2013, September. Drawing on Temporal & Spatial Scale to Reconcile Dichotomous Understandings of the Public Interest. Presentation at the 2013 Planning Research Conference, Bristol, England.Laurian L., Maidment C., Matilla H., Natarajan L., Purcell M., Vidyarthi S. and Tait M., 2013, July. Where is the Public Interest in Public Participation? Panel Session at the 2013 AESOP/ACSP Joint Congress, Dublin, Ireland.

Maidment C., 2013, July. Planning in the Public Interest? Exploring the Use of the Public Interest in Plan-making. Paper presented at the 2013 AESOP/ACSP Joint Congress PhD Workshop, Belfast, Northern Ireland. The presentation of this paper was supported by the award of an AESOP bursary.

Maidment C., 2013, February. If the ‘Public Interest' is a ‘Resilient' Concept, What Lessons Does it Hold For Those Pursuing the Concept of Resilience? Paper presented at the AESOP Young Academics Network Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria.