Dr Goran Vodicka

Dr Goran Vodicka PhD, MArch, PgDip, AFHEA, FRSA

Senior Lecturer in Architecture


I am a Senior Lecturer in Architecture and the MArch course leader at Sheffield Hallam University. I teach design studios and the history and theory of architecture across undergraduate and postgraduate courses. My research is broadly focused on urban inequalities and socially-engaged design practice and education. I have been an active architectural practitioner since 2004, working in the UK and internationally.


I have extensive professional experience of practice in various contexts, including post-socialist and post-conflict environments and in different types of architecture practices and international organisations (United Nations Development Programme/UNDP, Shelter Centre, Architecture & Développement). I have also been involved in initiating projects with local groups and communities. For example, here in Sheffield I was part of an alternative development agency (SKINN) as well as an experimental urban practice (Sheffield Dream City). Currently I am an Associate of Architecture Sans Frontières-UK (ASF-UK), a not-for-profit organisation that supports communities and practitioners in co-designing more equitable cities. I am also a Board Member of Architecture Sans Frontières International (ASF-Int), an independent network of not-for-profit design organisations.

Over the years my work has been funded by: ESRC, British Council, Newton Fund, Humanities in the European Research Area, Erasmus+, European Cultural Foundation, Leonardo Da Vinci Programme, European Urban Research Association, Department for International Development, Norwegian People’s Aid, Austrian Development Agency, The University of Sheffield (PhD Faculty Scholarship, Research Exchange for the Social Sciences, Festival of the Mind, Arts and Humanities Knowledge Exchange and Impact), University of Westminster (Sustainable Cities and the Urban Environment Research Community), Sheffield Hallam University (Staff Student Research Project, Research Support Fund).


Department of the Natural and Built Environment

College of Social Sciences and Arts

My approach to teaching is constructivist and is underpinned by my professional experiences as designer, researcher and educator. I believe that a range of learning experiences are vital in higher education and this means that I try to encourage and support students to learn in diverse and transformative ways: for example, learning actively through collaborative exploration and discussion with their peers and with others (including professionals from practices/organisations as well as the general public); challenging and questioning existing approaches and assumptions; critically reflecting on their learning experiences etc. I believe this can facilitate a deep understanding of the urban environment with all of its political and socio-economic complexities, in order to intervene in its design. It also provides an appropriate learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds and cultural contexts, allowing them to share, and build on, their own academic, professional and lived experiences.

Between 2014 and 2019 I taught at the University of Sheffield in both the Department of Landscape Architecture and Sheffield School of Architecture where I was a key member of the MA in Urban Design teaching team. Since joining Hallam in 2018, I have been module leader of Architecture Studio 2, Cultural Context 1, 2 and 3, and co-leader of Design Studios 4, 5 and 6. I have also led Year 2 of the BSc Architecture and Years 5 and 6 of the MArch courses.

As part of my work with ASF-UK, I am project manager of the RIBA-accredited learning programme Challenging Practice. This programme provides continuous professional development courses seeking to enable built environment professionals to engage reflexively and ethically with the challenges of socially engaged architecture/urban practice.


My research is inherently interdisciplinary and boundary-crossing. The main themes of my research could be defined as urban inequalities (particularly in relation to public space) and socially-engaged design practice and education.

My doctoral thesis ‘Everyday public spaces in an ethnically diverse neighbourhood: contextualised convivialities and boundary-crossing urban design’ was completed in 2018 at the University of Sheffield and focused on exploring intercultural sociability in everyday public spaces through engaged socio-spatial enquiry.

In 2019/20 I was a Research Fellow in the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster on the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) funded project ‘Festival, events and inclusive public space in Europe’. The project included five research teams, each focusing on events and spaces in their own city (London, Dublin, Gothenburg, Barcelona and Glasgow).

I was also involved in the DESINC project looking into practices and pedagogies for designing inclusion. This was a collaboration between three schools of architecture (University of Sheffield, Milan Polytechnic and KU Leuven) and two international organisations (Housing Europe and ASF International).

Previously, while working with Shelter Centre (University of Cambridge), I was part of a research project on the shelter needs of displaced populations and contributed to the seminal publication of guidelines for specialists working in humanitarian relief ‘Transitional Settlement: Displaced Populations’.


Journal articles

Smith, A., Osborn, G., & Vodicka, G. (2023). Programming Parks. How do organized events and activities affect the inclusivity of urban green spaces? Journal of Leisure Research. http://doi.org/10.1080/00222216.2023.2210563

Vodicka, G., & Rishbeth, C. (2022). Contextualised convivialities in superdiverse neighbourhoods – methodological approaches informed by urban design. Journal of Intercultural Studies. http://doi.org/10.1080/07256868.2022.2041576

Smith, A., Vodicka, G., Colombo, A., Lindstrom, K.N., McGillivray, D., & Quinn, B. (2021). Staging city events in public spaces: an urban design perspective. International Journal of Event and Festival Management. http://doi.org/10.1108/ijefm-10-2020-0063

Rishbeth, C., Ganji, F., & Vodicka, G. (2017). Ethnographic understandings of ethnically diverse neighbourhoods to inform urban design practice. Local Environment, 23 (1), 36-53. http://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2017.1385000

Conference papers

Vodicka, G., & De Carli, B. (2023). Learning architecture in the context of inequality – ‘Challenging Practice’ 10 years later [abstract only]. In PRODUCTIVE DISRUPTIVE: spaces of exploration in-between architectural pedagogy and practice, Cardiff, UK, 12 July 2023 - 15 July 2023. https://padlet.com/aae2023/productive-disruptive-puupwva4u7fy5euv/wish/2640498927

Smith, A., Ertem, D., & Vodicka, G. (2022). Breaking down barriers or putting them up? Festivals, events and the inclusivity of urban parks [abstract only]. In PPP Conference, Sheffield, UK, 6 July 2022. https://sites.google.com/view/pppconference2022/

Smith, A., & Vodicka, G. (2021). Beyond the pale: the legacies of austerity for London’s municipal parks [Abstract only]. In Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2021, London, 2021 - 3 September 2021. https://www.rgs.org/geography/news/rgs-ibg-annual-international-conference-2021/

Vardy, S., Udall, J., Vodicka, G., & McCloskey, P. (2019). Constituent relations across the city: Three perspectives from practice. In (Im)possible Complicities, Berlin, 23 May 2019 - 24 May 2019. Tesseræ / CoCreation– EU Marie Curie Rise project: https://vimeo.com/338880369

Vodicka, G. (2018). Over-researched places: two perspectives from different contexts [abstract only]. In Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Annual International Conference, Cardiff, UK, 28 August 2018 - 2018.

Vodicka, G. (2017). Challenging negative perceptions of everyday leisure spaces in a superdiverse neighbourhood [abstract only]. In Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Annual International Conference, 29 August 2017 - 1 September 2017. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330903398_Challenging_negative_perceptions_of_everyday_leisure_spaces_in_a_superdiverse_neighbourhood

Lamb, T., & Vodicka, G. (2017). Resisting the monolingual hegemony in super-diverse urban contexts: collective autonomy and interlingual spaces [abstract only]. In 18th AILA World Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 23 July 2017 - 28 July 2017.

Lamb, T., & Vodicka, G. (2015). Transculturality and multilingualism in formal and informal urban spaces. In Transcultural Urban Spaces. Where Geography meets language, Bern, Switzerland, 16 October 2015 - 17 October 2015. https://www.espanol.unibe.ch/unibe/portal/fak_historisch/dsl/espanol/content/e41071/e95656/e316667/TCC2015_Program_final_spa.pdf

Rabodzeenko, I., & Vodicka, G. (2015). Questioning citizen-led urban development in the UK: Sheffield case study [abstract only]. In Transforming Cities: Transformative Cities - European Urban Research Association (EURA), Sibiu, Romania, 17 September 2015 - 20 September 2015.

Book chapters

Smith, A., Osborn, G., & Vodicka, G. (2022). Private events in a public park: contested music festivals and environmental justice in Finsbury Park, London. In Plüschke-Altof, B., & Sooväli-Sepping, H. (Eds.) Whose Green City?. (pp. 83-102). Springer International Publishing: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-04636-0_5

Smith, A., Osborn, G., & Vodicka, G. (2022). The festivalisation of London’s Parks: the friends’ perspective. In Smith, A., Osborn, G., & Quinn, B. (Eds.) Festivals and the city: the contested geographies of urban events. (pp. 19-37). University of Westminster Press: http://doi.org/10.16997/book64.b

Lamb, T., & Vodicka, G. (2021). Education for 21st century urban and spatial planning: critical postmodern pedagogies. In Frank, A., & da Rosa Pires, A. (Eds.) Teaching urban and regional planning. (pp. 20-38). Edward Elgar Publishing: http://doi.org/10.4337/9781788973632.00012

Horvat, V., & Vodicka, G. (2020). Something former. In Baker, E.-.R., & Crawley Jackson, A. (Eds.) Invisible Wounds: Negotiating Post-traumatic Landscapes. (pp. 85-92). Sheffield, UK: University of Sheffield

Vodicka, G. (2018). Voices in my research. In Orlek, J. (Ed.) Multivoices A Script by Researchers. Spirit Duplicator

Lamb, T., & Vodicka, G. (2017). Collective autonomy and multilingual spaces in super-diverse urban contexts. In Murray, G., & Lamb, T. (Eds.) Space, place and autonomy in language learning. (pp. 9-28). Abingdon, England: Routledge: https://www.routledge.com/Space-Place-and-Autonomy-in-Language-Learning-1st-Edition/Murray-Lamb/p/book/9781138656727


Smith, A., & Vodicka, G. (2020). Events in London's parks: the friends' perspective. London: Festspace. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3878727

Rishbeth, C., Vodicka, G., & Farnaz, G. (2016). Design for Diversity: Intercultural Outdoor Places. Sheffield: University of Sheffield. https://issuu.com/tuo13tuo/docs/design_for_diversity_single_pages

Internet Publications

Smith, A., & Vodicka, G. (2020). Festivals and events in London’s parks. http://festspace.net/festivals-and-events-in-londons-parks/


Casini, L., De Carli, B., & Vodicka, G. (2015). Exploring Neepsend. Open Your Space: Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB), China.

Vodicka, G., Rabodzeenko, I., & Porohina, J. (2013). Car + Park, RIBA Forgotten Spaces Preston Shortlist exhibition. [Design Competition]. RIBA North West, Preston, UK.

Orlek, J., & Vodicka, G. (2019). P.S. A Postscript Before Concluding, From Brooklyn Works to Brooklynism exhibition. [Film]. Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield, UK.

Vodicka, G., Rabodzeenko, I., & Porohina, J. (2013). Rethinking Urbanity - Vacancy Budapest, Wonderlab 24 Hour City: All Inclusive. [Design Competition]. Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna, Austria.

Smith, A., & Vodicka, G. (2019). Mapping Finsbury Park, Citizen Sci-Fi Future Fair. [Participatory Map]. Furtherfield Commons, London, UK.


Vodicka, G., & Guillard, S. (2019). FESTSPACE: Festivals, events and inclusive public space. Presented at: HERA JRP Uses of the Past & Public Spaces Conference, Gdansk, Poland, 2019

Ganji, F., & Vodicka, G. (2015). Transnational Urban Outdoors: focus on everyday public spaces in two northern cities. Presented at: RGS-IBG Postgraduate Conference, University of Sheffield, UK, 2015

Other publications

Udall, J., Vardy, S., Vodicka, G., & Cerulli, C. (2021). Researching in the city zine. AHRA: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/ahra_researching_in_the_city_zine_1_

Other activities

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA)
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Associate of Architecture Sans Frontières-UK (ASF-UK)
  • Member of Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA)
  • Board Member of Architecture Sans Frontières International (ASF-Int)

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