I have a BA in Physics and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Oxford University, and an MPhil in Town and Country Planning from University College, London.

I worked at the National Consumer Council as a consultant on rural transport, and then for four years as a Research Fellow on manufacturing in London in the School of Geography and Planning at Middlesex Polytechnic.

From 1983 – 86 I worked in the Industry and Employment Branch of the Greater London Council on policy for manufacturing industries and employees in London, particularly the printing and clothing industries, developing policies and initiatives to support workers in these industries. I have a perverse pride in having been sacked by Margaret Thatcher when she abolished the GLC for its oppositional politics.

In 1988-91 I was Research Fellow in the School of Management and Economic Studies at the University of Sheffield.

My first full-time lecturing job was in the Department of Geography at the University of Sydney between 1993 and 1996. From 1996 to 2005 I lectured in the Division of Geography and Environmental Studies at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.  From 2005 to my retirement in 2017 I lectured in the Department of Town and Regional Planning, later the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, in the University of Sheffield.

During the 1970s I was involved in the squatting movement in London, and in the 1970s and 1980s in the gay movement. Since the mid-1990s I have been an active trade unionist.