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Matluba Khan

Dr Matluba Khan

Lecturer in Urban Design

School of Geography and Planning

+44 29208 74994
Glamorgan Building, Room Room 2.92S, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


Lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.  My approaches to teaching and learning are informed by my extensive research experience on the relationship between built environment design and people’s behaviour, health and well-being. I have developed expertise in participatory design and planning, intervention research and evaluation of design for children’s learning, health and well-being and expanded my research horizons from Global South to Global North. I have pushed the disciplinary boundary and successfully placed myself in education, psychology and public health only to bring them together in relation to research and design of built environment.

Prior to joining GEOPL, I have worked as a Research Fellow at University College London and taught in Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. I have also served as an Assistant Professor and before that as a Lecturer in Department of Architecture at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK.


Invited speech

International awards

TEDx Talk: How to get kids to love learning

Dr Matluba Khan on 'How to get kids to love learning'










Book sections








My research interests lie in the intersection of Architecture, Urban Design and Human Goegraphy. I am interested in the interaction that takes place between the built environment and human beings, particularly the design of built environment and landscape and children’s behaviour, their learning, health and well-being. My research experience includes studies on participatory design and planning, planning, implementation and evaluation of urban open spaces and outdoor learning environment of children at primary schools and urban residential areas in the context of Bangladesh, England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. More recently I have been working on displaced children's experience of places in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Current Research:

Co-creating a child and youth friendly COVID-19 recovery plan for marginalised communities in Cardiff with Dr Tom Smith (Co-I, Cardiff University), Dr Neil Harris Co-I, Cardiff University) and Dr Mhairi McVicar (Co-I, Cardiff University), An Innovation for All funded civic mission project in collaboration with Cardiff University’s Community Gateway, Grange Pavilion Youth Forum and the Child Friendly City Team of Cardiff Council that aims to co-produce a greener and fairer, child-friendly recovery plan for Grangetown working with children and young people from communities in Cardiff  through a series of workshops and engagement activities.

A Blended Learning Framework for Bangladesh: Policy and practice placement on spatialities of the future of education with Dr Tom Smith (Co-I, Cardiff University) This ESRC IAA placement project aims to influence policy, practice and global debates (including and especially in the UK and Bangladesh) around blended learning and (1) shape National Government policy in Bangladesh through contributing to the National Blended Education Taskforce and influence international stakeholders, which will enable teachers to adopt blended learning practices; (2) influence school practice through engagement with teachers and children in schools through a2i and (3) contribute to the global debate and education sector in the UK and Wales, in particular through wider networking and dissemination activities with existing research partners (Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales), and beyond through their wider networks. 

Children’s perspectives on activity and resilience during Covid-19 restrictions With Dr Justin Spinney (Cardiff University) and Dr Muntazar Monsur of Texas Tech University, this study aims to find out what kinds of activities children and young people have been doing during the pandemic and how they have adjusted to the huge changes brought on by the lockdown. The research will be used to inform future urban planning policies, to the building of resilient child-friendly cities.

Crisis-led approaches to teaching and learning in Bangladesh: New frameworks for outdoor, blended learning in low-income country contexts. With Dr Tom Smith (Co-I, Cardiff University) and external partners: Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and #NextGenEdu, this project examines crisis-led approaches to teaching and learning in Bangladesh in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and explores the potential for outdoor, blended learning approaches for future years in a low-income country context.

Displaced children's experience of places. With Professor Alexi Marmot from University College London and Mr Sheik Rana, an independent creative writer and lyricist, this research study investigates displaced children’s experience of places supported by a UCL Grand Challenged Small Grant 2019-2020 and a UCL Global Engagement Fund 2019-2020. The research study focused on exploring displaced Rohingya children’s likes and dislikes in their built environment and their preferences for transformation in their temporary settlements in refugee camps near CoxsBazar-Teknaf-Ukhia area in Bangladesh. A working paper reporting the findings from a workshop with stakeholders working in multiple sectors related to Rohingya children’s learning, health and well-being is available here.

Past Research:


INHERIT is an EU horizon 2020 funded project, for which I developed with my colleagues at UCL the framework for evaluation of nine interventions/case studies across Europe using mixed methods/quantitative research design. The intervention included development of neighbourhood open spaces in deprived residential areas of Sweden and Netherlands, creating access to green spaces for communities in Bilbao and development of a 3 kilometer long pathway in Malvik, Norway. I have also developed, implemented and evaluated a school-based gardening intervention in London for improving children’s health behaviour - their physical activity and attitudes to healthy eating.

Co-designing schoolyards for pedagogy and play

As part of my PhD dissertation in landscape architecture at the University of Edinburgh I co-designed and developed a schoolyard in a Government primary school in Bangladesh with children, teachers and the community. I also evaluated the designed landscape for play and pedagogy. This was developed based on my M.Arch project as part of which I designed and developed an outdoor amphitheatre in another primary school in Bangladesh. I developed co-creation approaches with children and evaluation framework for children’s environments that I implemented in Bangladesh, England and Scotland, the co-creation approaches have also been replicated with adults.

Research Grants:

2021-2022  Co-creating a child- and youth-friendly covid recovery plan for marginalised communities in Cardiff. Dr M. Khan (PI); Dr T.A. Smith (Co-I), Dr Mhairi McVicar (Co-I) Dr Neil Harris (Co-I), Innovation for All: Civic Mission Fund  (£7,500).

2021-2022  CircuPLAY - a CIRcular CommUnity PLAYful platform. Dr M Marchesi (PI); Dr M. Khan (Co-I), Dr Mhairi McVicar (Co-I); Dr Abid Mehmood (Co-I); Dr Catherine Teehan (Co-I), Innovation for All: Public Engagement Proof‐of‐Concept (£7,500).

2020-2021  Crisis-led approaches to teaching and learning in Bangladesh: New frameworks for outdoor, blended learning in low-income country contexts. Dr M. Khan (PI); Dr T.A. Smith (Co-I), HEFCW GCRF (£39,897).

2019-2020     Enhancing Rohingya children’s learning, health and well-being at refugee camps in Bangladesh, Dr M. Khan (PI); Dr Bayes Ahmed (Co-I), UCL Global Engagement Fund (£2000)

2019-2020     Displaced children's experiences of places, Dr M. Khan (PI); Professor Alexi Marmot (Co-I), UCL Grand Challenges Small Grant (£7500) 

2018-2019     Exploration of Education and Recreation Intervention for the Well-Being of Rohingya Children in Bangladesh, Dr M. Khan (PI); Dr Bayes Ahmed (Co-I), UCL Global Engagement Fund (£1960)

2019               Full fellowship to attend Newton Funded Workshop on Rethinking Green Cities in Brasilia, Brazil (£1100+accommodation&subsistence)

2017               Full fellowship to attend Valuing Nature Business Impact School, NERC Valuing Nature Program

2017               Researching with and for children: Place, Pedagogy and Play, Dr M. Khan (PI); Dr Nik Azhari (Co-I) and Dr R Mozaffar (Co-I), Devolved Researchers’ Fund, Edinburgh College of Art, (£3000)

2016               Charles Wallace Bangladesh Trust, (£1000)

2016               Edinburgh Association of University Women, The Presidents Fund, (£800)

2016             International Association for People- Environment Studies (IAPS), YRW Grant to attend Young Researchers’ Workshop in Alnarp, Sweden, (£300)

2016             ‘Play+Design=Learn’, Institute for Academic Development, The University of Edinburgh, £300

2015             Edinburgh College of Art, Postgraduate Research Expense Grant (£400)

2015             Bangladesh Sweden Trust Fund (BSTF) (£400)

2014             Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, David Wilis Bequest Award (£300)

2014             Edinburgh College of Art, Postgraduate Research Expense Grant, (£400)

2014              University of Edinburgh Principal Go Abroad Fund, (£350)

2013 – 2016   Principal Career Development Scholarship and Global Research Scholarship for PhD studies, University of Edinburgh, (£42000 + International Rate Tuition Fees)


I currently teach on the postgraduate MA Urban Design, MSc Sustainable Planning and Development and MSc International Planning and Urban Design. I supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation students and act as a personal tutor to students across these levels.

I have over ten years’ teaching experience in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, BUET, Dhaka; Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and University College London (UCL). My widening research experiences in the intersection of architecture, planning and urban design and in national and international contexts inform my teaching approaches.

I am a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

Current Postgraduate Modules:

  • MAUD Autumn Studio
  • MAUD Spring Studio
  • Designing Cities
  • Research-based design project
  • Research Methods and Techniques

Administrative Roles:

  • Member: School Ethics Committee

PhD Supervision:

  • Xiang Duan (Cardiff University) 2021 - , Title: 

    Improving Citizens Engagement of Participatory Urban Governance in Infrastructure Project from the Approach Perspective through Multiple Research Methods. Principal supervisor – Dr Matluba Khan, Second Supervisor - Professor Andrew Flynn.

  • Rosie Havers (Cardiff University) 2021 -   

    Title: The Geographies of the Digital-Outdoors: Bringing Together Digital and Outdoor Learning Spaces in Welsh Primary Schools. 

    Principal supervisor – Dr Tom Smith, Second Supervisor - Dr Matluba Khan.


Previous Academic Positions

  • Lecturer in Urban Design, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, UK (2019 - Present)
  • Research Fellow, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (2017 - 2019)
  • Tutor in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh (2015 - 2017)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh (2012-2013)
  • Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh (2009-2012)


  • PhD in Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh (2013-2017) (Funded by Principal Career Development Scholarship and Global Research Scholarship)
  • Master of Architecture (1st class 1st, Gold Medalist), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) (2009-2012) (Funded by the Committee for Advanced Studies and Research, BUET)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (1st class 1st, Gold Medalist), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) (2003-2009)

Professional Experience

  • Architecture Consultant and Researcher, Consultant Architects Forum at Bureau of Research, Testing and Consultation (CAF-BRTC), BUET (2009-2013)
  • Associate Architect, Dwm4 Architects (2009-2011)

Honours and awards

  • AHRC-Institute for Government award for Engagement with Government (2021)
  • Fellowship to attend Newton Funded Workshop in Brasilia, Brazil (2019)
  • Honor Award, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2017 in Community Services Category (2017)
  • 1st prize, Global Health Day Poster Competition, (2017)
  • Shortlisted for World Landscape Architecture Awards 2017 (2017)
  • NERC Valuing Nature Fellowship to attend Valuing Nature Business Impact School (2017)
  • Place Design Award in Great Places Award 2016, Environment Design Research Association (EDRA), USA (2016)
  • Winner of the SERA Conference 3 MT Thesis Competition, Scottish Education Research Association (2016)
  • ABTA Doctoral Researcher Award, (2nd Place in Social and Managerial Science Category), Association of British Turkish Academics, UK (2016)
  • First Thinker in Residence at Deveron Arts, Aberdeenshire awarded by Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (2016)
  • Best Community Event Award for Play+Design=Learn (Initiator and Co-organiser), Institute for Academic Development, The University of Edinburgh, UK (2016)
  • David Willis Bequest Award for PG Research in Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the University of Edinburgh (2014)
  • First Place Winner, Falling Walls Lab Edinburgh (2014)
  • Best Student Paper Award and Overall Best Paper Award, 45th Annual Conference of EDRA (2014)
  • Principal Career Development Scholarship for PhD, The University of Edinburgh (2013-2016)
  • Global Research Scholarship, The University of Edinburgh (2013-2016)
  • Ahsanur Rahman Gold Medal for highest CGPA in Master of Architecture, BUET (2012)
  • Competition for New Academic Building at BUET Campus (2nd  Position) (2012)
  • Shamsunnahar Khanam Memorial Gold Medal, 2006- 2007 for highest CGPA in Bachelor of Architecture, BUET (2009)
  • Travel Grant Award (1st Prize), Berger Award Programme for the Students of Architecture, BUET (2009)

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy, Recognition reference: PR126668
  • Associate Member, Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), Associate Member ID: AK 121
  • Member of the International Play Association, England and Wales chapter (2019 - Present)
  • Member of the Executive Committee, International School Ground Alliance Leadership Council (2020 - Present)
  • Member of the Royal Geographic Society's Children, Youth and Families Research Group (2018 - Present)
  • Member of the Cities Research Centre, Cardiff University (2019 - Present)
  • Member of the SPACE Research Group at the School of Geograpgy and Planning, Cardiff University (2019 - Present)

Committees and reviewing

  • Journal Reviewer, Landscape and Urban Planning, Cities and Health, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Children's Geographies, Urban Design International, Landscape Research
  • Member of the Scientific Committee for International Conference on 'Towards the Child Friendly City' Conference in Bristol in 2019


I am interested in supervising PhD students who work on the intersection of architecture, urban design and human geography and who have an interest in the following areas -

  • Child-friendly city
  • Green spaces and health
  • Place, Pedagogy and Play
  • Participatory design and research
  • School ground design, outdoor learning and environmental education
  • Action research
  • Evaluation research