Professor Duncan Maclennan, CBE, FRSE, FAcSS, MRTPI (Hon), FRICS, MCIH (Hon):

  • Affiilate Professor, Urban Studies, University of Glasgow
  • City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales

Professor Maclennan is an applied economist with interests in cities, neighbourhoods, infrastructure and housing. 


Research interests

Professor Maclennan’s current research is concerned with economic functioning of metropolitan housing, land and infrastructure systems and the design and financing of policies and strategies, at national, metropolitan and neighbourhood scales , to deal with their affordability, stability and productivity outcomes.

He has undertaken work on infrastructure in Scotland, city deals and devolution in the UK, the likely impacts of Brexit on UK towns, rental housing challenges in Canadian metropolitan areas, and completed three reports in Australia on productivity effects of housing outcomes.

Recently-published academic work includes research on housing transitions in China, the role of housing and inequality in Piketty’s model, housing impacts on entrepreneurship, modelling regional house price cycles and city deals in the UK, gaps in the rhetoric and reality of local economic policy-making and CGE modelling of productivity effects of metropolitan housing pressures.



Professor Maclennan was born in Glasgow and completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in economics and geography at the University of Glasgow. His subsequent career has involved working in academic research and in government:


  • Founding Director of the ESRC’s Centre for Housing Research and Urban Studies at the
    University of Glasgow from 1983-1997.
  • Director of the ESRC Cities, Competitiveness and Cohesion Programme from 1996-99.
  • Economic Adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation from 1989-99, and directed its
    research programmes on Housing and the Macro-economy and on Neighbourhood
    Regeneration in the 1990’s.
  • Held Visiting Chairs at The Wharton School (1988-89), Regent’s Professor at the University
    of California (Economics Department, Berkeley, 1995-6), RMIT Melbourne (2003-15),
    University of Ottawa (2008), University of New South Wales (2014-).
  • Board Member of Scottish Homes (national housing agency for Scotland), 1988-1999).
  • Special Adviser to the First Ministers of Scotland from 1999-2003.
  • Chief Economist (DSE) and Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Policy in the State
    Government of Victoria, 2003-4.
  • Chief Economist in the Federal Department for Infrastructure and Cities in the Federal
    Government of Canada, 2004-2008.
  • Director of the Centre for Housing Research at the University of St Andrews from 2009 and
    Head of the School of Geography and Geosciences from 2011-14 and then Professor of
    Urban Management and Finance in the School of Management 2014-18.

In recent years he has served on the RICS Commissions for Housing in the UK and Scotland; the Northern Housing Commission; The Fairer Fife Commission and is currently an Economic Commissioner for the Glasgow Region City Deal.


Policy Scotland projects


  • Shaping Futures, creating a dialogue on the future of housing on a global scale, and working with 20 housing and city organisations drawn from the UK, Canada and Australia (completed 2019).
  • Strengthening Economic Cases for Housing Policies (completed 2019), focused on housing economics issues in Canada and Australia. This was a follow-up study to Making Better Economic Cases for Housing Policies (2018), the major publication on how housing outcomes can contribute to metropolitan growth and productivity. A third report, Extending Economic Cases will be published in April 2020.
  • New Perspectives on Housing and Productivity, a pathfinder project for the ESRC PIN Network (completed 2020).
  • Housing Wealth Inequalities in Scotland: An International Evidence Review. (With CACHE, 2019).
  • The Interface of Urban Policies and the Fiscal Policies of Sub-National Governments in the UK and China. (Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences).
  • Review of the Future Prospects of the Glasgow City-Region Economy (Economic Commission for the Glasgow City-Region).



University of Glasgow website profile


Blogs and publications