Personal profile

Research interests

Andre Viljoen is a leading figure researching the architectural and urban design consequences of sustainable urban food systems.

An architect, researcher and teacher in sustainability and urban design, Andre's work engages locally and internationally with artists, designers, architects, policy and communities.

Much of his research is undertaken collaboratively with colleague Katrin Bohn, and is cross disciplinary, bridging the arts, design and planning. He has also led pedagogic research into teaching and learning in design.

He and Bohn have contributed to, and set up, international conferences, exhibitions and workshops presenting architectural design research. Following the 2005 publication of their book "Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: designing urban agriculture for sustainable cities", the number of invitations by academic, and civic organisations has expanded to include research and dissemination activities in public and professional audiences in Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Additionally, invited articles about the concept have been published widely, including in China, Korea and Russia.

Between 2013 and 2016 Andre was elected Chair of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Special Interest Group: Sustainable Food Planning, and he continues as a member of the group’s advisory board.

Viljoen and Bohn’s research has been recognised externally by the architectural profession, agencies and activists.

In 2015, the book Second Nature Urban Agriculture, edited by Andre Viljoen and Katrin Bohn won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) international 2015 President's Award for outstanding university located research. This follows a 2007 shortlisting for the same award for their earlier book, Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs).

The United Nations University Institute for Advanced Studies, 2010 Policy Report, Cities, Biodiversity and Governance: Perspectives and Challenges of the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the City Level, referrers to the Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes concept as “a powerful urban design instrument for achieving local sustainability while reducing cities’ ecological footprints” (Pp 31-32).

Referring to the book “Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes” 2005, Rob Hopkins founder of the Transition Towns movement wrote, “Andre Viljoen has put together a book of the most profound importance at this point in history. How will we feed our cities beyond the age of cheap oil?” (26 Apr 2006 on “Transition Culture”).

And from the 21st October 2014, also by Rob Hopkins, on “Transition network”.

“Second Nature Urban Agriculture is pretty extraordinary.  If we are to create built environments which are ‘locked in’ to the radically low carbon future we need to be creating, we really can’t afford to build any new developments that don’t include urban agriculture.  It needs to be everywhere, and clearly at the moment that isn’t happening fast enough.  Viljoen and Bohn tackle this from a range of angles, and there is something here to inspire those anywhere along a spectrum from, at one end, wondering how to grow food where they live in a city, to, at the other, planners and designers wanting to undertake ambitious scale projects.  Hard to recommend it highly enough.”

As part of Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympics, Andre was invited as one of four international experts to advise a team from Tokyo University and the Mayor’s office for the City of Nerima in Tokyo, on plans for the 2019 World Urban Agriculture Summit.

In 2023 he was invited to join the Expert Evaluation Panel, for bids to the European Driving Urban Transitions (DUT) call for research and innovation proposals, part of the framework program Horizon Europe and co-funded by the European Commission. Three main topics are included in this call: Positive Energy Districts, 15-minute City, and Circular Urban Economies.

He is a member of the Greater Brighton Economic Board’s 2023 task and finish group developing a Greater Brighton Food Plan.

Supervisory Interests

Andre Viljoen welcomes expression of interest for supervisory support from individuals interested in architecture and urban design, with a particular focus on sustainable design, urban agriculture and alternative architectural practices including engagement processes.  His inaugural lecture as Professor of Architecture provides an overview of his personal research. 

He has acted as a Ph.D. supervisor at the University of Brighton and Cambridge and as an examiner at University College London (The Bartlett), University of Sheffield, Oxford Brookes University, and Brighton.

Doctoral Post-Graduate Research supervision:

2015-23 (Part Time), Ph.D. Lead Supervisor: University of Brighton Candidate, Magda Rich, Topic The Healing City: Adaptation of Care farming principles in dense urban areas.

2009-14, Ph.D. Lead Supervisor: University of Brighton Candidate Mikey Tomkins, Topic Community Food Gardens.

2008- 12, Ph.D. Supporting Supervisor: University of Cambridge Candidate Gillian Denny, Topic Embodied greenhouse gas emissions and urban agriculture.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, Professional Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, London Metropolitan University

Award Date: 1 Jun 2000

Master, MSc Architecture (Energy and Environment), with distinction, University of East London

Award Date: 1 Jun 1995

Master, Dipl. Architectural Science, Technological University Dublin

Award Date: 1 Jun 1984

Bachelor, Bachelor in Architectural Science, Trinity College Dublin

Award Date: 1 Jun 1984

External positions

External Examiner for the Diploma in Architecture, Mackintosh School of Architecture., Glasgow School of Art


External Examiner for the architecture programme at CASS Architecture., London Metropolitan University


External Examiner for the architecture programme., London South Bank University


External Examiner for the architecture programme, University of East London



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