Behavioural expectations and city living

A longstanding interest of Professor Andrew Millie has been the relationships between behavioural expectations and city living. This started in the 1990s when Professor Millie was a PhD student and Research Assistant at Swansea University’s Department of Geography. Here he investigated people’s perceptions of safety within the city centre environment (Bromley et al., 1994; Millie, 1997). Millie was interested in people’s differing access to urban environments and how concerns about crime could limit spatial and temporal enjoyment of the city. This work – in particular its focus on the night-time economy – and subsequent research on anti-social behaviour has led to publications on crime, safety and urban regeneration (Bromley et al., 2000; Millie, 2007).

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Millie has subsequently considered the prospects of cosmopolitanism versus conflict for city living (Millie, 2009). Behavioural expectations have been explored further through Millie’s research on anti-social behaviour (e.g. Millie, 2008a), in particular relating to work on aesthetic expectations and taste for dictating behavioural acceptability (Millie, 2008b; 2014). (This work also drew on philosophical ideas as discussed on the ‘Research in Action’ on Philosophical Criminology). For instance, Millie has considered how certain graffiti and street artists gain celebrity status for their work, while others are imprisoned for the same action (see e.g. Millie, 2008b; 2014). Judgments of taste in such cases can have serious consequences.

Reflecting his experience in this area, Professor Millie was an Editor of the journal Urban Studies from 2009 to 2012. Millie has continued to question what is deemed to be acceptable and unacceptable within an urban environment. He has recently received funding from the Edge Hill University Research Investment Fund to investigate urban intervention and transgression. Urban interventions range from guerrilla knitting and guerrilla gardening through to graffiti, street art and impromptu street performance.

If you would like to learn more about this topic or are interested in doing a PhD in this area please contact Professor Andrew Millie.


  • Millie, A. (2014) ‘The aesthetics of anti-social behaviour’, in S. Pickard (ed.) Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Millie, A. (2009) ‘Respect and city living: Urban contest or cosmopolitanism?’ in A. Millie (ed.) Securing Respect: Behavioural Expectations and Anti-Social Behaviour in the UK, Bristol: The Policy Press.
  • Millie, A. (2008b) ‘Anti-social behaviour, behavioural expectations and an urban aesthetic’, British Journal of Criminology, 48(3) 379-394.
  • Millie, A. (2008a) ‘Anti-social behaviour in British cities’, Geography Compass, 2(5) 1681-1696.
  • Millie, A. (2007) ‘Tackling anti-social behaviour and regenerating neighbourhoods’, in R. Atkinson and G. Helms (eds.) Securing an Urban Renaissance: Crime, Community and British Urban Policy, Bristol: The Policy Press.
  • Bromley, R., Thomas, C. and Millie, A. (2000) ‘Exploring safety concerns in the night-time city: Revitalising the evening economy’, Town Planning Review, 71(1) 71-96.
  • Millie, A. (1997) Crime in the city centre: Patterns and perception of risk. A case study of Swansea, Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Swansea.
  • Bromley, R.D.F., Thomas, C.J., Millie, A. and Nelson, A. (1994) Shopper Security and the City Centre Shopping Environment: The Cases of Swansea and Cardiff, Final Report, Swansea: University of Wales Swansea.