Professor Flora Samuel’s strength is in connecting ideas and people from different backgrounds and fields – the scholarship of integration and application, making connections across disciplines and sectors, contextualising specialisms in the larger context and making sense of them to non-specialists. Her current work focuses on inclusion through planning policy and processes evidenced through digital map making with communities and others, summarised in her most recent book Housing for Hope and Wellbeing (2023). With Eli Hatleskog Flora won a RIBA Presidents Award for Research in the Communities Category for their project Mapping Eco-Social Assets
For Flora climate change is a social justice issue. She is the PI on the AHRC funded Community Consultation for Quality of Life Project, a project exploring the ingredients of inclusive community consultation for planning across all four nations of the UK. The urban room is a place where the community, university, local authority, industry and practice come together to debate the future of their cities. Flora is in the process of setting up an urban room for Cambridge.
Flora is passionate about the importance of developing research in architectural practice, summarised in her book Why Architects Matter (2019). She was the first RIBA Vice President for Research and was twice elected by its membership to Council. She has lead on the development of several reports for industry bodies including the Architects Council of Europe Value of Architecture Report and the RIBA Building Knowledge: Pathways to Post Occupancy Evaluation report.
Over the last few years she has been developing methods for capturing intangible wellbeing outcomes in a format that can be fed into planning processes. An industry expert on social value, Flora was lead author on the RIBA Social Value Toolkit . She has contributed to a variety of social value initiatives across the construction industry and is regularly invited to speak on social impact by organisations across the globe.
An Architect trained at Cambridge and Princeton Flora has strong opinions on the future of architectural education and the changing role of architects. She taught for 10 years at Cardiff before leading the March at the University of Bath. She was then the first woman Head of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. She left Sheffield for Reading University to help set up a new School of Architecture to deliver an education for uncertainty.
Flora began her academic career as a Le Corbusier scholar and has written five books on neglected aspects of his work and practice, several of which have been translated into other languages. She believes that history has a vital role to play in informing future practice.