Gemma John is the founder of Human City, London.
As an anthropologist, Gemma studies cultural shifts and illuminates the changing ways in which people live and work in cities. After 10 years in academic research, in research and teaching roles at Edinburgh and Manchester, she has spent the last 5 years applying her knowledge and skills to help real estate professionals create spaces that work for both business and society.
At Human City, she conducts fine-grained ethnographic research to help property investors and development teams, and other stakeholders to report and measure social value. To date, she has strategically advised on alternative housing, affordable housing, and shared accommodation schemes. Prior to establishing Human City, she was a senior researcher at the well-known architecture practice, Foster+Partners, and a strategic consultant at the global planning, engineering, and design company, AECOM.
In 2015, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research the design and use of public libraries. She has visited 50+ buildings in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia. Her research highlights changing approaches to service and building design to achieve social value at a time of economic austerity. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).