Photo of Lauren at Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda
At Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda, Willen Lake.


This is the blog of Lauren Pikó. I am a British historian currently based in Melbourne, and my work explores the cultural histories of landscapes – how they are seen to have and retain value, how they function symbolically, and how cultural representations of space shape material experiences.

In 2019 my book, Milton Keynes in British Culture: Imagining England was published by Routledge. This was based on my PhD in British history completed at the University of Melbourne on the meanings and reception of Milton Keynes, the (unfairly) maligned British new town.

The title of this blog is a play on Raymond Williams’ concept of ‘structures of feeling‘ from Marxism and Literature, which he defines as “meanings and values as they are actively lived and felt”.

Exploring the history and constitution of these structures of feeling around ideal landscape forms is the main focus of my research; and this involves the histories of built and social structures themselves, and the feelings and understandings which people develop about these. (Hence, structures with feelings!)

Other current works in progress explore the post-imperial culture of British urban planning practice during the 1970s; cultural histories of immigration, bordering and containment; and humour and derision in neoliberal politics. I also undertake research and advocacy work on the embodied material production of knowledge in neoliberal universities. My research informs my areas of teaching focus in British, Australian and international urban and planning history, heritage studies and theory, histories of colonialism and genocide studies, and spatial political economy.


Please feel free to get in touch if you have similar research interests.