Global urban futures
Global urbanisation in the 21st century presents a range of challenges:
- The geography of many cities is characterised by inequality, segregation and fragmentation, with concentrations of poverty and wealth existing in close proximity to one another.
- Accessing affordable, decent, secure shelter is increasingly difficult as urban land and housing become targets for speculative activities. In the global South, an estimated 3 billion people will be living in informal settlements by 2050. Meanwhile in the global North, austerity policies are exacerbating homelessness and housing insecurity.
- Infrastructure and service delivery systems in many cities in developing countries are incomplete. There is an urgent need to develop accessible, sustainable and affordable energy, water and sanitation systems.
- Decent employment is a challenge for city dwellers in the context of changing patterns of work and continuing casualization within labour markets. Many rely on informal employment in order to make a living and lack the basic protections and benefits associated with formal sector work.
- Many urban residents live in smaller towns with close connections to rural livelihoods. There is a need to understand changing patterns of migration and the flow of goods and services between urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
- Climate change is already having a profound impact on cities, and in most cases its impacts disproportionately impact low-income residents. Urban processes will increasingly be influenced by climate change, and cities must simultaneously seek to mitigate climate change while adapting to its most immediate impacts.
How we are addressing it:
The global urban futures group seek to understand and address these challenges through engaged research and practice. Research themes include:
- Addressing urban inequalities and making cities more inclusive
- Exploring innovative solutions to the global housing crisis
- Enabling city dwellers to make a decent living
- Widening access to public and green space, infrastructure and public transport for all city dwellers
- Co-producing knowledge with urban communities and social movements
Led by Professor Diana Mitlin, ACRC and its international partners will tackle complex problems in some of Africa’s fastest growing urban areas.
This research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, looks at how community involvement in urban development can help achieve inclusive cities.
This project investigates the geographical expansion of urban real estate markets in Africa through a comparative study of Accra, Ghana, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Seth Schindler's project is a Newton Advanced Fellowship
This is the first large-scale multi-site comparative research project focused on deindustrialisation in cities the Global South.
Smith Ouma and Tom Gillespie have been collaborating with social movement organisations to democatise data on urban land ownership in Nairobi and Manchester.
Diana Mitlin's project aims to support the fund's development through the analysis of secondary data.
Our teaching agenda:
- Global Urban Development and Planning MSc
- Research Methods with International Development MSc
- Development Policy and Management PhD
People and publications:
Click on the names below to read their latest publications or read the latest publications from the Global Development Institute.
- Dr Nicola Banks - Senior Lecturer, International Development: Urban Development and Global Urbanism
- Dr Tom Gillespie - Lecturer, Global Urban Development
- Prof David Hulme - Professor, Development Studies
- Prof Diana Mitlin - Professor, Global Urbanism, Director of Global Urban Research Centre
- Dr Johan Oldekop - Reader in Environment and Development
- Dr Maria Rusca – Senior Lecturer in Global Development
- Dr Seth Schindler - Senior Lecturer, Urban Development and Urban Transformation
- Dr Alice Sverdlik - Lecturer in Social Development
There are several non-GDI colleagues who are also involved in the global urban futures research group
- Dr Alfredo Stein - Lecturer in Urban Development Planning
- Dr Leandro Minuchin - Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Global Urbanism
- Mohd Helmi Abu Yahya - Homelessness and the Political Agenda in Southeast Asia: The Case Study of Malaysia
- Laura Hirst - Fire justice in informal settlements in the Global South: evidence from Nairobi, Kenya
- Whitney Banyai-Becker - Leaning in to urban social movements: a gendered analysis of Muungano wa Wanavijiji