Global Urban Research Unit

Cities & International Development

Cities and International Development


The Cities and International Development (CID) theme focuses on the housing, urban planning, environment and poverty issues facing the rapidly growing cities of the Global South.

Recent topics have explored the challenges facing low income majorities and the poorest segments of society. We've looked at the strategies they employ, and effective policy responses.

Our empirical work in a broad range of developing countries focuses on some of the most vulnerable in society. Ithas explored:

  • the way homes and settlements are produced
  • the nature, extent and causes of homelessness
  • how and why residents of public housing transform their dwellings
  • pro-poor approaches to settlement upgrading
  • how home-based enterprises operate and their effect on the neighbourhood, the use of the home, and the livelihoods of the residents
  • the challenges facing people with disabilities, especially in informal settlements

Policy making

We are closely involved in policy making. We draw policy implications from our empirical work and work with national and municipal governments and international organisations such as UN-Habitat.

For example, CID members were involved in a report on 'The State of Iraqi Cities 2006/2007' for the Iraqi Government and UN-Habitat. We helped to establish an empirically-based planning context for the reconstruction of urban Iraq.

Currently members are working on developing housing policies for Iraq and Malawi.

The CID theme contributes significantly to the broader research, teaching and learning within the School. CID members are also influential in bringing a broader context to other research themes within GURU.

Supervising PhD candidates

CID members take a leading role in supervising doctoral candidates within the School. Our extensive travel and research experience in developing countries means that we bring both local and international insight to our supervision.

Currently, CID members are supervising more than 20 PhD candidates. They are from China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Thailand. Current CID members have supervised 42 PhDs to successful completion. 

Our links with many countries allow students to find bases for research overseas. In recent years we have made it possible for Masters students from Architecture and Planning to carry out research in many countries including China, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Peru, Indonesia and India. They have been involved in studies on a variety of topics including:

  • disabled Habitat for Humanity’s activities in Kenya
  • the role of the church in housing provision
  • transformations and household formation in South Africa
  • urban villages in China
  • sustainable development in India


Find out about about what we're currently working on, and projects we've completed.


Find out which members of staff are involved in this research theme.

Professor Stephen Graham
Prof of Cities & Society

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8579

Dr Peter Kellett
Senior Lecturer in Architecture

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6023

Dr Andrew Law
Lecturer in Town Planning and Degree Programme Director of the BA (Hons) Architecture and Urban Planning

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5408

Dr Suzanne Speak
Degree Programme Director MSc International Spatial Planning

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5646

Dr Graham Tipple
Visiting Fellow