The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Dr Barbara Lipietz

Dr Barbara Lipietz

Associate Professor

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Dec 2010

Research summary

My research coalesces around an exploration of the political and institutional dynamics of urban development planning. I am particularly interested in exploring the space- and time- specific agency and room for manoeuvre of various city actors in steering more socially and spatially just outcomes, in contexts marked by uneven urbanisation and energy/environmental challenges.

Specific areas of research interest include:

  • Urban governance, participatory governance and planning through co-production
  • Circulation and localisation of public policy - urban policies and planning, anti-poverty strategies, DRR and resilience
  • Urban politics, urban regimes, party-social movements dynamics
  • Alternatives to competitive and ‘world city’ agendas: the 'just' city, inclusive cities, the 'right to the city', sustainable cities, resilient cities 
  • Strategic planning - and the uneasy dialogue between strategic, city-wide planning, participatory governance and everyday (often informal) practices in the city 
  • Housing policy, slum upgrading practices, urban regeneration
  • Pedagogy for community-led strategic action planning 

Teaching summary

MSc Teaching

BENVPU2:  Urban Development Policy. Planning And Management: Strategic Action In Theory And Practice

BENVPU3:  Practice In Urban Development Planning

PhD Supervision


Dr. Barbara Lipietz is a Lecturer at the Development Planning Unit where she directs DPU’s MSc in Urban Development Planning and convenes the DPU Research Cluster on Urban Transformations.

I am an interdisciplinary planner with a formal background in history and development studies.  In the DPU, I am director of the MSc in Urban Development Planning and teach on two of the core modules for the course. I am convener of the Urban Transformations research cluster and co-coordinate the ACHR/DPU Junior Professional Internship Programme. Outside the DPU, I sit on UCL's Urban Lab Steering Committee and am member of the Urban Planning Advisory Group (UPAG) which reports to UNISDR's Special Representative of the Secretary General. I am editor of the 'Forum' section of the journal CITY which seeks to stimulate debate on the city from a variety of experiences and viewpoints - especially those outside the confines of academia and the 'global north'.

Before joining the DPU, I straddled the worlds of research and practice, working as a research fellow at the LSE and collaborating with a number of international and (particularly South Africa-based) local institutions such as UN-Habitat, the Green Group of the European Parliament, Isandla Institute, John Hopkins University, the Transitional National Development Trust, NURCHA, the National Business Initiative, the Gauteng Provincial government and the City of Johannesburg. This work has spanned monitoring and evaluation, policy recommendations, and strategic planning input in the fields of (urban) governance, participatory governance, partnership-based service delivery, urban poverty, urban regeneration and housing. 

I continue working with a number of these organisations, including most recently UNISDR, Habitat International coalition (HIC), Metropolis, Just Space (London), the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR), the Community Architects Network (CAN), Homeless People's Federation and Community Initiatives (Tanzania), the Philippine Alliance, Spaces for Youth Development (Nigeria), Genre en Action and Alternatives Pour des Projets Urbains Ici et à l'International (APPUII) - through DPU-related course/research work, advisory services and other forms of collaboration.

I hold a PhD and MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) and a BA in History from the University of Cambridge.