The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Dr Kamna Patel

Lecturer Development Administration

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
16th Jul 2012

Research summary

My current research activities fall within two themes: (i) housing, land tenure and citizenship in the urban Global South, and (ii) reflexive practice and postcolonial scholarship on practices of ‘development’. The first of my research themes, is essentially concerned with the role of property in awarding, seizing, denying or contesting citizenship rights, which are sometimes expressed with recourse to national legislation or a moral reference to the right to the city. Specifically, my research has critically examined state-led approaches to low income housing schemes and tenure security in cities in the Global South, and the effects of these approaches on individual and community wellbeing, and realisations of citizenship. The second of my research themes, reflexive practice and postcolonial scholarship on practices of ‘development’, is an essential part of my own scholar identity as a reflexive practitioner. Further to critical self-reflection on my career as a consultant and project manager within the development industry, I have developed a strong research interest in the processes and politics of ‘othering’ prevalent in mainstream development policy and practice, and the constructions of knowledge upon which development interventions are planned. I apply this critical insight to the teaching of development studies and research of development issues.

Teaching summary



I have a background in development studies, social policy and social development. Prior to my doctoral studies, I worked as a consultant and project manager for a UK development consultancy firm, working predominantly on land reform and urban livelihood issues in projects across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. 

I currently serve as the Course Co-Director of the MSc Development Administration and Planning, the DPU/UCL Coordinator of the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (a 13 member network of Asian and European institutions), and, since 2016, am a member of the Race Equality Steering Group at UCL.