The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Dr Michael Walls

Dr Michael Walls

Senior Lecturer

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
23rd Feb 2004

Research summary

Research, consultancy and teaching interests lie in the related areas of development management and governance, including: state formation in developing countries; post-conflict reconstruction; state-led development and approaches to regulation of the market to promote equitable development; livelihoods in informal economies – especially African cities; frameworks for understanding and measuring development and wellbeing; and the ethical foundations for development intervention. Michael has established a particular focus on the Somali areas and Ethiopia within the Horn of Africa.

Teaching summary

2012-present: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, BENVGDA6 Society and Market: private agency for development

2005-2012: Lecturer, BENVGDA4 Development in Practice


University College London
MSc, Development Administration and Planning | 2003
University of Auckland
BA, Art History | 1989
University of Auckland
B.Com, Management | 1985


Michael is a Senior Lecturer at UCL's Development Planning Unit (DPU) and Course Director for the MSc in Development Administration and Planning. He has twelve years' experience in senior management in the private sector and lectures in 'market-led approaches to development' (a module titled 'Society and Market: Private Agency for Development'). For seven years, he was responsible for teaching development management at DPU ('Development in Practice').

For some thirteen years, he has focused on the Somali Horn of Africa, and most particularly on the evolving political settlements in Somaliland and Puntland. He is currently leading a research project focused on developing a gendered perspective on Somaliland's political settlement. As well as undertaking research on state formation and political representation, he has been a part of the coordination team for international election observations to Somaliland elections in 2005, 2010 and 2012 and is currently observing the 2016 Voter Registration process. Michael remains actively involved in a number of Somali-related groups, including the Anglo-Somali Society, Somaliland Focus (UK) and Kayd Somali Arts and Culture Ltd.

Michael is also involved in research into livelihoods and informality in African cities, and is currently a Co-Investigator on a project looking at Economic Knowledge in the context of the informal economy in Zaria, northern Nigeria.