The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


The DPU at DSA2022

4 July 2022

The Development Studies Association’s annual conference in 2022 is taking place online, organised and hosted by University College London, with lead organisation from DPU's Andrea Rigon.


The conference is organised around the core theme 'Urbanising futures and sustainability', and adopts justice and equity as central normative lenses to explore just futures in an urbanising and mobile world, facing a climate and ecological crisis in a pandemic or post-pandemic context.

The conference will bring together researchers and practitioner in the development studies field to explore just futures in an urbanising and mobile world. The innovative conference format adopts a range of approaches in order to get the most from the online format and make it an even more inclusive event.

This is the most important conference in the field of development, and currently has over 750 registered participants. Of these, over 40% from the Global South, which is an extraordinary achievement as development studies is usually dominated by Global North scholars speaking about the South. 

Below we have highlighted the panels and accepted papers involving DPU academics.


Sustainable urban land governance at the interface between common, public and formerly customarily controlled space

Wednesday 6 July, 13:00-13:40 (UTC+1)

Carolin Dieterle (LSE)
Alexandra Panman (UCL)


This panel aims to consider and debate key issues raised by research from different disciplines on the interface between common, public and formerly customarily controlled spaces and the urban development process, whether within major cities or as part of rapidly urbanising peripheral zones.

Long Abstract

Transformation of land and property rights is a feature of urban development processes that remains poorly understood. In contexts of rapid urbanisation and increasing pressures on land for residential and commercial purposes, competing and overlapping land rights and claims can lead to protracted conflicts, hindering poverty reduction and sustainable economic development. Peri-urban ‘transitional zones’, as sites for infrastructure and informal settlement by rural migrants and people pushed out of cities, are changing from agricultural to urban land uses, creating additional pressures on food production and supplies for urban consumption. Informal settlements, are often still constructed without adequate planning and in hazardous areas, creating tensions between environmental protection and secure rights to land and housing. The erosion of public space, and pressures on remaining common resources in and around major cities is compounded by new ecological and environmental challenges. How can the needs for economic development, secure rights and food and environmental security be reconciled, amidst increasing land pressures in urban and peri-urban areas?

This panel considers issues raised by research from different disciplines on the interface between common, public, and formerly customarily controlled spaces and the urban development process, whether within major cities or urbanising peripheral regions. It seeks to reflect on and propose new ideas with the aim of rethinking urban and peri-urban research and policy agendas. Of particular interest are contributions on how overlapping and/or competing land and property rights, and relations between different social groups matter for equitable and sustainable development in these contexts. How do tenure dynamics underpin urban development processes, and who gains and who loses? How do private, customary, or collective rights shape the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of urban development? What types of governance innovations can help to overcome land-use conflicts and contested property rights and promote more sustainable and inclusive outcomes?

This panel would contribute to conference Theme Two (‘Urbanising futures, governance and social movements’), with potential cross-cutting links to Themes One and Four. As a research paper-based panel, in line with guidelines for shorter, more interactive sessions, interested researchers are asked to submit contribution outlines in the form of extracts or summaries of papers, pre-recorded presentations, slide sets, or other suitable formats. Contributors will be selected in coordination with the DSA Land, Politics and Sustainability Study Group, and asked to review one another’s pieces to prepare for the panel discussion and interact in a designated online space. Contributors will have 2-3 minutes to summarise key points, new ideas and insights on governance of land in urban and urbanising areas arising from their own research. To stimulate discussion, each will be asked to respond to questions, compiled after selecting the contributions, to be circulated in advance.

Researching the post-pandemic city through digital ethnography 

Wednesday 6 July, 13:00-13:40 (UTC+1)

Raktim Ray (University College of London)
Arunima Ghoshal (De Montfort University)

Knowledge production Technology & innovation

The panel seeks to explore how (post)pandemic cities can be researched through digital ethnography. By doing so, it also addresses how digital ethnography is a complex entanglement of spatial scale, race and power relations.

Long Abstract

The palimpsest of the urban world is increasingly marked by fragmented, evolving power geometries of digital technologies that are impacting the everyday lived experience of the city through the messiness of the web and data revolution. The inherent politics of digital technologies have been heightened by the pandemic as there is a surge of interest amongst various actors of the state, civil society, citizens, and industry to extract, produce, circulate and influence urban life through the digital realm(from embodied practices to policy implications). On one hand, digital technologies have opened up possibilities for new avenues of research through remote engagement which not only reconfigures spatial scales but also unsettles the normative discourse of ‘field’. On the other hand, digital technologies are also shaped by structural inequality and hegemonic power relations and hence provides a tool for “sustaining colonial amnesia” (Dar, 2020).

Acknowledging these contradictions, this panel focuses on the use of digital ethnography as a methodological and analytical tool. It recognizes the manifold ways that the digital has pervaded lived realities and shifting conceptions of self, community and culture and how it is important to understand the interpretive processes that are constituted by these technologies (Pink 2009; Postill & Pink 2012; Degen 2015; Kaur-Gill & Dutta 2017).

This panel invites debates and discussions about the theoretical and methodological challenge that is posited by digital ethnography. Does a rigid distinction exist between conventional and digital ethnography and does that reify an ill-placed dualism? Does it instead, lead to ethnographic places that can traverse online/offline contexts and are collaborative, participatory, open and public (Pink, 2009, Walker, 2010). It also raises the question of whether current digital ethnographic practices are being conceptualised/utilised to their full potential that allows it to encapsulate the social, physical and cultural systems of the urban digital space.

This panel aims at bringing together scholars, activists and artists who are operating with this understanding of digital methodological tools and to reflect on questions related to using digital ethnography in researching the (post)pandemic city. The panel also seeks to invite non-academic submissions from activists and artists which may include digital arts, photography or any audio-visual material as forms of submissions. The themes that this panel aims to address are:

• Positioning digital methodological tools in the context of access and inequalities of everyday practices

• Does digital ethnography provide a pathway to collaborative, democratic & participatory researching practices?

• What broader connections does this method make to gaining an in-depth understanding of multi-scalar politics of data-driven urban infrastructure and policymaking?

• How does race get addressed in digital ethnography?

• What are the ethical and practical considerations for using digital ethnography in understanding the everyday embodied experiences of the digital citizen?

Panellists need to upload pre-recorded presentation or creative contributions. Convenors would request the panel members to watch each other’s work in advance to the synchronous session. Based on the contributions from the panel members, the convenors will identify overarching themes which will be part of the discussion round. Each presenter will be given 6 minutes time to present their contributions which will be followed by 2 minutes discussion. The summary discussion round will take place after all the contributions in that panel and the convenors will start the round by pitching the previously identified overarching questions. At the end of the discussion round the floor will be open to the audience for further discussions on the contributions.

Urban design from the global South/East: Imagining just futures 

Wednesday 6 July, 13:50-14:30 (UTC+1)

Beatrice De Carli (London Metropolitan University)
Ola Uduku (University of Liverpool)
Catalina Ortiz (UCL)


The workshop explores the significance of critical design in the urban context, and interrogates its relevance for development studies and practice. To do so, the event facilitates a dialogue around the role of critical urban design ontologies, theories, and praxes in advancing justice in cities.

Long Abstract

This workshop aims to create a space for dialogue around the role of critical urban design in advancing justice in cities.

In recent years, several voices have aimed to bring design closer to the question of justice. This 'difficult labour' - as Mareis and Paim (2021) put it - stems from the recognition that design is complicit in the structural systems of oppression that serve to reproduce power and privilege. Critical voices in this field are largely grounded in the global South/East - shaping an area of work that Escobar (2018) describes as the transnational field of critical design studies. This mobilises terms such as indigenous design, pluriversal design, and designing otherwise to highlight the possibility of re-conceiving design's entanglements with power not as tools of oppression, but as a force for social justice.

This workshop is concerned with the significance of this discourse in the urban context, and with its relevance for development studies and practice. The focus is set on the role of 'urban design' in shaping relationships of power in cities. With others, we adopt an expansive definition of urban design, as a collaborative critical and creative task of imagining future urban spaces. During the event, we will interrogate how critical urban design is being practiced and theorised in, through and from the global South/East, as a means for illustrating and putting into action more just urban futures. The workshop will foster discussion around three focus areas: design praxes and methodologies; theoretical perspectives; and epistemological and ontological positionings.

Grassroots tactics and solutions 

Wednesday 6 July, 13:50-14:30 (UTC+1)

Nura Ali (UCL)

Politics and political economy

This session discusses public participation and community-based approaches to planning, water, and mental health with papers from different geographies and disciplines.

Long Abstract

Multiplicity, the balancing of epistemic infrastructures and collective action outside of capitalist and urban regimes have emerged as a possible way to navigate contemporary challenges and conflict in a way that doesn't leave the majority of the Global Community out of the equation. This panel looks at grassroots initiatives from different continents and disciplinary perspectives, to find ways of re-conceptualising the urban condition through "rooted", or bottom-up epistemologies. 

Panelists will look at the grey spaces between established binaries, new colonialities and their fragmented infrastructures/governmentalities, anthropogenic crises, trauma-inflicted pasts and their neurological impact on the future, and provide hopeful glimpses at community solutions.

Methodology: Panelists will upload pre-recorded presentations. Convenors will ask panelists to watch other people's presentation in advance of the synchronous sessions. The convenors will also share in advance what they think are the key questions emerging from the recorded presentations which will be prompts for the synchronous discussion. The convenors will also start the synchronous session outlining these questions. Then, each presenter will give a 2min pitch summarising their key argument and another 2min in which they address one of the key questions form the convenors. After this, the discussion will be open to the audience with convenors' moderation.

The making and unmaking of sanitation taboos across urban Africa. The OVERDUE project 

Thursday 7 July, 11:00-11:40 (UTC+1)

Adriana Allen (University College London)

Gender & generation Infrastructure


Gendered taboos ruling the use of toilets, bodily norms, and sanitation work reinforce gender hierarchies quietly undermining equitable sanitation pathways. This session explores the making and unmaking of sanitation taboos across urban Africa, and their multidimensional effects on women and girls.

Long Abstract

Multiple gendered taboos surrounding the use of toilets, bodily norms, and access to sanitation work and infrastructure reinforce gender hierarchies through social norms and public policies. The ways in which certain sanitation experiences and practices are rendered taboo undermine the pursuit of equitable sanitation pathways. Despite the commitment expressed by African leaders through the 2015 Ngor Declaration, to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030 - later endorsed by the international community as part of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 – sanitation continues to be treated as a ‘taboo’, an unspoken subject across almost every culture. We talk, plan and manage cities and urban life as if faeces and urine were not part of them, but rather an unpleasant topic rarely tackled in its own right and complexity and pushed aside in favour of clean water, water-based sewage systems and water-intensive hygiene practices.

Drawing from accounts across Freetown (Sierra Leone), Mwanza (Tanzania), Beira (Mozambique) and other cities in Senegal, Madagascar, Ivory Coast and DRC, this session will explore the making and unmaking of sanitation taboos across urban Africa, investigating the institutions and structures perpetrating taboos, their materialization into infrastructure and spatial practices, and their multidimensional effects on women and girls. Adopting a feminist perspective, we aim to instigate a collective discussion on how traditional and modern taboos work to regulate bodies, behaviour, daily life, and the relation with the material world drawing invisible lines between the desirable and undesirable, cleanliness and dirt, decency and indecency, what is allowed and suppressed.

In terms of format, the session will draw on three to four short video clips (total 15 min) produced by the OVERDUE project’s team and based on their original work and external contributors. These videos will be introduced by the chair and used to prompt contributions and discussion with participants. These will be facilitated through a collective online space (Jamboard) (15 min). One or two discussants will close the session drawing on their experience and work to advance just sanitation (10 min).

Inclusive planning for more just urban spaces: Starting with disability

Thursday 7 July, 11:00-11:40 (UTC+1)

Julian Walker (University College London)
Mikaela Patrick (Global Disability Innovation Hub)
Vera Bukachi (Kounkuey Design Initiative)
Ahmad Rifai (Yayasan Kota Kita)
John Paul Cruz (World Enabled and G3ict's Smart Cities for All)



We will reflect on two approaches to co-producing inclusive public spaces (a) using innovative communication technologies to make planning processes more accessible, and (b) starting from the experiences of persons with disabilities, to create public spaces that are more relevant for all users.

Long Abstract

This panel is intended to act as a space for inclusive urban planning practitioners to reflect on two approaches to creating public spaces that are more inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities, and ultimately benefitting all users. Firstly, we will explore how the technologies of planning themselves can be made more inclusive, through using communication tools which make planning processes more accessible, and less hierarchical. Secondly, we will explore how the lived experience of persons with disabilities, and other urban citizens whose experiences are often not properly addressed in public spaces (such as older persons or carers) can be taken as a starting point in planning through inclusive design approaches, rather than being retro-fitted. In doing so we will explore the wider implications and benefits of making the agency of these citizens more prominent in urban planning.


Panellists will upload pre-recorded presentations, and participants and attendees will be asked to watch all presentations in advance of the synchronous discussion session. Participants will then be asked to reflect on all of the presentations by responding to a number of cross-cutting questions prepared by the convenors. Each panellist will have 5 minutes to respond. After this, the discussion will be open to the audience with convenors' moderation.

Critical pedagogies in the urban turn 

Thursday 7 July, 15:00-16:00 (UTC+1)

Julia Wesely (University College London)
Adriana Allen (University College London)

Mariana Enet (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba)
Rodrigo Faria G. Iacovini (Instituto Pólis)

Knowledge production


We examine how grassroots & activist organisations practice critical pedagogies in the urban turn, recognising their challenges,possibilities & complexities. We explore ways to design&curate learning for collective agency & capacities to negotiate & transform urban development for more just societies.

Long Abstract

This panel articulates voices of pedagogues from Latin American social movements, activists and grassroots organisations working under the umbrella of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) to reflect on their experiences of practising pedagogies of change.

We argue that 'pedagogies of change' differ from the more widely used notion of 'theory of change' as they emphasise the activation of collective agency, common passions and affects; thus, shifting the focus from the teleological purpose they serve, to why and how they arise. We go beyond an exploration of capacities to generate ways of understanding the world (saberes), and surface pedagogic tactics and strategies that allow for seeing, listening, being and doing differently (haceres).

The panel draws from a two-year process of in-depth conversations and workshops with 8 pedagogic experiences of Members of HIC in Latin America that led to a series of short videos. The production of these artefacts evolved as reflective story-telling process through which we distilled the 'haceres' of how their pedagogies are practiced and work towards habitat rights by collectivising consciousness, resistance, contestation, and possibilities, sensibilities, and hope.

Methodologically, the session uses short clips to facilitate a discussion structured around ways of practising critical pedagogies.

You can access the full videos (EN+ES) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03RDbo1lw1Q&list=PLPNLyZ3QOM9V2LB4Ose3cIOl2Q2ZSTYty

Each clip captures core premises of pedagogies in action, stimulating translocal and networked conversations with filmmakers and pedagogues, including Silsa Pineda (FUNDASAL, El Salvador), Mariana Enet (University of Córdoba, Argentina) and Rodrigo Farias Iacovini (Instituto Pólis, Brazil).

Faith-based organisations and urban development in the Middle East; learning from the past and looking to the future

Thursday 7 July, 15:00-16:00 (UTC+1)

Vafa Dianati (University College London)
Ayse Gümeç Karamuk (University College London)

Azadeh Mashayekhi (The Bartlett, University College London)



This workshop aims to unpack the role of Faith-based organisations (FBOs) in urban development processes and delivery of urban services in Middle Eastern cities. Discussants and participants will discuss the historical roots and successive development of FBOs in relation to urban development.

Long Abstract

A rise in religious nationalism, fundamentalism and political Islam has been a focus of academic debate for well over the past two decades. However, analysis of the growing role of religious (charitable) organisations - faith-based organisations (FBOs), as they are now described in the development field - and their relationship to critical issues of urban development has, until recently, received minimal detailed examination, particularly in the context of the Middle East. Given this dearth of research and considering the increasing influence and visibility of the FBOs in various urban domains, this workshop aims to create a space to exchange existing and ongoing research on the role of FBOs in shaping the present and future pathways of urban development in the Middle Eastern cities.

Therefore, this workshop invites discussants and participants to critically discuss across these questions and beyond: What are the mechanisms in which FBOs operate? How to evaluate their role in promoting inclusive development and urban justice in the Middle East? What are the methodological challenges of studying the practices of FBOs? And how can we imagine their future practices in the rapidly changing socio-political landscape of the Middle East?

The workshop is convened and chaired by academics at UCL researching the politics of urban development and planning in the global south, who will be joined by four discussants and participants.

1. Dr. Azam Khatam (York University)

2. Dr. Gulcin Erdi (CNRS)

3. Dr. Amina Ekman (DPU, UCL)

4. Hanadi Samhan (DPU, UCL)

(Re)imagining just and sustainable urban futures: perspectives from the Philippines 

Friday 8 July, 11:50-12:30 (UTC+1)

Jordana Ramalho (University College London)

Tin Alvarez (University College London)
Chester Arcilla (University of the Philippines-Manila)
Kaira Zoe Canete (International Institute of Social Studies)


This session considers how we might (re)imagine and set about achieving more sustainable, resilient and socially just urban futures. Drawing insights from contemporary research on Philippine cities, it considers the challenges, allies, ethics and practices that might support such processes.

Long Abstract

Now, perhaps more than ever, it is clear that the path to sustainable and resilient futures must be built on a foundation of social justice. Western greed and monopolisation over COVID-19 vaccines have led to the formation of yet another variant of the virus, impacting lives and livelihoods everywhere; thousands of people are displaced from their homes on a daily basis, be that as a consequence of privatisation and commercial development, conflict, poverty, or on the back of climate-related extreme weather events that disrupt and reconfigure communities and the social ties that connect them. Cities are key sites in which these tensions, contestations and negotiations play out, and given current and predicted levels of urbanisation and urban population growth, are fundamental spaces for addressing contemporary development challenges. But what does or ‘should’ a sustainable and resilient city look like? What principles, practices and characteristics would a sustainable and resilient city embody, and what processes are central to this project?

This session explores these questions from the perspective of Philippine cities, which we argue have much to contribute to how we learn and unlearn city-making and development processes. Bringing together scholars currently examining the diverse socio-political and environmental forces that are actively shaping contemporary Philippine urbanism from different entry points (urban marginality and radical politics of grassroots resistance; housing, dispossession and home-making practices; risk, resilience and mega-infrastructure development), this interactive workshop reflects on how we might (re)imagine and set about achieving more sustainable, resilient and socially just urban futures.

Panel members will be asked to reflect on and respond to the following questions:

Based on your research, what are the main challenges to advancing urban social justice in the Philippines?

What is one word (or a phrase) that encompasses an ethic or principle for how we should go about achieving this?


Speakers will be given five minutes each to respond to these questions followed by a 10-minute Q&A from the audience. Short pieces of relevant publications from each speaker can be shared with participants as advanced asynchronous reading material.

Panel Chair:

Dr Jordana Ramalho, Lecturer in Development Planning for Diversity, DPU, UCL


Dr Chester Arcilla, Assistant Professor in Economics, Department of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines, Manila

Khristine (Tin) Alvarez, PhD Candidate, DPU, UCL

Dr Kaira Alburro-Canete, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of New South Wales - Sydney

Accepted papers

Intersectional participatory methodologies for climate justice 


Andrea Rigon (University College London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explains the importance of embedding intersectionality into participatory methods to address climate justice and proposes a methodology based on storytelling, arts and performative approaches to negotiate the principles underpinning a just climate transition.

Paper long abstract:

There is a recognition of how people's identities across different axes (gender, race/ethnicity, class, age, ability, sexuality, citizenship) determine how they are affected by climate change (Godfrey & Torres, 2016) because these identities shape people's geography, livelihood, vulnerability and capacity to adapt (Pearse, 2017). Policies and interventions to deal with climate change may further increase inequalities and injustice largely because they are blind to intersectional inequalities, ignore the complex layers of vulnerability, and lack the participation of the affected stakeholders in designing solutions. In this context, there is need for new climate knowledge to counter the disempowering techno-scientific system dominating CC policy (Nightingale et al., 2020).

Developing intersectional participatory methodologies to CC helps the move away from extractive knowledge creation towards politicised coproduction approaches able to challenge power structures (McArdle, 2021). An intersectional participatory approach can reveal how these intersectional inequalities interact with CC and policies to address it, transforming power relations at the core of social identities, and lead to more just, democratic, multifaceted and multi-scalar climate solutions (Malin & Ryder, 2018).

Building on the author's work to embed intersectionality in participatory processes, the paper explains the importance of intersectional participatory methods for climate justice and presents how they can be developed by adapting storytelling, artistic and performative approaches. Such methods can help challenge the anthropocentric lens and consider the interests of non-human animals, the planet and future generations. They can provide fresh insights into complex issues grounded in people's experience, challenge assumptions, and demonstrate new connections between issues.

Operationalisation of Care Through Solidarity Networks: Initiatives by Quarantine Youth Student Network in Kolkata during the Pandemic 


Raktim Ray (University College of London)
Debojit Kumar Thakur (University of Trier)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores how solidarity networks like Quarantined Student- Youth Network in Kolkata provided care to the marginalised communities during the pandemic. By doing so, it defines the framework of inclusive innovation through a politics of care.

Paper long abstract:

The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability, paradox and precarity of urban living more severely on the margins of the rural-urban interface. The inadequacy of the state support was more prominent with the absence of infrastructure of care. Simultaneously, new forms of infrastructure evolved during the pandemic through 'networked mobilisation' of social capital. Civil society's participation outside the state's premise is not new but they reconfigured their participation through solidarity networks. Here solidarity networks have emerged to provide care and support to vulnerable communities. The current paper focuses on one such solidarity network viz. Quarantined Student- Youth Network (QSYN) in Kolkata and explores how a politics of care was operationalised to support marginalised communities. QSYN mobilised resources through crowdfunding and was involved in setting up community kitchens and volunteer-led educational programmes for economically marginalised groups in Kolkata. By adopting the framework of 'inclusive innovation' the paper contributes in two ways. On one hand, it decentres the normative idea of infrastructure and establishes solidarity networks as innovative forms of infrastructure. On the other hand, the paper brings politics of care to the centre of the inclusive innovation framework and opens up possibilities for a nuanced understanding of civil society solidarity networks.

In/formality and land ownership in urban Somaliland: converting pastoral land to private ownership 


Michael Walls (UCL)
Colin Marx (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

Somaliland's pastoral communities have long held land under collective customary ownership with rapid urbanisation driving privatisation, utilising a combination of customary and legal mechanisms to formalise that process. This paper explores those dynamics, drawing on primary research.

Paper long abstract:

Somaliland is traditionally dominated by pastoral communities with a complex system of collective customary ownership, operating within a predominantly oral legal tradition known as xeer. However, urbanisation rates have increased markedly in recent years, with Hargeysa in particular growing rapidly. Urban growth has been predominantly unplanned and in Hargeysa falls outside formal legal arrangements in most cases, navigating instead a somewhat opaque system of privatisation that employs varying systems that make shifting use of xeer, legal courts and Islamic courts to formalise land transfer from collective ownership to private. Transactions are often, though not always, designed to reduce visibility to the tax authorities but also frequently involve notaries to 'formalise' arrangements. Implicit in these systems is a systematic means of transferring ownership from customary, clan-based groups to individual ownership. While individuals are able to profit personally from this transfer, the customary collective often retains a limited right to interfere in land sales should they be unhappy with transfers of ownership at any point. This results in sometimes complicated arrangements in which conflict over tenure is fairly common. This paper will explore those dynamics and will draw on primary research conducted as part of the research project Complex land markets in urban transitions in Somaliland and Uganda.

Understanding the Role of Collective Property in Sustainable Urban Economic Development: Evidence from First Nations Reserves in Canada 


Alexandra Panman (UCL)
Liam Kelly (University of Northern British Columbia)

Paper short abstract:

Urbanisation, economic growth and land individualisation often go hand-in-hand. What happens when property cannot be alienated? This paper presents evidence on First Nations reserves in Canada, highlighting key implications for sustainable urban development and implications for titling policy.

Paper long abstract:

Urbanization is a defining characteristic of economic development across the world. Privatisation of land is often understood to play a key role in this economic transformation, but is also linked to the loss of environmental, cultural, and social value. In this context, there are growing calls for legal protection of common property in the Global South. Little is known, however, of the economic implications of this approach: can communities exploit the economic benefits of urbanisation without ceding ownership of property? This paper draws across regional and disciplinary boundaries to provide new insight on this question from Canada, where more than 600 First Nations reserves are located in urban and peri-urban areas. We present results of the first phase of mixed-methods research which brings together census and land registry data to assess determinants and characteristics of economic development in collectively held land, contrasts it with privatised property, and seeks to understand the implications of different approaches for both the economic and social value of land. The findings have direct implications for policy in Canada and beyond, as they shed light on key processes at the heart of sustainable urban development that are pertinent to rapidly expanding cities in the Global South.

How State learns? The Development of Ethiopia's Industrial Park Programme and its Engagements with China 


Jing Zhang (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

This research uses a learning lens to explore the dynamics of policy translation of Chinese SEZ experiences in Ethiopia. The roles of Chinese actors as policy entrepreneurs and epistemic communities are highlighted, who have interacted with local political institutions to shape the policy process.

Paper long abstract:

Among other African countries, Ethiopia is widely considered as a notable case in the continent to draw lessons and learn from major East Asian economies for latecomer industrialization. From institutionalization of the Japanese Kaizen approach to the establishment of sectoral institutes in line with the South Korean model, learning from China's industrialization especially taking the "Special Economic Zones(SEZs)" approach become increasingly evident in recent years. With the ambition of transferring Ethiopia into Africa's light manufacturing hub by 2025, more than 10 specialized industrial parks (a type of SEZs) have been established in different urban centres since 2012 mainly led by the Federal Government of Ethiopia.

As one of the most successful countries to achieve far-reaching economic transformations by leveraging SEZs, China has been active in this process. The earliest industrial Park in Ethiopia was developed by a Chinese investor as a part of MOFCOM initiatives. Beyond the park developers, Chinese actors have also been intensively engaging as investors, infrastructure contactors and knowledge partners. Through tracing the policy learning process of the Ethiopian state over the evolution of industrial park programme— more specifically the interaction between different types of ideas, institutions and actors, my research aims to contribute a better understanding of the agency from both Ethiopian and Chinese sides that have shaped the policy and politics in the context of Ethiopian late industrialization and urbanization.

Pre-conference Webinars & In-conference Plenaries with DPU involvement

Pre-conference Webinar 1: The politics and governance of sustainable urban futures

Thursday 19 May, 13:00 – 14:30

How do politics and multiple scales of governance affect just urban-rural linkages? How do cities collaborate with each other? What political claims are poor rural and urban communities, as well as migrant and displaced residents, making and what forms of political participation and planning help bring about just sustainable futures?


Gautam Bhan, School of Human Development, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) Mona Fawaz, Professor in Urban Studies and Planning, American University of Beirut Susan Parnell, Global Challenges Research Professor, School of Geography, Bristol University


Chair: Caren Levy, University College London

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3ZAiOZaZAE&feature=youtu.be

Pre-conference Webinar 3: What role for the university in bringing about just sustainable futures?

Thursday 23 June, 13:00 – 14:30

A conversation on the ‘public’ role of the university in a world of intersecting, ‘glocal’ (global/local) crises, with speakers at the interface of theory and activism from diverse and interlinked geographies.


Franciso de Assis Comarú, Associate Professor, Federal University of ABC (São Paulo) Mona Harb, Professor of Urban Studies and Politics, American University of Beirut


Chair: Barbara Lipietz, Associate Professor, DPU and Vice-Dean International, The Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbHD5RqdG9U

  • Zarina Patel, Associate Professor of Human Geography, University of Cape Town
  • Neha Sami, Associate Dean – School of Environment and Sustainability, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS)
In-conference Closing Plenary: Just sustainable futures and knowledge production

Friday 8 July, 13:00 – 14:30

What knowledge and learning are needed for just futures? Who are the actors and what are the possible forms of producing knowledge for a just future? What role can academia play and what partnerships are necessary to enhance effectiveness? What kind of epistemologies and methodologies do we need if we are to make a justice-oriented approach integral to development?


Mark Swilling, Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch Kevin Lo Tek Sheng, Associate Director, David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies (LEWI); Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University Farhana Sultana, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University


ChairAdriana Allen, President of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC)