The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Dr Barbara Lipietz

Dr Barbara Lipietz

Associate Professor

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Jun 2010

Research summary

My research focuses on 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 and 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 Associate Professor 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. At the DPU, I lead the MSc in Urban Development Planning and am convener of the DPU's Urban Transformations research cluster. I also co-ordinate the DPU/ACHR (Asian Coalition for Housing Rights) Junior Professional Internship Programme. I am Co-Chair of UCL's Grand Challenges of Sustainable Cities and sit on UCL's Urban Lab Steering Committee. Outside UCL, I am member of the Urban Planning Advisory Group (UPAG) for UNDRR, the United Nations' Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. I am part of the editorial collective of the journal CITY.

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 local institutions such as UN-Habitat, the Green Group of the European Parliament, Isandla Institute, John Hopkins University, 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 the above and additional organisations, through DPU-related course/research work, advisory services and other forms of collaboration. These include: the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDDR), Habitat International coalition (HIC), the Global Platform for the Right to the City, United Cities and Local Government (UCLG-CISDP), Metropolis, the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR), Community Architects Network (CAN), Homeless People's Federation and Community Initiatives (Tanzania), the Philippine Alliance, Arkom Jogja (Indonesia and Yogjakarta), Spaces for Youth Development and Initiatives (Nigeria), Genre en Action (France), Alternatives Pour des Projets Urbains Ici et à l'International (APPUII) (France), Just Space (London). 

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.