The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Dr David Satterthwaite

Visiting Professor

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2006

Teaching summary

I teach half a module within the masters programme on Urban Environmental Planning and Management in Development, at the Development Planning Unit during the Autumn term. This reviews the scale and range of environmental problems in urban areas in low- and middle-income nations and their underlying causes and identifies who contributes most to such problems and who is most affected by them.  

 This half module aims to provide all participants with:

1: a comprehensive understanding of the range of environmental problems in cities and how they affect human health, local ecosystems and global systems;

2: the ability to develop approaches for the resolution of these problems within the broader political economy of urban centres and regions and the societies within which they are placed;

3: an understanding of the current and potential role of community organizations, NGOs, governments and international agencies in addressing environmental problems in urban areas;

4: an understanding of how a commitment to sustainable development changes and adds to a commitment to addressing environmental problems

I also contribute to a half module on Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Spring term, with David Dodman. This is also at the Development Planning Unit.


London School of Economics and Political Science
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1998
University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma | 1979
University of Bristol
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1973


David Satterthwaite is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Editor of the international journal Environment and Urbanization. A development planner by training with a Doctorate in social policy, he has long had an interest in the power and capacity of grassroots organizations formed by residents of informal settlements; this was the focus of a book written with Jorge Hardoy in 1989 entitled Squatter Citizen. More recent books published by Earthscan include: The Earthscan Reader on Sustainable Cities (editor), 1999; Environmental Problems in an Urbanizing World (with Jorge Hardoy and Diana Mitlin), 2001; Empowering Squatter Citizen (co-editor with Diana Mitlin), 2004 and Adapting Cities to Climate Change (co-editor with Jane Bicknell and David Dodman), 2009. 

Most of his work since 1979 has been in research, working with collaborating institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, mainly on issues of urban poverty, housing, health, environment, urban development and rural-urban linkages. This includes a particular interest in what causes and underpins the vulnerabilities of low-income groups to environmental hazards, including extreme weather events. Advice on urban issues provided to many international agencies including UNICEF, UN Habitat, World Health Organization, OECD, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Development Directorate of the European Commission, United Nations Population Division, DFID, UNRISD, DANIDA, ActionAid, WaterAid, CARE and the Brundtland Commission 

The Human Settlements Group within which he works at IIED helped to develop new funding channels for the federations formed by slum/shack dwellers. He contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the Third and Fourth Assessments (1998 to 2007) and was part of the team honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is also contributing to the Fifth Assessment that is currently underway. In 2004, he was awarded the Volvo Environment Prize and made an Honorary Professor at the University of Hull.