The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Nura Ali


Nationality: Austrian

Thesis: Informality and the Right to Health: How Informal Networks Shape Access to Water in the Makoko Settlement

Key Topics: informal water networks, urban health, water planning, right to health


My academic background is in International Development (BA, MA), Romance Literature and Languages (BA), and Development Administration and Planning (MSc) – the latter at the DPU. Before embarking on my PhD at the Development Planning Unit, I worked in project development in international NGOs, grassroots projects and a government bank. The projects I developed are located at the intersection of research, social policy, and global health.

My research project explores how different stakeholders involved in water delivery affect access to water in the Makoko settlement in Lagos, and which implications this holds for socio- spatial health inequalities. In Makoko, informal water networks emerged as a counter-narrative to public service absenteeism partly rooted in a colonial urban planning legacy. Linking global and historical explanations for the water crisis to empirical data, my research strives to challenge orthodox development and planning discourses based on notions of an “African exceptionalism” vis-à-vis the “European master narrative” while contributing to the theoretical and empirical development of the “right to health” as a prerequisite for the “right to the city”.

In my spare time I enjoy running, hiking, immersing myself in nature and having good food with friends and family.

Primary supervisor: Michael Walls
Secondary Supervisor: Haim Yacobi

Web profiles: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nura-ali-38690a53/


  • Languages: German, English, Spanish, French and a bit Italian
  • Grant holder of the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentship