The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Dr Rita Lambert

Dr Rita Lambert

Associate Professor

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Feb 2011

Research summary

I engage in action-research and cross-disciplinary collaborations in various countries of the Global South which have included Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ghana, India, Panama, Peru and Colombia.
My main expertise are on informal urbanisation,  legal geographies, urban risk, socio-environmental justice,  spatial and participatory methodologies, as well as training and capacity building at various levels to achieve sustainable and just outcomes. 

I am a co-investigator on several projects which include:

GCRF Off Grid Cities- “GemDev: Grounded energy modelling of equitable urban planning development in the global South” (£1, 400, 000). Co-I and package lead. 

DPU-UCL- "Co-Learning for Action: From risk mitigation to transformative action to disrupt urban risk traps in Freetown". Co-PI, 2017 to date.

ESRC- "Urban African Risk Knowledge (Urban Ark)- Breaking cycles of risk accumulation in sub-Saharan Africa", Malawi (Karonga) and Sierra Leone (Freetown) (£3.000.000). Co-I and package lead. 2015-2018.

CDKN- "cLIMA sin Riesgo- Disrupting urban 'risk traps' bridging finance and knowledge for climate resilient infrastructural planning in Lima" (£300.000). Co-I and package lead. 2015-17.

ESRC- "Planning and the multiple sites of cartographic calculation" (£100.000). PI, 2013- 2018.

The Bartlett Research Materialisation Grant- "Mapping Beyond the Palimpsest- ReMap Lima" (£50.000), PI, 2013-15.

UCL Environment Institute Grant- "The Heuristics of Mapping Urban Environmental Change" (Bogota, Milan, London), (£10.000) Co-I, 2011-13.

DPU-UCL -"Water, risk and urban development in Lima- Peru". Co-PI, 2012-17.

Medical Research Council (MRC-UK)- "Urban Zoonoses - Epidemiology, ecology and socio-economics of disease emergence in Nairobi" (£4.042.240) Consultant, 2012. 

DPU-UCL in collaboration with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)- "Sustainable Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Greater Accra Metropolitan Area". Co-PI, 2010-2012.

Teaching summary

My teaching is strongly connected to the research  experience I have gained over the years. I teach within the DPU MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development and lead the practice module DEVP0022 Environment and Sustainable Development in Practice.  
I have also lectured in other courses within the DPU and in academic establishments nationally and internationally. These have included Architectural Association, University of Edinburgh, the Bartlett school of Architecture, University of Westminster, University of Greenwich, Politecnico di Milano, Technical University of Munich, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru and Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria-Peru.


I am a Lecturer (teaching) at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, Programme Leader of the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development and Careers Convenor for the DPU.

I am an urban development planner and architect. My research and teaching focus on socio-environmental justice, urban risk, energy justice, urban regeneration, dignified affordable housing,  mapping and participatory methodologies.

Prior to joining the DPU, I practiced as an architect for 8 years (housing and large scale urban regeneration projects) and taught at the Architectural Association in London. Moving to the development planning field, my doctoral research explored the relationship between planning, peripheral urbanisation and spatial knowledge production and circulation in Lima, Peru. I have undertaken action-research, training and capacity building at various levels and worked closely with communities to devise strategies towards socio-environmentally just urbanisation.

My research and consultancy roles span over 19 years and have included work in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ghana, India, Panama, Peru, Colombia, UK and United States. I speak the following languages: Spanish, French, Italian, Amharic, Tigrigna.