The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Prof Julio D Davila

Prof Julio D Davila

Professor of Urban Policy and International Development

Head of Department

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
15th Oct 1990

Research summary

My research focuses on the role of city governments in progressive social and political transformation; governance dimensions of urban and peri-urban infrastructure (transport, water & sanitation); planning and urban informality; and linkages between rapid urbanisation and health. Recent and current projects include: inter-disciplinary research on urban zoonotic diseases, Nairobi; social impacts of transport investments in Barranquilla, Colombia; and equity dimensions of public bicycles in Latin American cities. Other recent research: ESRC-DFID-funded project on mobility, poverty reduction, social inclusion and urban integration in Medellin, Colombia; co-authored Lancet article on urban health. 

See complete list of publications under 'Publications'. My books include: 

Selected other publications: 

Teaching summary

Julio currently runs the Doctoral Seminar series for first-year MPhil/PhD students at the DPU and teaches in the following UCL Master's modules:

DPU: 'Industrialisation and infrastructure' 

UCL Institute for Global Health: 'Urban health' 

Bartlett School of Planning: 'International case studies in transport planning'


University of London
PhD, Planning studies | 1998
University College London
MSc, Urban Planning | 1984
University College London
P.Grad Dip, | 1983
Universidad de los Andes
BSc Hons, Civil Engineering | 1981


Julio D Dávila is Professor of Urban Policy and International Development, and Director of the Development Planning Unit, UCL. 

Twitter: @DavilaJulio 

A civil engineer and urban development planner with 30 years’ international experience in research and consultancy projects in 15 countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Prof. Dávila's research focuses on the role of local government in progressive social and political transformation in developing countries; the governance dimensions of urban and peri-urban infrastructure (transport, and water & sanitation); the intersection between planning and urban informality; and linkages between rapid urbanisation and health. 

Prof. Dávila has taught at the London School of Economics and the University of Cape Town, and has lectured in several universities around the world. He has had advisory roles for institutions and projects including at Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Medellín campus), Children Change Colombia (a UK-based charity) and the British Academy. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK).

Prior to UCL, he was a research fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London and Buenos Aires, under the leadership of the late Argentinian urbanist and historian, Dr Jorge E Hardoy. In 1988 at IIED he co-founded the journal Environment & Urbanization (Sage), one of the most influential and widely quoted international journals in the urban field.  

As a young graduate civil engineer in his native Colombia, he worked as a planner and researcher at the National Planning Agency (Departamento Nacional de Planeación), where he contributed his knowledge on self-help housing in Bogotá to the country’s first National Housing Plan. 

You can listen to Julio talking about critical challenges for cities of the Global South, and in dialogue with DPU colleagues in a podcast discussing DPU's research on urban mobility as part of the 'Thinking Cities: Debating just development in the Global South' series.