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Prof Julio D Davila Silva

Prof Julio D Davila Silva

Professor of Urban Policy and International Development

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2000

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. I am currently involved in debates with scholars and practitioners on the urban impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a view to furthering applied policy research to the greatest development challenge facing humanity for generations. This arises from previous work, including: inter-disciplinary research on urban zoonotic diseases in Nairobi (Kenya); social and urban impacts of transport investments in Medellin and Barranquilla (Colombia), and in Nigerian cities; and the interactions between urban planning and health, as examined  in, among others, a co-authored Lancet article

For a complete list of publications see under 'Publications' below. 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'

Education

University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1998
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1984
University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Postgraduate Diploma | 1983
Universidad de los Andes
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1981

Biography

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 in a recent Wall Street Journal video discussing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on urban transport, 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.

Publications