The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Franklin Obeng-Odoom

Franklin recounts experiences of studying MSc Urban Economic Development at the Development Planning Unit

Prior to enrolling at DPU, I had been trained as a Land Economist (B.Sc.) and had held different positions in the real estate sector in Ghana, such as Land Economist and Estate Manager. With this background, I found the M.Sc. Urban Economic Development at DPU the most suitable for me.

The Urban Economic Development program trained us to understand, analyse, and formulate socio-economic policies which could enhance the urban economy.

Our training was not influenced predominantly by any particular ideological leanings. It was pluralist in nature and open to any ‘shade’ of economic thought, orthodox or heterodox. Whatever approach we took, however, we were asked the question, ‘where is the evidence?’ The training was tough and challenging but, intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

I published my first refereed paper towards the end of the program and submitted another to an international journal. On my return to Ghana, where I come from, the Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS) found my training sufficiently rich in real estate economic analysis. In turn, it granted me a one year exemption from the 2-year professional real estate training, required to qualify as a member of GhIS. I was also offered a job as a Project Officer in an estate development company but, I declined this offer because of another which better suited my aspirations, a full scholarship for doctoral research.

I am now a Teaching Fellow and Ph.D candidate at the Department of Political Economy, the University of Sydney.

My research interest is in economic development, focussing on the political economy of urbanisation, and debates in economic development. My research has appeared in journals such as Regional Studies and Housing Studies.

I am on the editorial boards of Journal of Sustainable Development and African Review of Economics and Finance and coordinate discussions on an online academic forum.