About me: Having originally studied History, in 2011 I read Urban Development Planning at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL). Graduating in 2012, my subsequent work has predominantly focussed on efforts to defend and extend affordable housing options in cities of the Global South. Beyond this, I have also practiced as an urban planner, designer and policy-maker for public and private sector organisations in the UK.
For the past two years, I have been engaged as a Teaching Fellow and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the DPU, working with international student groups to explore the practice of urban development planning in rapidly transforming and increasingly unequal cities worldwide as well as the practicalities of supporting alternative housing options. My PhD research draws on both my professional and, in particular, teaching experience.
My research: My research project proposes a comparative exploration of ‘expulsion’ as an increasingly dominant mode of urbanisation in London and Colombo. Engaging with how ‘explusion’ is imposed (on), experienced and resisted by inhabitants of the literal and figurative periphery, it asks what the emergence of ‘everyday expulsion’ says about the reconfiguration of housing rights in the neoliberal city; and how ‘expulsion’ can be contested within existing and emerging logics of world-class city making?
Building on the work of Saskia Sassen, this project will elaborate the challenge of defending / extending rights to adequate housing. At the same time, it offers fresh ground to revisit the ‘dual-city hypothesis’; which holds that the economic restructuring of ‘Global Cities’ has fragmented working-class communities and foreclosed avenues to resist increasing inequality. In spatial terms, this inequality gains expression as dual-cities: off-worlds and on-worlds, the gated and the ghetto.
By comparing urban processes across two ‘Global Cities’ – one Southern, one Northern, one emergent, one established – this project promises a unique insight into the societal cost of expulsive urbanisation. Amplifying the voices of communities located at the sharp margins of world-class city visions this project will assert the irreplaceability of everyday neighbourhoods and leverage this assertion as grounds to think and do planning differently.
Pathway: International Development
Location: UCL Development Planning Unit