Cities

Cities have a distinctive role in development processes: they are focal points for economic growth, jobs and innovation but also for poverty, inequality, vulnerability and conflict. Although we can learn from historical processes of urbanisation, there are many new development elements to understand on how cities play a role in these processes, and what it means to be living in a city in the 21st century.

INDONESIA Jakarta. Man in a wooden boat navigating a polluted waterway backed by wooden slum housing, in contrast to the high rise appartment buildings visible behind.
Credit: Mark Henley / Panos.

Our research focuses on the circumstances of poor and vulnerable people and explores ways in which different forms of inequalities interact to produce both good and bad outcomes for people in cities. It maintains a focus on rights and social justice through explorations of the boundaries between the formal-informal, legal-illegal, and of urban social movements and forms of association. There is a strong commitment to working and understanding from the ‘bottom-up’ and for finding ways to engage with people and organisations that work directly with and for city people.

Current IDS research explores a wide range of issues in cities and on the role of cities in contemporary development processes which includes:

  • The emergence of new patterns and forms of poverty and vulnerability
  • Urban governance and livelihoods
  • New forms of association and political action
  • The role of ICTs
  • Concerns for sustainable development 
  • The peri-urban space
  • The transmission of diseases

Image: Mark Henley / Panos

Key contacts

Photo of Jaideep Gupte, Research Fellow with Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915656

E: j.gupte@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Dolf te Lintelo

T: +44 (0)1273 915767

E: d.telintelo@ids.ac.uk

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Team Members

Photo of Anuradha Joshi, IDS researcher

T: +44 (0)1273 915710

E: a.joshi@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Carol Smithyes from the IDS Communications team

T: +44 (0)1273 915638

E: c.smithyes@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Deborah Shenton, Team Administrative Coordinator, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction

T: +44 (0)1273 915760

E: d.shenton@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Dolf te Lintelo

T: +44 (0)1273 915767

E: d.telintelo@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

E: e.kasper@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Gordon McGranahan, Cities research fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915657

E: g.mcgranahan@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Inka Barnett

T: +44 (0)1273 915754

E: inkab@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jaideep Gupte, Research Fellow with Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915656

E: j.gupte@ids.ac.uk

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Jean Pierre Tranchant is a Research Fellow with the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team

E: jp.tranchant@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Linda Waldman, KNOTS Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915685

E: l.waldman@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Lyla Mehta

T: +44 (0)1273 915677

E: l.mehta@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

E: m.tauson@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Rachel Sabates Wheeler

T: +44 (0)1273 915759

E: r.sabates-wheeler@ids.ac.uk

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Rajith Lakshman photo

T: +44 (0)1273 915611

E: r.lakshman@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Roger Williamson

E: r.williamson@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Terry Cannon, IDS research fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915812

E: t.cannon@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Thea Shahrokh, Research Officer for the Participation and Cities research clusters

E: t.shahrokh@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

T: +44 (0)1273 915726

E: t.nelis@ids.ac.uk

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Malnutrition and Poverty Traps in OIC Countries: Evidence and Policy Responses

This projects aims to study the links between malnutrition and poverty and between maternal and child malnutrition in OIC countries. More details

Tackling Gender-Based Violence in Gaza

This project, funded through IIED's Urban Humanitarian Crises accountable grant, seeks to explore the relationships between occupation violence and sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) in the Gaza strip within the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). More details

Assessing the Impact of Conflict and the Effects of WFP Humanitarian Interventions on Moderate Acute Malnutrition and Other Developmental Outcomes in Mali

This project is a multidisciplinary research partnership involving IFPRI, PCD, IDS and WFP which builds on a unique pre-crises baseline conducted in early 2012 to provide rigorous evidence for policymakers on the effects of humanitarian interventions by WFP on child malnutrition in in Mali. More details

Futures Workshop on Cities, Violence and Order: The Challenges and Complex Taxonomy of Security Provision in Cities of Tomorrow

Cities have for long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Cities, Violence and Order

Cities have for long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

A Mobile Training Platform for Urban Policing in India and Nepal

The aim of this project is to develop training videos for urban police that can be accessed via mobiles. This kind of platform allows the videos to be centrally updated, accessed (or ‘pushed’) on demand, and also allow for an innovative addition to police performance monitoring. More details

Informal Work and Wellbeing in Urban South Asia: Who Succeeds, Who Fails and Under What Conditions?

This study proposes an exploration of the determinants of wellbeing for informal workers living in informal settlements across a diverse set of urbanising localities in Bangladesh and India. We will present empirical evidence on what patterns and gradations of wellbeing success and failure are emerging for women and men engaged in informal work and living in informal settlements. More details

Social Cash Transfer Programme Zambia

To develop an innovative methodology that rigorously engages with the views, experiences and perceptions of cash transfer programme beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, and also explores the wider social and political impacts of social cash transfer programmes. More details

Political economy of peri-urban expansion

This project examines the role of peri-urban spaces in urban expansion and how resilience can be fostered in these contexts. More details

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