The Development Planning Unit conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south.
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Julio D Dávila is Professor of Urban Policy and International Development, and Director of the Development Planning Unit, UCL.
A civil engineer and urban development planner, I have over 25 years’ international experience in research and consultancy projects in 15 countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. My 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.
I have taught at the London School of Economics and the University of Cape Town, have lectured in several universities around the world, and have been a PhD examiner in several countries. I have had an advisory role in a number of institutions, including Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Medellín campus), Children Change Colombia (a UK-based charity) and Homeless International (now called Reall, also a UK-based charity).
Prior to UCL, I 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 I co-founded the journal Environment and Urbanization, currently published by Sage, and one of the most influential and widely quoted international journals in the urban field.
As a young graduate civil engineer in my native Colombia, I worked as a planner and researcher at the National Planning Agency (Departamento Nacional de Planeación), where I contributed my knowledge on self-help housing in Bogotá to the country’s first National Housing Plan.
Current projects include: inter-disciplinary research on urban zoonotic diseases in Nairobi; the social impacts of transport investments in Barranquilla (Colombia); and the equity dimensions of public bicycles in Latin American cities. Recent research includes an ESRC-DFID funded project on links between mobility, poverty reduction, social inclusion and urban integration in urban interventions in Medellin, Colombia, and a cross-Faculty UCL Lancet Commission cities and health leading to a co-authored article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
For an updated and complete list of publications, follow links to Research outputs on the left. My books (follow links to download) include:
Dávila, J D, 2000, Planificación y política en Bogotá: La vida de Jorge Gaitán Cortés (Planning and politics in Bogotá: A biography of Jorge Gaitán Cortés), Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá, Colombia (in Spanish), 230 pages.
Selected other outputs:
Dávila, J D, 2014,“Urban fragmentation, 'good governance' and the emergence of the competitive city”, in S. Parnell, S. and S, Oldfield (eds.) The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South, Routledge, London, pp. 474-486.