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Dr. Donald Brown
34 Tavistock Square
  • Lecturer in Urban Environmental Planning and Urban
  • Development Planning Unit
  • Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL Subsidiary Supervisor

Donald is an urban and regional planner with a PhD in Planning Studies from UCL. He has extensive research and practical experience in the field of urban environmental planning and management (EPM), with particular expertise in (disaster) risk reduction, climate change adaptation and population health in cities of the global South, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to joining the Development Planning Unit, Donald worked as a researcher and planner in Malawi and as an international consultant based in the UK.

Research Groups
Research Summary

My current research interests centre on the relationship between the urban environment and population health inequities and the role of urban planning in mediating this relationship from an environmental justice perspective, with a focus on the global South in general and sub-Saharan Africa in particular. My interests stem from an understanding of urban health risks across a spectrum of hazards, ranging from everyday events (such as biological pathogens and road traffic accidents) and 'small' disasters (such as localised flooding and landslides) to large-scale disasters (such as storms and floods). Key interests include:


  • The accumulation of environmental and health risks in cities and the implications for urban planning, with a particular interest in informal settlements
  • The data and methods needed to understand and address the socio-spatial distribution of urban population health inequities and their determinants at the intra-urban scale (within urban centres) and inter-urban scale (between urban centres)
  • The development of community-driven approaches to urban risk reduction in partnership with civil society and local government
  • The development of an integrated urban planning and public health agenda tailored to the particularities of urban change in the global South
Teaching Summary

Donald teaches on two MSc programmes at the Development Planning Unit:

  • Health in Urban Development (HUD)
  • Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD)

Donald also supervises MSc students in their dissertations. He supervises primarily in the areas of:

  • Urban health in the built environment
  • Urban (disaster) risk and its reduction
  • Community-driven approaches in these areas
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