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- Professor of Urban Policy and International Development
- Development Planning Unit
- Faculty of the Built Environment
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. As an academic interested in practice, in recent years my work has focused on the role that local governments in cities of the Global South can play in social and political transformation. Much of my teaching arises from my research interests. I explore how economic and spatial development has been historically shaped by industrialisation, and how infrastructure can help shape people’s lives and potential for development. In my research I have also examined the importance for development of understanding urbanisation processes, rural-urban linkages and the potential embodied in the peri-urban interface.
In DPU, I have been a director of the MPhil/PhD Programme, the MSc Urban Development Planning and the MSc Development Administration and Planning, as well as Director of Studies and editor of DPUNEWS. 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 an external examiner of PhD dissertations in half a dozen universities in the UK, Italy, Spain and Egypt. I have collaborated on an advisory capacity with a number of institutions, including Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Medellín campus), Children of the Andes (a UK-based charity) and Homeless International (also a UK-based charity).
Prior to joining UCL, for six years I was a research fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London and Buenos Aires, where I worked on a number of research projects in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, 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.
You can listen to Julio talking about critical challenges facing cities of the Global South.
Current research interests are: the role of local government in progressive social and political transformation in developing countries; the governance dimensions of urban and peri-urban infrastructure, especially public transport, and water & sanitation; the intersection between planning and urban informality; the linkages between rapid urbanisation and health.
I have been a Principal Investigator and Co-investigator in several research projects (follow link on the left to Research activities), including an ESRC-DFID funded project on the links between mobility, poverty reduction, social inclusion and urban integration in urban interventions in Medellin, Colombia, and inter-disciplinary research on urban zoonotic diseases in Nairobi. I participated in a cross-Faculty UCL Lancet Commission synthesis of current knowledge on how the built environment influences health outcomes leading to a co-authored article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
For a complete list of publications, follow links to Research outputs on the left. My books include:
- Dávila, J D (editor), 2013, Urban Mobility and Poverty: Lessons from Medellin and Soacha, Colombia, Development Planning Unit, UCL and Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 214 pages.
- Allen, A, J D Dávila, and P Hofmann, 2006, Governance of water and sanitation for the peri-urban poor: A framework for understanding and action in metropolitan regions, Development Planning Unit, UCL, 124 pages.
- Brook, R and J D Dávila (editors), 2000, The Peri-urban Interface: A Tale of Two Cities, School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Bangor, and Development Planning Unit, UCL, 251 pages.
- 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.
- Dávila, J D, 2009, “Being a mayor: Four views from Colombia”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 20, No. 1, April 2009, pp. 37-57.
- Dávila, J D, E Kyrou, T Nuñez & J Sumich, 2009, “Urban poverty and rural-urban linkages”, chapter 5 in Uri Raich (editor), Municipal Development in Mozambique. Lessons from the First Decade, Vol. II, The World Bank, Washington DC, pp. 136-164.
- Dávila, J D et al., 2006, Housing and Land for the Urban Poor. Case Studies of Bogotá-Soacha and Medellín, report for World Bank-Cities Alliance and Colombian Government (in Spanish - 7Mb).
TeachingI teach in the following modules:
- DPU Doctoral Seminar series
- BENVGDA9 – Industrialisation and infrastructure
I run the Doctoral Seminar series for first-year MPhil/PhD students and teach in the following Masters modules:
BENVGDA1– Management and planning for development: International and national dimensions
BENVGDA3 – Political economy of development: Industrialisation and infrastructure
BENVGDA4 – Development in practice
I also contribute to the following module run by UCL Geography:
URBNGO01- City, Space and Power
|1998||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy||University of London|
|1984||MSc||Master of Science||University College London|
|1983||P.Grad Dip||Postgraduate Diploma||University College London|
|1981||BSc Hons||Bachelor of Science (Honours)||Universidad de los Andes|