Theme lead: Dr Paula Meth

We are an interdisciplinary network of staff and students at the University of Sheffield. Our work is concerned with tackling the injustices produced through rapid urban development in the Global South. We have particular interests in looking at the interactions between urban informality, urban governance, design practice, and plans to improve cities.

Our aim is to show how urban development can be more inclusive, particularly of poorer and marginalised groups of city dwellers.  You can read some of our blogs or listen to a podcast here.

Current projects

Urban development amid the new scramble for Africa: Trajectories of late urbanisation in a multi-polar world

Researchers: Dr. Thomas Goodfellow

As much of Africa undergoes an ‘urban revolution’, funded in part by Chinese investment, a new research project led by Dr Tom Goodfellow is looking at what impact ‘new’ forms of development cooperation are having on the continent’s cities. In recent years, China and other rising powers have come to the forefront of investment in Africa, rapidly increasing their involvement as aid donors, investors and sources of migrants.

Unlike Western donors such as the World Bank, UK and USA, China in particular has no reservations about funding major urban infrastructure and construction projects, including new transport systems, housing projects and Special Economic Zones on the outskirts of African cities. Yet while there is an increasing amount of research around Chinese engagement in Africa, there has been relatively little work exploring how it is helping to reshape African cities, with potentially long-term consequences.

Dr Goodfellow’s two-year project, funded by an ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant, will look specifically at how these dynamics are playing out in Ethiopia and Uganda, with a particular focus on the cities of Addis Ababa and Kampala.

Cities Reading Group

The SIID cities reading group is an open, relaxed space to discuss material that our members identify for consideration.

When? Friday 10th May 2019,  11am-12pm.

Where? TR2 in the Geography and Planning Building.

Reading: Simone (2017) The urban majority and provisional recompositions in Yangon. Antipode 50 (1) 23-40

If you are interested in attending, please email Paula Meth (