The Oxford Urbanists tap into the multidisciplinary intellectual community in Oxford, and are fortunate to benefit from the guidance and advice of many scholars from a range of subjects.

Academics who have been particularly supportive of our work include:

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Dr Atif Ansar

Atif is the Director of the MSc in Major Programme Management at Oxford Saïd Business School, the Cohort Manager of the Major Project Leaders Academy (MPLA) of the UK Government for senior civil servants--a partnership between the Cabinet Office and Oxford--and a Fellow of Keble College. Atif also teaches on the Master in Public Policy (MPP) and the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and various executive education programmes such as for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC); HM Treasury; and large private companies. His course on disruptive innovations in infrastructure industries is particularly popular among MBA students at Oxford.  

His work is also routinely profiled in media outlets such as the Financial Times, the BBC, the Economist, Wall Street Journal, and the New Yorker.

Atif actively engages with government, industry, and civil society to put his research into action via consulting. He has been a consultant to various departments of Her Majesty’s Government in the UK, the World Bank, the United Nations, McKinsey & Company, PwC, and Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 corporations. In addition, he has been policy advisor to the governments of Ethiopia, Ghana, and state-owned utility companies in Indonesia and Iceland. At the World Bank, Atif's work focused on infrastructure and social development. His work for the private sector has been in the area of project finance in and on improving decision practice and outcomes of capital investment projects.

Atif completed his DPhil in 2010 at Brasenose College, Oxford.


Professor Gordon L. Clark

Professor Gordon L Clark DSc (Oxon) FBA is the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment with cross-appointments in the Saïd Business School and the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University. He also holds a Professorial Fellowship at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He is, as well, Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash University's Faculty of Business and Economics (Melbourne) and a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Previous academic appointments have been at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School (Senior Research Associate), the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School and Monash University. Other honours include being Andrew Mellon Fellow at the US National Academy of Sciences and Visiting Scholar Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst at the University of Marburg.

An economic geographer, he is interested in the responsibilities and behaviour of investors as regards long-term sustainable investment. This has involved research on institutions' proxy-voting behaviour, the strategies of corporate engagement given concerns about environmental liabilities and the sensitivity of firms to brand image and reputation, the regulation of corporate disclosure on issues related to environment and social responsibility, and the governance of investment institutions that have an explicit long-term mandate. His current research focuses upon the governance of investment decision-making in the context of market volatility and long-term obligations. In part, this project has developed in collaboration with Oxford colleagues and graduate students as well as the PRI, Mercer, the Telos Project, Towers Watson, and the project led by Professor Tessa Hebb at Carleton University (Ottawa) funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Recent related books include the co-edited Managing Financial Risks: From the Global to the Local (OUP 2009) (with Ashby Monk and Adam Dixon), and The Geography of Finance(OUP 2007) (with Dariusz Wójcik).

Related research is focused on the design and management of investment institutions including reference to insourcing, out-sourcing, and off-shoring activities and the demand and supply of financial services relevant to pension funds, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. Papers on this topic have been published in the Journal of Economic Geography (2013), Environment and Planning A (2014), and Place, Territory and Governance (2014). With Adam Dixon and Ashby Monk, his monograph on the governance and legitimacy of sovereign wealth funds was published by Princeton University Press in 2013. His new book on the organization and management of financial institutions with Ashby Monk will be published by OUP in 2017.

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Dr Nihan Akyelken

Nihan joined the University of Oxford as a Research Fellow at the Transport Studies Unit in the School of Geography and the Environment in October 2008. In February 2015, she started working as a Departmental Lecturer on the Sustainable Urban Development Masters and Doctoral programme and in January 2017 was appointed as Associate Professor in Sustainable Urban Development. Previously, she worked at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Public Policy Group. She obtained her doctorate in Economic Geography from the University of Oxford, and her undergraduate and master degrees from the LSE in the areas of Economics and Philosophy and European Political Economy. In addition to working on research projects funded by the European Commission, the UK Research Councils, the Swedish International Development Agency, the British Council and the British Academy, Nihan has held academic awards from Wolfson College, Alan Nesta Ferguson Foundation, and the LSE Award Schemes. She is the winner of the 2015 OECD-ITF Young Researcher of the Year Award and was named as a World Social Science Fellow in Sustainable Urbanisation by the International Social Science Council in 2014.


Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Urban Transformations. Her activities include linking Newton funded ESRC cities research projects in Brazil, China, South Africa and India.

Having lived, studied and worked in Brazil, South Africa and India, countries facing fast-paced urbanization, Andreza has experienced cities of the global south that seemed to be always in the making, unmaking, and remaking. Fascinated by the attempt to preserve some city spaces as cultural heritage sites despite the push for urban change, she is now engaged with cultural heritage and urban transformations from an academic and governmental perspective. In her work, she has interacted with universities, international organizations, municipal governments, and grassroots associations.  Looking at cities from an international, national and local perspective laid bare the challenges arising when shaping the perception, preservation and transformation of cities in a rapidly urbanising world.

Andreza’s research and teaching interests include urban ethnography, cultural heritage, housing, infrastructure, participatory city planning, social memory, Latin America and migration.

Before arriving in Oxford, she obtained her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, an MA in Social Sciences at the University of Freiburg, University of KwaZulu Natal and Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a BA in Political Science at the University of Brasilia.


Professor Stefan Dercon

Stefan Dercon is Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, and a Fellow of Jesus College. He is also Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies.

Since 2011 he has been Chief Economist of the Department of International Development (DFID), the government department in charge with the UK’s aid policy and spending. Stefan continues to hold the post of Chief Economist at the DFID while remaining active in teaching and research at Oxford.

Between 2000 and 2002 he was Programme Director at the World Institute of Development Economics (WIDER), United Nations University where he led their research programme on “Insurance against Poverty”. Prior to this between 1993 and 2000 he was a Tenured Professor of Development Economics at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Until he joined DFID, Stefan was also the Lead Academic for the Ethiopia country programme at the International Growth Centre, which is a research centre based jointly at The London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Oxford.

Stefan is a development economist applying microeconomics and statistics to problems of development. His interests are diverse, including research on risk and poverty, the foundations of growth in poor societies, agriculture and rural institutions, migration, political economy, childhood poverty, social and geographic mobility, micro-insurance, and measurement issues related to poverty and vulnerability. Much of his work involves the collection and analysis of longitudinal data sets, and he is closely involved in 7 on-going longitudinal surveys focusing on rural households in Ethiopia (ERHS), Tanzania (KHDS), and India (new ICRISAT VLS), and on children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam (Young Lives).

He is also involved in a number of intervention-based (RCT) research projects on extending health insurance (Kenya), raising aspirations (rural Ethiopia), offering drought insurance to funeral societies (Ethiopia) and the returns to firm jobs (Ethiopia). 

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Dr Idalina Baptista

Idalina Baptista is associated with the DPhil and MSc in Sustainable Urban Development. She is a Fellow of Kellogg College, an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, and a member of the Consultative Committee of the African Studies Centre.  She is also a Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture and Physical Planning, University Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique. She has taught on diverse themes relating to urban planning and environmental management at the University of California, Berkeley, the New University of Lisbon, Universidade Aberta, and Universidade Atlântica, in Portugal. She held a visiting position at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon and collaborated with colleagues at the New University of Lisbon on projects involving public participation in urban and environmental planning and policymaking. Her teaching and research are informed by past experience as an environmental planning consultant and as a member of an environmental NGO.

Idalina holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning (2009) and a Master of Landscape Architecture (Environmental Planning concentration) (1999) from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and a 5-year BEng in Environmental Engineering (1996) from the New University of Lisbon, Portugal.


Prof Douglas Gollin

Doug Gollin’s research focusses on economic development and growth, with particular interests in agriculture and structural transformation. His work brings a general equilibrium perspective to issues such as: sectoral differences in productivity; the impacts of agricultural technologies; the role of transport costs in shaping spatial patterns of development; the importance of small firms and self employment in poor countries; and the macroeconomic effects of disease.

Doug Gollin joined Oxford in October 2012 after spending 16 years on the faculty of Williams College in the United States, where he retains an affiliation. He is a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He chairs the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment of the CGIAR, a consortium of international agricultural research organisations. He also works with the International Growth Centre and a number of NGOs involved in policy-oriented research on development.

He is currently a Managing Editor of the Journal of African Economies and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Development Economics and Oxford Development Studies.

Doug Gollin holds an AB degree from Harvard University and an MA from Yale University. He received his PhD in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1996.