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University College London (UCL) is a world class research and teaching institution based in London. Founded in 1826, it is the first university to be established in England after Oxford and Cambridge, with an all-inclusive mission to enable people from all walks of life to actively participate in their own development.

The UCL research strategy defines four Grand Challenges: Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing as areas to facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction to overcome problems of global significance.


The Development Planning Unit (DPU), established over 50 years ago is one of five schools in the Faculty of the Built Environment (The Bartlett) one of 70 academic departments and institutes at UCL.

DPU is an international centre specialising in academic teaching, research, capacity building and advisory work in the field of urban and regional development in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The DPU has challenged prevailing wisdom and explored new approaches to development, to urban and regional policy and planning. It is directly concerned with understanding the process of rapid urbanisation and the policy, planning and management responses to the political, socio-economic, spatial and environmental development of human settlements.

The India Connection

DPU has a long association with work in India, From 1957 to the present, starting from the engagement with Indian urbanisation of its first Director, Prof Otto Koenigsberger. A steady stream of postgraduate and doctoral students from India have come through the DPU to research on Indian cities. It has also provided capacity building and advisory work in housing and urban development policy and planning.

IIHS Curriculum co-creation

DPU has served as the European anchor partner for the IIHS curriculum co-development. It has participated in the development of courses and a number of themes ranging from evictions and urban informality, peri-urban development, livelihoods, urban agriculture, gender, development and urban social movements.