Environment & Urbanization Better Cities Day


The Environment & Urbanization Better Cities Day brought together researchers, policy influencers and practitioners to discuss and share insights on current and future trends in urban development.

Last updated 4 April 2023
Aerial view of housing with metal roofs, palm trees and a river

Gualey neighbourhood in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Photo: Orlando Barría, via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

IIED's Human Settlements research group (HSG) leads the institute’s research and policy engagement on urban development issues, and works in collaboration with a range of partners to foster cities and towns that are sustainable, resilient and inclusive

Hosted by HSG and published by SAGE, Environment & Urbanization (E&U) is a world-leading biannual environmental and urban studies journal that seeks to advance a more socially just and environmentally sustainable urban world through the provision of knowledge.

This event focused on four key themes that are core to IIED's current urban work and are the subject of recent or future special issues of E&U:

  • Disruptive resilience: led by Dr. Aditya Bahadur, this session focused on the intersection of disruptive resilience, innovative data collection and decision-making arrangements, and financial mechanisms

  •  Urban climate justice: co-led by Dr. Anna Walnycki and Dr. Tucker Landesman, this session focused on the opportunities that decarbonisation and climate mitigation brings to low-income urban communities. It gaves us a regional perspective with contributions from Zimbabwe and Latin America

  • Housing justice: led by Dr. Alexandre Apsan Frediani, this session focused on what grassroot mobilisation, housing policy and practice, and global alliances can bring to the issue of housing justice

  • Urban forced displacement: led by Dr. Lucy Earle, this session reflected on the disconnect between humanitarian response and urban planning. It discussed opportunities to bridge these gaps through recent innovation, and the potential for new research

The day was structured around these themes with four short sessions employing interactive formats, with opening remarks by Dr Gautam Bhan from the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, and a closing keynote address from professor Diana Mitlin, who is editor of E&U and senior associate with HSG.

About the speakers

  • Lucy Earle is (interim) director of IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • Gautam Bhan is associate dean at the School of Human Development and senior lead of academics and research at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)
  • Tom Mitchell is director of IIED
  • Aditya V. Bahadur is principal researcher in IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • Andrea Nightingale is an intersectional discussant
  • Alex Barcena is researcher in IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • Sunayana Sen is climate resilience and disaster risk communication programme manager at Resurgence – Environmental Services 
  • Smruti Jukur Johari is urban planner and architect at the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centre (SPARC) – Slum Dwellers International
  • Anna Walnycki is principal researcher in IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • Tucker Landesman is senior researcher in IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • George Masimba is head of programmes at Dialogue on Shelter Trust 
  • Florencia Almansi is research fellow at IIED America Latina
  • Alexandre Apsan Frediani is principal researcher in IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • Beth Chitekwe is director of Slum Dwellers International (SDI) 
  • Lauren Royston is director of research and advocacy at Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) 
  • Adriana Allen is professor at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit of University College London and President of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) 
  • Camila Cociña is researcher in IIED's Human Settlements research group
  • Romola Sanyal is associate professor of geography at London School of Economics 
  • Dyfed Aubrey is inter-regional advisor at UN-Habitat
  • Diana Mitlin is professor of global urbanism in the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester

Event coverage

Watch edited recordings of the event in the playlist below or on IIED's YouTube channel

Links to the recording of each individual session on YouTube are also available below:  

IIED events newsletter

Sign up to our mailing list for updates and invitations to events throughout the year, including webinars, critical themes and debriefs.