David Satterthwaite

Senior associate, Human Settlements

David Satterthwaite is a senior associate with IIED and visiting professor at the Development Planning Unit, University College London. Two recent books co-authored with Diana Mitlin were Urban Poverty in the Global South; Scale and Nature (2012) and Reducing Urban Poverty in the Global South (2013). Both were published by Routledge.

He was a co-ordinating lead author of the chapter on urban adaptation in the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and he is currently working with other IPCC authors on a book on how cities can combine development and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Editor of Environment & Urbanization, David focuses on:

  • Research and documentation on the current and potential role of urban poor federations to address their needs and develop partnerships with government agencies
  • Research on why the scale and depth of urban poverty is under-estimated and mis-represented by most governments and international agencies.
  • Research on urban risk in cities in Africa with particular attention to those most at risk – undertaken with a consortium of several African and British research institutions.

He was previously director of IIED's Human Settlements research group. He was awarded the Volvo Environment Prize in 2004 and was part of the IPCC team honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.


Poverty reduction and environmental problems in urban areas; climate change adaptation, including contributions to the IPCC's Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessments.

Before IIED

David Satterthwaite was an employee of IIED for 47 years from 1974 to November 2021.


BA (University of Bristol), DipDevPlan (University College London), PhD (London School of Economics)

Video playlist