Lucy Earle

Director (interim), Human Settlements

Lucy Earle's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, French (fluent), Spanish and Portuguese

Lucy Earle’s work focuses on the intersections of urbanisation, urban poverty and humanitarian crises, in particular forced displacement into and within urban areas.

Lucy leads the institute’s research and policy engagement on urban crises and the interface between the environment and humanitarian action. She is especially interested in understanding how refugees and internally displaced people navigate urban systems to meet their basic needs. Lucy also has a background working on low-income housing, urban citizenship and the right to the city in the global South.

Her research and consultancy experience has mainly focused on Africa (Mozambique, Angola) and Latin America (Brazil, Peru). She is currently leading a £3m GCRF-funded project on protracted displacement, comparing the wellbeing and livelihoods of displaced people in camps with those in urban areas. This mixed methods research study is being undertaken in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Jordan and Kenya.


Humanitarian crises in urban areas, urban forced displacement, low-income housing, urban social movements, participatory governance.

Before IIED

Prior to joining IIED, Lucy was an urban advisor at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and was seconded to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to support a joint learning and advocacy programme on improving humanitarian response to urban crises.


  • PhD in development studies from the LSE
  • Postdoctoral fellowship at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town

Current work

Promoting understanding of refugee and displaced people’s wellbeing and self-reliance, through comparative research in urban areas and camps.

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