tomDr Tom Goodfellow


Room number: F16
Telephone (internal): 26913
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6913
Telephone (international) +44 114 222 6913


I joined the department of Urban Studies and Planning as a Lecturer in 2013. Prior to this, from 2010-2013 I was a Teaching Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the Department of International Development, where also I undertook my PhD (completed in 2012). Whilst studying for the PhD I was an advisor to Oxfam GB on urban development issues as part of a collaborative ESRC studentship, and a Research Associate of the DFID-funded Crisis States Research Centre. I have an interdisciplinary academic background, with an undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in International Relations from the LSE. At Sheffield I try to maintain interdisciplinary engagement both within the department and beyond, as a Research Associate of the Sheffield Institute for International Development and Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute.


My research interests centre on the politics of urban development and planning in the global South, especially sub-Saharan Africa. I am especially interested in the processes of bargaining and negotiation – both explicit and implicit, formal and informal – that shape different paths of urban transformation in the developing world. My research has focused on issues such as how urban informal workers engage with elites in conflictual and collusive ways to secure their livelihoods and bring about (or resist) urban change; the relationship between evolving urban landscapes, political coalitions and property tax regimes; the interplay of formal and informal institutional systems for governing urban land and infrastructure; and violence and protest as forms of urban political engagement. Much of my work is based on comparative case study approaches to understanding cities and urban phenomena. I strongly believe in the value of both geographic and historical comparison for understanding the drivers of urban development and change.

Central issues motivating my current and planned future research projects include the following:

1. How are power relations and ‘political settlements’ reflected in urban landscapes, and conversely how do changes to the urban built environment shape politics and power?

2. How can marginalised urban groups exert agency in formal and informal processes that affect their working conditions, homes, mobility and access to services?

3. How can our understanding of urban challenges facing parts of the global South today be enhanced though comparison with historical experiences of state-building and city-building elsewhere?

4. How is urban development in Africa being influenced by an increasingly diverse range of international donors and investors, particularly with regard to the politics of land, infrastructure and housing?



I love teaching the diverse groups of students we have in the department, and aim to make the most of opportunities for people from very different backgrounds to share their knowledge and perspectives. I think it is critically important to engage head-on with the contradictions and conflicts generated by different experiences and views of the world, and in my teaching aim to provide a forum for exploring and working through these differences. I enjoy finding innovative ways to stimulate active learning and to apply academic debates to concrete development and urban policy problems.

I currently teach on the following modules:

  • TRP131, The Making of Urban Places
  • TRP 632, Ideas and Practice in International Development
  • TRP613, Urban Design in the Global South
  • TRP614, International Development Field Class
  • TRP4012/6019, Governance and Participation in the Global South
  • TRP633, International Consultancy Project

PhD Supervision

I am Primary Supervisor for the following PhD students:


Journal Articles

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