Dr Melanie Lombard

School of Geography and Planning

Senior Lecturer

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Full contact details

Dr Melanie Lombard
School of Geography and Planning
Room D26
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Dr Melanie Lombard is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield. Her research agenda involves connecting the built environment (with a particular focus on housing-related issues) to social processes through exploring the everyday activities that construct cities, often neglected by formal theories and practices of planning and urbanism. She is particularly interested in urban informality, and urban land and conflict processes.

She has explored these themes in cities in Mexico, Colombia, and the UK, working with institutional partners including the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, and the Universidad Javeriana in Colombia. She is involved in current research funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund comparing urbanisation and migration processes in Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria.

Before moving to the University of Sheffield in 2016, she taught at the University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute/Global Urban Research Centre (2010-2016). Her previous professional experience includes working in the UK social housing sector.

She has published articles in journals including Urban Studies, Progress in Planning, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. She is a Trustee of CLASS (Community Led Action and Savings Support), a charity supporting the Manchester-based Community Savers network.

Research interests

My research agenda explores how the built environment (particularly housing and shelter related aspects) is connected to and can be understood through exploring residents’ and others’ everyday constructive activities, often neglected by formal urban theories and practices; and the implications of this for urban policy.

Within this broad agenda, my research has focused on two core areas: urban informality, and land conflict in cities.

Urban informality

This theme aims to examine different manifestations of informality in rapidly changing, diverse urban settings in support of formulating more appropriate responses, focusing on cities in Mexico, Colombia and the UK.

Building on research in informal settlements in Colombia and Mexico, more recently I have become interested in comparing informal housing practices across the global North and South, particularly in the context of austerity in Europe, and community-based organisations’ responses to neighbourhood-level issues.

Land conflict in cities

The second area of my research explores the political economy of urban land conflict in cities of the global South, through a focus on causal factors, local vulnerabilities and policy responses.

Previous research has focused on small-scale conflict that arises relating to land policies including tenure regularisation and agrarian reform in Mexico, and territorial issues in post-conflict Colombia. My current research explores the nexus between land, urbanisation, migration and conflict in cities in Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria.

Research projects

Dr Melanie Lombard talks about her research


  • Jaramillo-Marín J, López-Lizarazo LM, Ruiz-Galvan A, Bishop ML, Díaz-Arévalo JM, Kanai JM, Lombard M, Rushton S, Shesterinina A, Staples H & Turton HL (2023) Participating in Peace. Bristol University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • (2023) Transforming Buenaventura: Dialogue for Municipal Peacebuilding, Participating in Peace (pp. 83-116). Bristol University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2023) Peace through Participation: The Colombian Experience, Participating in Peace (pp. 11-35). Bristol University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2023) Participation through Dialogue: Co-Producing Peace and Research, Participating in Peace (pp. 36-56). Bristol University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2023) Introduction, Participating in Peace (pp. 1-10). Bristol University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lombard M (2018) Informal settlements, The Routledge Handbook of Latin American Development (pp. 528-538). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lombard MB (2017) Informality and place-making in the city, Xalapa, Mexico In Becerra A & Hernandez F (Ed.), Marginal Urbanisms: Informal and Formal Development in Cities of Latin America (pp. 102-116). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lombard M & Meth PJ (2016) Informalities In Jayne M & Ward K (Ed.), Urban Theory: New Critical Perspectives (pp. 158-171). Oxford: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lombard MB (2015) Constucting informality and ordinary places: a place-making approach to urban informal settlements In Lemanski C & Marx C (Ed.), The City in Urban Poverty (pp. 85-110). London: Palgrave. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Garcia Peralta B & Lombard MB (2009) Regulation and property speculation in the centre of Mexico city In Porter L & Shaw K (Ed.), Whose Urban Renaissance? An International Comparison of Urban Regeneration Strategies (pp. 43-49). London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

  • Lombard M (2011) Urban climate change crossroads. PLANNING PERSPECTIVES, 26(1), 145-147. RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching activities

I teach on the following modules:

  • TRP131, Making of Urban Places
  • TRP4012/6019, Governance and Participation in the Global South
  • TRP337, Undergraduate Dissertation
  • TRP470/628, Planning for Informality
  • TRP326, Values, Theory and Ethics in Spatial Planning
PhD supervision

First supervisor:

  • Patricia Schappo: Street markets as multi-purpose development strategies for urban environments
  • Aya Elsisy: Understanding Land Value through Investigating Redevelopment of Informal Areas in Egypt
Second supervisor:
  • Abdulla Difalla: Informality and segregation in Saudi Arabia
  • Selamawit Robi: Urban Developmentalism and Policy Integration: integrating urban and industrial policy in Hawassa, Ethiopia
  • Jakleen Al-Dalal'a (co-supervised with the School of Architecture): Rethinking public participation in Amman