Dr Melanie Lombard
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
+44 114 222 6926
Full contact details
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Geography and Planning Building
Following my first degree in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science, I worked in the social housing sector for several years, in the grants and corporate affairs departments of the Housing Corporation, and as a housing officer for a major London registered social landlord.
This was followed by an MA in Planning Policy and Practice at London South Bank University, during which I carried out research in low-income neighbourhoods in Cali, Colombia on participatory planning in marginalised urban communities.
My PhD focused on the construction of place in informal neighbourhoods in a provincial city in Mexico, exploring the place-making activities that contribute to their consolidation as places in the city.
I completed my PhD in 2009, and joined the Global Urban Research Centre at the University of Manchester in 2010 as a temporary Lecturer in Urban Development.
From 2011-2013, I undertook postdoctoral research on land tenure, conflict and violence in two Mexican cities, funded by a Hallsworth Fellowship. From 2014-2016, I was Lecturer in Global Urbanism at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester.
I joined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning as a Lecturer in September 2016.
- Research interests
My research agenda explores global shelter inequalities through the nexus of residents’ everyday constructive activities – often neglected by formal urban theories and practices – and urban policy.
Within this broad agenda, my recent research activity has focused on two core thematic areas: urban informality, and land conflict in cities.
The first area aims to examine different manifestations of informality in rapidly changing, diverse urban settings in support of formulating more appropriate responses, focusing to date 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.
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.
I have focused on small-scale conflict that arises relating to land policies including tenure regularisation, based on research in Mexico. Current research plans to explore these issues in the post-conflict context of Colombia.
- Improbable dialogues: participatory research as a strategy for reconciliation (Newton RCUK-Colciensas)
- Informal rental housing in Colombia: an essential option for low-income households. International Development Planning Review. View this article in WRRO
- Urban informality as a site of critical analysis. Journal of Development Studies. View this article in WRRO
- Informality as structure or agency? Exploring shed housing in the UK as informal practice. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. View this article in WRRO
- Interrogating informality: Conceptualisations, practices and policies in the light of the New Urban Agenda. Habitat International, 75, 59-66. View this article in WRRO
- Urban land conflict in the Global South: Towards an analytical framework. Urban Studies, 53(13), 2683-2699. View this article in WRRO
- Land conflict in peri-urban areas: Exploring the effects of land reform on informal settlement in Mexico. Urban Studies, 53(13), 2700-2720. View this article in WRRO
- Discursive Constructions of Low-income Neighbourhoods. Geography Compass, 9(12), 648-659.
- Place-Making and construction of informal settlements in Mexico. Revista INVI, 30(83), 117-146.
- Constructing ordinary places: Place-making in urban informal settlements in Mexico. Progress in Planning, 94, 1-53. View this article in WRRO
- Rolando Cordera, Patricia Ramírez Kuri and Alicia Ziccardi (eds), Pobreza, desigualdad y exclusión social en la ciudad del siglo XXI (Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 2009), pp. x+438, pb.. Journal of Latin American Studies, 45(4), 846-848.
- Struggling, Suffering, Hoping, Waiting: Perceptions of Temporality in Two Informal Neighbourhoods in Mexico. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 31(5), 813-829.
- Using auto-photography to understand place: reflections from research in urban informal settlements in Mexico. Area, 45(1), 23-32.
- Citizen Participation in Urban Governance in the Context of Democratization: Evidence from Low-Income Neighbourhoods in Mexico. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37(1), 135-150.
- Insurgent planning in informal settlements: A case study from Cali, Colombia. Cuadernos de Vivienda y Urbanismo, 5(10), 246-260.
- Informality, the Commons and the Paradoxes for Planning: Concepts and Debates for Informality and Planning Self-Made Cities: Ordinary Informality? The Reordering of a Romany Neighbourhood The Land Formalisation Process and the Peri-Urban Zone of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Street Vendors and Planning in Indonesian Cities Informal Urbanism in the USA: New Challenges for Theory and Practice Engaging with Citizenship and Urban Struggle Through an Informality Lens. Planning Theory & Practice, 12(1), 115-153.
- More than just translation: challenges and opportunities in translingual research. Social Geography, 4(1), 39-46.
- More than just translation: challenges and opportunities in intercultural and multilingual research. Social Geography Discussions, 5(1), 51-70.
- 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.
- Informalities In Jayne M & Ward K (Ed.), Urban Theory: New Critical Perspectives (pp. 158-171). Oxford: Routledge.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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