Professor Tom Goodfellow
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Professor of Urban Studies and International Development
+44 114 222 6913
Full contact details
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Geography and Planning Building
Tom Goodfellow is Professor of Urban Studies & International Development at the University of Sheffield. His research focuses on the political economy of urban development and change in Africa, particularly the politics of urban land and transportation, conflicts around infrastructure and housing, and urban institutional change.
He has conducted research in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya, with a range of institutional partners in Africa including Makerere University, Addis Ababa University, University of Lagos and University of the Witwatersrand. His current and recent research is mostly funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Global Challenges Research Fund.
He has also engaged in advisory work for a range of international organizations including Oxfam GB, ICF International, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, DFID (now FCDO) UN-HABITAT, The UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Swiss Development Corporation, and the governments of Rwanda and Uganda.
He is a Trustee of the IJURR Foundation, sits on the Editorial Board of the journal African Affairs, is co-author of Cities and Development (Routledge, 2016) and author of Politics and the Urban Frontier: Transformation and divergence in late urbanizing East Africa (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming).
PhD Development Studies (LSE)
MSc International Relations (LSE)
BA Social and Political Sciences (Cambridge)
- Research interests
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:
- 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?
- How can marginalised urban groups exert agency in formal and informal processes that affect their working conditions, homes, mobility and access to services?
- 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?
- 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?
- Youth and the Work/Housing Nexus in Ethiopia and South Africa (British Academy)
- Addressing the housing challenge in Ethiopia's industrial revolution (Research England)
- Urban development and the new scramble for Africa (Economic and Social Research Council)
- Living the urban periphery: Investment, infrastructure and economic change in African city-regions (Economic and Social Research Council)
- Cities and dominance: urban strategies for political settlement maintenance and change (Effective States and Inclusive Development centre / Department for International Development)
- Embedding property tax in the social contract: the Lagos experience (Institute of Development Studies)
- Taxing the urban boom in Tanzania (Norwegian Embassy, Dar es Salaam)
- The political economy of property taxation (Institute of Development Studies)
- Politics and the Urban Frontier. Oxford University PressOxford.
- Cities and Development. London: Routledge.
- Carrot, Stick and Statute: Elite Strategies and Contested Dominance in Kampala. ESID Working Paper(146).
- Finance, infrastructure and urban capital: the political economy of African 'gap-filling'. Review of African Political Economy. View this article in WRRO
- Control the Capital: Cities and Political Dominance. ESID Working Paper(135).
- Political informality: deals, trust networks and the negotiation of value in the urban realm. Journal of Development Studies. View this article in WRRO
- Correction to: Leapfrogging Manufacturing? Rwanda’s Attempt to Build a Services‑Led ‘Developmental State’. The European Journal of Development Research, 31(3), 703-703.
- View this article in WRRO Leapfrogging Manufacturing? Rwanda’s Attempt to Build a Services-Led ‘Developmental State'. European Journal of Development Research.
- Seeing Political Settlements through the City: A Framework for Comparative Analysis of Urban Transformation. Development and Change, 49(1), 199-222. View this article in WRRO
- Urban fortunes and skeleton cityscapes: real estate and late urbanisation in Kigali and Addis Ababa. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(5), 786-803. View this article in WRRO
- ‘Double Capture’ and De-Democratisation: Interest Group Politics and Uganda’s ‘Transport Mafia’. Journal of Development Studies, 53(10), 1568-1583. View this article in WRRO
- Taxing property in a neo-developmental state: The Politics of urban land value capture in Rwanda and Ethiopia. African Affairs, 116(465), 549-572. View this article in WRRO
- Taming the “Rogue” Sector: Studying State Effectiveness in Africa through Informal Transport Politics. Comparative Politics, 47(2), 127-147. View this article in WRRO
- Legal manoeuvres and violence: Law making, protest and semi-authoritarianism in Uganda. Development and Change. View this article in WRRO
- Rwanda's political settlement and the urban transition: expropriation, construction and taxation in Kigali. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 8(2), 311-329. View this article in WRRO
- The Institutionalisation of “Noise” and “Silence” in Urban Politics: Riots and Compliance in Uganda and Rwanda. Oxford Development Studies, 41(4), 436-454.
- Cities and Conflict in Fragile States in the Developing World. Urban Studies, 50(15), 3065-3083.
- Planning and development regulation amid rapid urban growth: Explaining divergent trajectories in Africa. Geoforum, 48, 83-93.
- From Urban Catastrophe to 'Model' City? Politics, Security and Development in Post-conflict Kigali. Urban Studies, 50(15), 3185-3202.
- The clash of institutions: traditional authority, conflict and the failure of ‘hybridity’ in Buganda. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 51(1), 3-26.
- Presidential intervention and the changing ‘politics of survival’ in Kampala’s informal economy. Cities, 29(4), 264-270.
- Introductory article: on the discourse of terrorism, security and development. Journal of International Development, 18(1), 51-67.
- Book Review: Uganda: The Dynamics of Neoliberal Transformation by Wiegratz Jörg, Giuliano Martiniello and Elisa Greco. Africa Spectrum, 000203972211325.
- CONCEPTUALIZING AFRICAN URBAN PERIPHERIES. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
- Thick claims and thin rights: Taxation and the construction of analogue property rights in Lagos. Economy and Society, 1-27. View this article in WRRO
- Contingent infrastructure and the dilution of 'Chineseness': roads, rail and repurposing in Kampala and Addis Ababa. Environment and Planning A.
- Manufacturing urbanism: improvising the urban-industrial nexus through Chinese economic zones in Africa. Urban Studies.
- On the conditions of 'late urbanization'. Urban Studies.
- At the city edge, African cities and collaborative futures Manchester University Press
- The disorder of 'miracle growth' in Rwanda: Understanding the limitations of transitions to open ordered development, Deals and Development: The Political Dynamics of Growth Episodes (pp. 217-249).
- Urban Informality and the State: A Relationship of Perpetual Negotiation, The Palgrave Handbook of International Development (pp. 207-225). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Conflict and post-war transition in African cities In Parnell S & Pieterse E (Ed.), Africa's Urban Revolution
- Fragile States In Desai V & Potter R (Ed.), The Companion to Development Studies
- Urban planning in Africa and the politics of implementation: contrasting patterns of state intervention in Kampala and Kigali In Arlt V, Macamo E & Obrist B (Ed.), Living the city in Africa
- Informal Transport in Practice: Matatu Entrepreneurship by Meleckidzedeck Khayesi , Fredrick Muyia Nafukho and Joyce Kemua London: Routledge, 2015. Pp. 164. £60 (hbk).. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 54(4), 743-744.
- Governance for Development in Africa: Solving Collective Action Problems by David Booth and Diana Cammack London: Zed Books, 2013. Pp. 176. £16·99 (pbk). The Journal of Modern African Studies, 52(3), 497-498.
- Lambright Gina S.. Decentralization in Uganda: Explaining Successes and Failures in Local Governance. African Studies Review, 01(56).
- View this article in WRRO Taxation, Property Rights and the Social Contract in Lagos.
- The political settlement and ‘deals environment’in Rwanda: Unpacking two decades of economic growth. Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, Working Paper No. 57.
- Taxing the Urban Boom: Property Taxation and Land Leasing in Kigali and Addis Ababa.
- The institutionalisation of'noise'and'silence'in urban politics: case studies from East Africa. Queen Elizabeth House Working Paper Series.
- Cities, conflict and state fragility. Crisis States Research Centre, Working Paper 85.2.
- ’The bastard child of nobody’?: anti-planning and the institutional crisis in contemporary Kampala. Crisis States Research Centre, Working Paper No. 67.2.
- Research group
Associate Researcher, Urban Institute
Associate Fellow, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI)
Fellow, Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID)
I am Primary Supervisor for the following PhD students:
- Sally Faulkner, Vulnerable communities, collective bargaining and climate change adaptation
- Fatima Mohammed, Resettlement and rehabilitation initiatives in Nigeria
- Selam Robi, Industrial park cities in Ethiopia
- Noranida Zainal, Power and participation in Kampong Bharu: reconstructing governance through the creation of an urban development corporation
Interested in PhD study?
I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who have interests in the following:
- Chinese influence in African urban development
- Political economy in the Global South
- Land use and housing in the Global South
Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa (UKRI-ARUA)
Youth and the Work/Housing Nexus in Ethiopia and South Africa (British Academy/GCRF)
- Teaching interests
Cities; urban theory; urban development in the global South; critical development studies
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.
- Teaching activities
I currently teach on the following modules:
- Professional activities and memberships
Trustee, IJURR Foundation
Editorial Board Member, African Affairs