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Established over 50 years ago, the Development Planning Unit (DPU) is one of five schools in the Faculty of the Built Environment (The Bartlett), which is one of 70 academic departments and institutes in University College London. As one of the UK’s premier universities, UCL is a world class research and teaching institution based in London. Founded in 1826, it was the first university to be established in England after Oxford and Cambridge, providing a progressive alternative to those institution’s social exclusivity, religious restrictions and academic constraints. Today UCL is a friendly university in which to work and study, and it continues to thrive on the diversity and creativity of its community.

The UCL research strategy defines four Grand Challenges: Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing. These are areas in which UCL is facilitating cross-disciplinary interaction – within and beyond UCL – and applying collective strengths, insights and creativity to overcome problems of global significance.

Within UCL, the DPU is an international centre specialising in academic teaching, research, capacity building and advisory work in the field of urban and regional development in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The DPU has worked in this field for over 50 years, challenging the prevailing wisdom and exploring new approach to development, and to urban and regional policy and planning. The Unit is directly concerned with understanding the process of rapid urbanisation and the policy, planning and management responses to the political, socio-economic, spatial and environmental development of human settlements.

The DPU has a long association with work in India, starting from the engagement with Indian urbanization of its first Director, Prof Otto Koenigsberger, from 1957 to the present day. This is not only related to the steady stream of postgraduate and doctoral students in its 50 year history, but also to research on Indian cities, as well as capacity building and advisory work in housing and urban development policy and planning.

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