Personal profile


Alfredo is an urban development planning specialist with more than 37 years of experience in the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of low-income housing, municipal and local development, post-emergency reconstruction and urban poverty reduction planning, policies and projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia. He has comprehensive experience as lecturer and teacher on urban development themes in different universities in Europe and Latin America; and in setting up training and capacity building programs for central and local governments and NGOs. He was awarded a distinction in his MSc studies on Urban Development Planning at the DPU, University College London and was project leader at the Housing Development & Management Department, Lund University, Sweden where he obtained his PhD on the impact of human settlements development policies and low-income housing finance programs in reducing urban poverty and social exclusion. His professional posts have included working as Programme Officer for the Swedish cooperation in Central America (Sida) and as senior consultant for the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, UNDP, UN-Habitat, GIZ and KfW. He was a member of the International Task Force of the Millennium Development Project of the United Nations on improving the lives of slum dwellers, and has authored different journal articles, book chapters and conference papers on climate change adaptation, urban poverty reduction, low-income housing finance and urban development planning.

Research interests

AI Climate: A decision making tool for climate resilience: using AI to identify climate change hazards in cities of the global South

AI Climate Platform is a land management and decision-making tool geared to global South cities that lack local data. Its objective is to use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and freely available satelite images to cut the time and expenses involved in mapping, monitorin, and predicting exporse to shocks and stresses in fast urbanizing smaller cities of the global South. The project is lead by the Institute for International Urban Development (I2UD) with a series of local partners in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in Honduras.  Given our previos project 'Planning for climate change adaptation in urban poor neighbourhoods of Tegucigalpa, Honduras' (see this section), I was invited to act as Senior advisor to the AI climate project.

Climate change and socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America

Research on this topic served as input to a wider study on socio-environmental conflicts in the region financed by UNDP Panama. A recent publication in the journal America Latina Hoy of the University of Salamanca provides a general framework of based on different type of inequalities that allows understanding how a number of conflicts related to climate change impacts could be exacerbated in the near future. 

Asset Planning in Cities of the Global South

This project supported by the Ford Foundation took the asset accumulation/adaptation theoretical framework; linked it to bottom-up community action planning practice and developed an approach to urban asset planning. The planning methodology aims to enhance the negotiation abilities of local poor communities not simply to access services, but rather to identify and achieve new asset adaptation strategies to climate change and environmental health hazards. The asset planning approach was tested and introduced into the urban development planning practices of two secondary cities: Cartagena (Colombia) and Pondicherry (India). Currently the project is in the phase of disseminating its results.

Pro-Poor Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Centres: Kenya and Nicaragua Case Studies

This study, financed by the World Bank, analysed the vulnerability of urban poor people to climate change using an asset-based analysis. It also aimed to propose climate change adaptation policies with positive impacts on households and local communities, and to recommend specific strategies and programmatic interventions that can be implemented by local authorities and public and private institutions. The study provided detailed information on the link between climate change and the erosion of assets of different social groups of the urban poor in two selected cities (Mombasa in Kenya and Esteli in Nicaragua). Results from this research have been consolidated into a report for the World Bank entitled Pro-Poor Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Centres: Case Studies from Mombasa, Kenya and Esteli, Nicaragua.

Low-income housing, urban poverty and social exclusion 

This project financed examined the impacts of micro lending for housing improvement and financing methods for basic services have in urban poverty reduction and social inclusion. The research made an in-depth analysis of the Foundation for Local Development (PRODEL) in Nicaragua during the period 1994-2008.

Donors in post-disaster contexts

This project examined the impact that international foreign aid had on changing policies and practices in urban development planning during reconstruction processes after civil war and natural disasters that took place in Central America since the early 1990s.


Current PhD students

  • Erika Garcia Fermin: Land readjustment, Slum Upgrading, and City Competitiveness: Case studies from Medellin, Colombia and San Jose, Costa Rica (since September 2019) (Seth Schindler, Main Supervisor, Alfredo Stein Co-Supervisor)
  • Laura Hirst 'Vulnerability to fire risk in informal settlements in Nairobi' Global Development Institute - GDI, (since September 2015) (Tanja Mueller, Main Supervisor, Alfredo Stein and Steve Jordan, Co-supervisors)
  • Mayang Puteri 'Participatory Planning and Urban Governance in Informal Urban Fishing Communities: Cases from Indonesia', Planning and Environmental Management, (Since September 2015) (Joanne Tippett, Main supervisor, Alfredo Stein Co-Supervisor)

Past PhD students

  • Kerstin Rieger 'Multi-hazards, displacement and vulnerability: Their links to reconstruction policies in post-earthquake Nepal' Global Development Institute - GDI (May 2021) (Main Supervisor, Phil Woodhouse Co-supervisor)
  • Angelica Fernandez Garzon 'Overcoming Barriers in the Implementation of Colombian Inclusive Business' (Main Supervisor Richard Duncombe; Co-Supervisor: Phil Woodhouse; Co-Supervisor: Alfredo Stein) Global Development Institute (July 2019)
  • Ezana Weldeghebrael 'Inner City Redevelopment in an Aspiring Developmental State: The Case of  Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia' (Main supervisor; Melanie Lombard, Co-Superivsor), Planning and Environmental Management (March 2019).
  • Natalia Garcia ‘The Everyday Effects of Urban Planning: Exploring Perceptions of Violence, Insecurity and Urban Space in Two Mexican Cities', Global Development Institute - GDI (Main supervisor; Melanie Lombard, Co-supervisor, February 2018)
  • Holly Schofield, ‘Sense of Place and Climate Change. Urban Poor Adaptation in the Dominican Republic’, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), Faculty of Humanities, (December 2016) (Main Supervisor; Rubina Jasani Co-supervisor).
  • Philipp Horn, 'Indegineity, Constitutional Changes and Urban Policies: Conflicting Realities in La Paz, Bolivia and Quito, Ecuador' Planning and Environmental Management (November 2015) (Main Supervisor; Caroline Moser Co-supervisor)
  • Jessica Roccard, ‘The Challenges of Integrating Disaster Risk Management (DRM), Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Autonomous Strategies in Low-Income Urban Areas: A Case Study of Douala, Cameroon’ Planning and Environmental Management, (October 2014) (Main Supervisor, Graham Haughton Co-supervisor).
  • Oyan Solana, ‘Social Housing and Low-Density Growth: The Urban Predicament in Mexico', Planning and Environmental Management (November 2013) (Michael Hebbert Main supervisor, Alfredo Stein Co-supervisor).


  • Urban development planning in cities of the global South: an international perspective (convenor)
  • Best practice case studies in urban development planning in cities in the South (convenor)
  • Climate change, disasters and urban poverty (contributor)
  • Co-Director, MSc Global Urban Development and Planning

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Engineering, Lund University

1 Sept 200410 Jun 2010

Award Date: 10 Jun 2010

Master in Science, Urban Development Planning, University College London (UCL)

Oct 1987Sept 1988

Award Date: 31 Oct 1988

External positions

Invited Lecturer for Refresh Course to Urban Planners and Architects, Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey

15 Jan 202419 Jan 2024

Invited Lecturer for Refresh Course to Urban Planners and Academics, Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey

23 Jan 202327 Jan 2023

Invited Lecturer PhD Programme in Human Development, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (National University of Honduras)

2011 → …

International Collaborator, Universidad de Chile

Areas of expertise

  • JS Local government Municipal government
  • urban transformation
  • development planning
  • climate change adaptation
  • F1201 Latin America (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute


  • urban development
  • civil society
  • planning


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