Alice Sverdlik


Personal profile


I am an interdisciplinary urban researcher, with a strong commitment to developing and sustaining equitable partnerships in the Global South. Key interests include urban health; shelter and infrastructure in informal settlements; climate adaptation; gender; and informal livelihoods. My postgraduate training is in city planning (Berkeley), social policy (LSE), and urban economic development (UCL). For many years, I've been lucky to work closely with Slum Dwellers International (SDI) in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and with other bottom-up organisations of informal workers and residents in Zimbabwe and South Asia.

Currently, I am contributing to University of Manchester's African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) with an array of civil society and academic partners in Nairobi. I am also Co-Investigator for an NIHR-funded Global Health Research Group on occupational health and climate change-related risks for informal workers in India and Zimbabwe. Alongside partners in East Africa, I have explored COVID-19 responses with a focus on bottom-up action in urban areas. 

Other recent projects include analysing shelter in Nairobi (East Africa Research Fund); access to healthcare and infrastructure for refugees in Nairobi and Kampala (British Academy); and grassroots understanding of risk and resilience in Dar es Salaam (British Academy). I previously worked as a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), where I produced policy-related outputs including for UCLG, UN-Habitat, and C40. 

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, City and Regional Planning , University of California, Berkeley

20 Aug 201115 May 2017

Award Date: 15 May 2017

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

30 Sept 20091 Oct 2010

Award Date: 1 Oct 2010

Master in Science, Social Policy Research, London School of Economics & Political Science (University of London)

1 Sept 200815 Aug 2009

Award Date: 1 Oct 2009

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Global Development Institute


  • urban development
  • Urban health, global inequalities
  • Social Policy
  • Informality
  • climate change adaptation
  • gender


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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