The Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Urmi Sengupta

General Profile Information
Staff Name Dr Urmi Sengupta
Job Title Lecturer
Location David Keir Building David Keir
Room Number 03.036
School School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Contact Details
Telephone +44 (0)28 9097 4486




Module co-ordinator for:

- EVP 2003: Urban Space and Form

- EVP 2007: Site Layout and Desig


Contributor to:

- EVP 1012: Spaces, Places and Plans

- EVP  8020: Design and Regeneration

- EVP 3014: Themes in Spatial Planning


Urmi is trained as an architect (B.Arch., School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi) and urban planner (M.Sc. Urban Planning, University of Hong Kong as an Asian Development Bank fellow). She completed her Ph.D. from the Newcastle University, UK. She has received Hong Kong Institute of Planners award for her work on 'Squatters in Kathmandu'. Her PhD  evaluated the public sector housing in India ( Kolkata) using a set of housing indicators. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching from Queen's University, Belfast. She worked as an architect and physical planner before switching to academia. Before joining Queen's, she was a researcher in the School of Built Environment, University of Ulster. Over the years she has extensively contributed in the study of housing, informal settlements and urban development process in different cities in South Asia.

TitleBook TitleYear
Affordability and Architecture of housing development inIndia:Selling dreams or all that is real? Housing and the Urban Poor-stakeholders, Planning, sustainability 2013
Urban Development and Social Capital: Lessons from a Squatter Resettlement in Kathmandu Urban Social Capital: Civil Society and City Life 2012
A Divided City: Squatters' Struggles for Urban Space in Kathmandu Urban Navigations: Politics, Space, and the City in South Asia 2010
TitleJournal NameYear
Inclusive development? State-led land development model in New Town, Kolkata Environment and Planning C Vol April issue  2013
The Housing Triangulation: A discourse on Quality, Affordability and Lifestyles in India Open House International Vol 36 (3) (16-26)  2011
Editorial- Changing paradigms in Affordable Housing, Quality and Lifestyle Theories ( with A Salama) Open House International Vol 36 (3) (16-26)  2011
The Hindered Self-Help: Housing Policies, Politics And Poverty In Kolkata, India Habitat International Vol 34 (323-331)  2010
‘No longer Sukumbasis: Challenges in grassroots-led squatter resettlement program in Kathmandu, Nepal Habitat International Vol 33 (33-44)  2009
Performance of public sector housing in Kolkatta in the post reform milieu Urban Studies Vol 44 (2009-2027)  2007
Housing Reform in Kolkata: Changes and Challenges Housing Studies Vol 22 (965-979)  2007
The Challenge of Squatter Settlements in Kathmandu International Development Planning Review Vol 28 (105-126)  2006
Liberalisation and the privatisation and of public rental housing in Kolkata Cities Vol 23 (269-278)  2006
Government intervention in public private partnership in housing in Kolkata Habitat International Vol 30 (448-461)  2006
State’s Role in popular housing programs in Shanghai: From Enabler to Provider to Facilitator? Forum Vol 6 (52-57)  2004
Conference Contribution(s)
‘Role of studio teaching in planning curriculum- the UK context’ 2010
An analysis of trends in the Northern Ireland housing market 2008
'No more Sukumbasis: Relocation of squatters in Kathmandu with a special reference to Kirtipur Housing Project' 2007
‘A reflection on conducting fieldwork in Developing countries: Lessons from India' 2006
‘Public housing reforms in Kolkata: Past policies and current reforms' 2005
'Public private partnership in Kolkata: A commentary' 2004
‘A conflicting discourse: Dinking water supply for squatters in Kathmandu' 2003
‘Recent Changes in Urban Sector Public Housing Policies: Paradigms and Paradoxes' 2002
Other Output(s)
TitlePublication TypeYear
Performance of the Private Rental Market: Belfast Metropolitan Area July -Dec 2008 Report for external body 2009
'Housing reform in Kolkata: A zero-sum situation?', Winning essay International Essay Competition and selected for presentation Urban Planet: Collective Identities, Governance and Empowerment in Megacities Workshop organized by the Irmgard Coninx Foundation and the Social Science Research Center Berlin Scholarly edition 2008
Performance of the Private Rental Market: Belfast Metropolitan Area 2007 Report for external body 2008
Performance of the Private Rental Market: Belfast Metropolitan Area Jan -Jun 2008 Report for external body 2008
‘Government Intervention and land market in New Town, Kolkata: Emerging lessons for policymakers’, Urban Research Symposium on Urban Land use land markets, World Bank , Washington DC Scholarly edition 2007

Research Statement

Urmi has an interdisciplinary background in architecture, planning and housing studies. Her research interest/involvement ranges from studying the squatter/slum settlements in globalising south (informal economy, space and temporary housing) to housing and land markets in UK and elsewhere (part of the formal economy, urban space and housing/real estate). These spectrums though miles apart, belong to the same urban world and contribute to both local and world image and spatial characteristics. She believes  planning and development is not only a geographically interconnected phenomenon but it also encompasses spatial planning, place making, urban design, political economy, housing markets, affordability, real estate  and  urban development.

Professional Qualifications

Since 2000 my work has focused on broad area of land and housing studies in South Asia. The research has taken several interrelated sub-forms such as public housing, squatter housing, public private partnership and state-led land development, use of urban indicators for performance evaluation. My research papers have been widely cited in different academic syllabus (For instance, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva) and national (Government of Nepal) and United Nations publications; and discussed in blogs. Recognition to the impact of my research in wider policy formulation came as an invitation from UNHabitat to join their Urban Development panel of experts for developing countries and subsequently, invitation for contribution in the special issue of Habitat International on Self-Help Housing. The special issue was launched in the World Urban Forum, 2010 in Rio.
I am also a consultant adviser in Bievenue research Centre- a non governmental research body based in Kathmandu ( established in 1983)

Selected citation list:

Housing for all in Kolkata - promises, promises;

UNHabitat, 2011, Nepal Urban Housing Sector Profile 2011, UNHabitat, Nairobi

UNHabitat, 2011, Affordable Land and Housing in Asia Volume 2, UNHabitat, Nairobi

Tibaijuka, Anna K, 2009, Building prosperity: the centrality of housing in economic development, UNHabitat

Government of Nepal, 2010, Safer and Affordable Housing for Urban Poor: A case for Kathmandu Valley, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu.