Urban Inequality & Poverty Collaborative


Ananya Roy, Director, is Professor of City & Regional Planning, Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty & Practice, and Education Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies.

Emma Shaw Crane, Academic Coordinator, is a former Fulbright Fellow to the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, a Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize grantee to Guatemala and Honduras, and a former Global Poverty & Practice Research Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.


Indian Institute for Human Settlements ; Center for South Asia Studies , University of California, Berkeley ; Development Impact Lab , Blum Center for Developing Economies , University of California, Berkeley.

Project Description

Housed in the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD), the Urban Inequality & Poverty Collaborative seeks to develop critical analyses and innovative pedagogy concerned with contemporary processes of urban inequality and poverty in the global South. With special emphasis on Brazil, India, and South Africa, it intends to forge research and teaching partnerships with key academic and policy institutions located in these countries.

The start of the 21st century is marked by a new world order of prosperity and poverty.  In the ascendant economies of the global South, notably the BRICS, economic growth seems to be fast and furious.  Yet, it is in these middle-income countries that poverty is now concentrated, creating what has been called a new geography of global poverty.  There is also a new global architecture of development in the making.  No longer dominated by the Bretton Woods institutions, discourses, models, and practices of development are increasingly generated, and inter-referenced, by governments in an interconnected global South.  In this context, the Urban Inequality & Poverty Collaborative seeks to examine how urban poverty is governed as a social problem. From social protection paradigms to right to the city policies to slum legalization programs it will document, analyze, and compare such interventions.  In doing so, it will also take stock of how social movements, especially poor people’s movements, are pushing and reshaping these agendas of urban politics and governance. While there is a powerful optimism afoot about cities and their triumphs, the Collaborative will undertake a more deliberate analysis of the possibilities of social justice at the urban scale in a highly unequal world.

In its first year, the Collaborative will launch two main initiatives.  First, in June of 2014, we convened a founding workshop to craft and consolidate a core intellectual agenda and guiding principles for the Collaborative. Organized around the theme of the “Urban Welfare State,” the workshop brought together a multidisciplinary group of distinguished scholars who work at the intersection of theory, policy, and practice. Participants included Gianpaolo Baiocchi (New York University), Gautam Bhan (Indian Institute for Human Settlements), Teresa Caldeira (UC Berkeley), Partha Chatterjee (Columbia University), James Ferguson (Stanford University), Vinay Gidwani (University of Minnesota), Maxine Molyneux (University College London), and Richard Pithouse (Rhodes University).

Second, building on the workshop, the Collaborative will conceptualize and implement a pedagogical format that will allow faculty and graduate students at UC Berkeley to engage with the issues and processes outlined above in partnership with faculty and graduate students in the global South.  The first such collaboration will be with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, a national education institution committed to equitable and sustainable transformation of Indian settlements. In doing so, the Collaborative hopes to become a generative space for transformative pedagogy and a platform for training and inspiring the next generation of urban scholars, practitioners, and activists to be keenly attentive to poverty and inequality.