"I completed my first degree at Manchester University with joint honours in economics and sociology. After working as a public sector economist with the Forestry Commision (1983-6) and the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (1986-8), I completed a MSc in Economics at Birkbeck College (University of London). I joined the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London in 1989 to work in a multi-disciplinary team working within the Human Settlements Programme. Development has remained the major focus on my work since that date with a particular interest in issues related to towns and cities in the Global South. In 1996, I worked part time for the London School of Economics to set up a Masters in NGO Management. In 1999-2000, I worked with the People’s Dialogue on Land and Shelter in South Africa. From 2001, I have worked part-time at IDPM, whilst continuing with a senior research post at IIED. I have served as director and chair of the UK Charity Homeless International, and have also been a trustee for Practical Action (formerly Intermediate Technology Development Group). I am currently serving on the Programme and Policy Committee of WaterAid...
"I have been commissioned by UN-Habitat to prepare background papers for their 2005 Global Resport on Human Settlements which had a special focus on shelter finance, and more recently (2007) by the Rockefeller Foundation to write the background paper on shelter finance for their Urban Summit at which shelter finance was the lead topic.
"The two themes of urban development and civil society have recently come together through an extension of the work on urban social movements for the Chronic Poverty Research Centre. In July 2007, together with Tony Bebbington, I began work on an ESRC/DFID research project entitled Social Movements and Poverty; this project includes country studies in Peru and South Africa with the dual purpose of mapping the social movement sector and understanding the strategies that social movements use to advance their claims, needs and interests."