Dr Beacon Mbiba


Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning and International Development

School of the Built Environment


Before joining Oxford Brookes University, Mbiba was Lecturer in Urban Development Policy in the Department of Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Mbiba is a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). He has previously taught at the University of Zimbabwe, Development Planning Unit (DPU) University College London, Birkbeck College, London and The University of Reading.

Mbiba has also worked in various Urban Development Policy and Management roles in Africa and the United Kingdom. He teaches core MSc modules (i) Urban Land Policy and Urban Management and (ii) Urban Planning and Policy in Practice and manages the MSc Planning in Developing and Transitional Regions programme.

Areas of expertise

  • Urban and peri-urban transformations management and policy
  • Land develpment analysis policy
  • Infrastructure development 
  • Diaspora, migration and development policy.
  • Evaluation and monitoring of development

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Applied Research Methods
  • Infrastructure Finance and Planning
  • Dissertations
  • Development in Practice


Currently supervising four candidates, each working on projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, and Mozambique respectively.

Recent PhD completions:

  • Dr Sarah Abdelbaki Mahmoud Hamza, “Renewable energy transitions in developing countries: towards an integrated model of providing energy in low income housing in Egypt”
  • Dr Lukman Ahmed LAWAL, “Human security in a post-conflict livelihoods change context: case of Buni-Yadi, Northeast Nigeria”.
  • Dr Arthur Munyua MWAURA  “Mediating Conflicting Planning Rationalities: Collaborative Approaches in Low Income Neighbourhoods in Nairobi, Kenya”.
  • Dr Afua-Adu  BOATENG   “Determinants of the Adoption of Climate Change Policies in Urban Africa”


Mbiba has research interests in land conflicts, identity, urban and peri-urban transformations, infrastructure planning and global citizenship in the UK and Africa. He has written and contributed to development policy work on access to land and justice for the poor, productive and inclusive African cities and a leading expert on urban agriculture (visit RUAF Foundation at www.ruaf.org) urban governance, urban housing, rural-urban linkages and poverty alleviation.

In 2008 he was appointed to the five member International Jury for the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP) see details of DIABP - detail available On-Line: www.dubaiaward.ae. Recently, he was appointed international consultant (2009-2010) to assess implementation of Results Based Management in UN-HABITAT with specific reference to "the organization's Medium Term Strategic and Institutional Plan (MTSIP)".

Mbiba is a member of several international research networks and contributes to community for example as:

  • Board Member, Editorial Board of Africanus: Journal of Development Studies, published at UNISA, South Africa (appointed 2009)
  • Board Member and Trustee, Cannon Collins Trust – Education for Southern Africa (from 2009) for activities of the trust see www.canoncollins.org  (to 2019)
  • Board Member, Hyde Housing Association, London and South East Customer Services Board (from 2002 to 2012) – for activities of Hyde Housing, see www.hyde-housing.co.uk
  • A member of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Focus Group the linchpin for development policy dialogue between the Zimbabwean Diaspora, the Zimbabwean government and HMG United Kingdom.

Research projects

Examples of recent projects

  • Influencing processes and content of global policies
  • Was Expert evaluator for the Czech-Norwegian Research Programme, The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (April – June 2014).
  • Was expert Evaluator for Polish-Norwegian Research Programme, The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), (http://www.ncbir.pl/en/norwaygrants/) (December 2012 – April 2013)
  • Was appointed Expert Evaluator for the European Commission Research and Innovation Directorate, Covent Garden, Brussels in relation to the Seventh Framework Programme, Social Sciences and Humanities (March – June 2012)
  • Was Expert Evaluator for the European Commission Research and Innovation Directorate, Covent Garden, Brussels in relation to the Seventh Framework Programme, Social Sciences and Humanities (March – June 2011)
  • Consultant to The African Development Bank (Tunisia) to prepare a report titled 'Financing Urban Development in Africa', 18th November 2010 – 27th January 2011.
  • Was appointed Rapporteur on 'Migration and Development: What Links Exist Between the European Policies and the Civil Society's Practices?' for The European Network on Migrations and Development (EUNOMAD) and Association for Regional Economic Development (ADER), Paris; 1st - 30th November 2010, www.eunomad.org
  • Contracted by UN-HABITAT as regional consultant to 'analyze the role of urban growth, urban economies, social development, urban housing, and land conditions in Southern African cities' and drafted the Southern Africa section of the report: 'The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, Inequality and Land Markets' - report launched November 2010, see www.unhabitat.org
  • Contracted by United Nations (HABITAT), to produce background document 'The State of Cities in Southern Africa' for the UN-HABITAT State of African Cities Report 2008/2009 launched at the World Urban Forum, November 2008
  • In 2006 he was consultant to UN International Labour Office, Geneva (ILO) on the role of local authorities in promoting decent work in the construction sector and related services
  • In 2004-2005 Mbiba worked as Policy Research Analyst and Outreach Executive for The Secretariat to the Commission for Africa (CFA). Set up in early 2004 by then UK Prime Minister Hon. Tony Blair, the CFA presented its report in March 2005 and completed its work in July 2005 (for details of report, visit www.commissionforafrica.info)
  • Research projects completed since 2000 include those on access to land for the urban poor in East and Southern Africa funded by IDRC Canada (US$380,000.00); Urban and Peri-Urban Transformations in Africa supported by the British Academy, UK (£20,000.00); Formalization of Urban Markets and Trading (covering Kenya, Ghana and Senegal) funded by Department for International Development (DFID), UK (£190,000.00)
  • Since 1990 he has acted as consultant on impact studies and project evaluations for mining companies and international development organisations and was co-author of the Zimbabwe National Report and Plan of Action on Human Settlements presented at HABITAT II, Istanbul, June, 1996. He completed action oriented research projects as key member of research networks such as the Association of Rural and Urban Planners in East and Southern Africa (RUPSEA), the Swedish funded Gender Research on Urbanization, Housing Planning and Everyday Life in East and Southern Africa (GRUPHEL), and the Mazingira (Nairobi) based African Research Network for Urban Management (ARNUM)
  • Mbiba is Coordinator of Peri-NET (The Urban and Peri-Urban Research Network, Africa).

Research impact



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Professional Membership and Corporate

  • Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, RTPI (Corporate Member)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK)
  • Trustee of the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust of Southern Africa (CCELAT)
  • Director, Shinfield Park Estate Management Company 
  • DFID/ICED Senior Advisor on Zimbabwe - Infrastructure Cities and Econmic Development (ICED)

External Examnier

  • External Examiner, Urban Studies, University of Glasgow, School of Social and Political Sciences (2015 -2018)
  • External Examiner, Rural and Urban Development, Great Zimbabwe University, School of Social Sciences (2014 - 2018)

Recent Appointments as PhD External Examiner

Examined higher degrees (PhD) as external examiner at:

  • University of The Free State, South Africa, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (2020) Candidate 2007063261.
  •  University of Cape Town, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences (2019) Candidate TRRPER001
  • University of The Free State, South Africa, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, (2019) Candidate:  2014154716.
  • Royal Holloway University, Department of Politics and International Relations and Politics (December 2017).
  • University of Salford, School of the Built Environment, Candidate: 00401972,  (Nov. 2017)
  • University of Johannesburg, Social Change Research Unit, (2016) Candidate 920415978.
  • London South Bank University, Department of Social Sciences, (2015) Candidate UREC 1368.
  • University of South Africa, Pretoria, (UNISA), Department of Geography, (2014) PhD Candidate, 7355092.
  • Neslon Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa, Department of Geography (2013) PhD Candidate 208093692
  • University College London (UCL), PhD candidate in the Development Planning Unit, Viva held 14th December 2009. Candidate 39051974
  • University of Oxford, Master of Legal Studies Research, Candidate at Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, VIVA held 25th September 2009
  • University of Sheffield, PhD candidate in the Department of Town and Regional Planning, VIVA held, 23rd April, 2009. Candidate 030180130
  • University of Wales, Swansea (2007/8) – PhD candidate at the Centre for Development Studies School of the Environment & Society. VIVA held February 2008. Candidate 296270

Further details

Africa Research Institute - Undertanding Urban Africa Today