Professor Ramin Keivani

Head of School of the Built Environment

School of the Built Environment


I am an urban development specialist with a particular interest on the interface of economic globalisation, development of land markets and urban growth and their impact on urban equity, particularly in relation to urban land policy and low income housing delivery in the global South and transition economies. My most recent work focuses on urban social sustainability. I have also worked on other projects on housing delivery in UK and healthy urban mobility.  

After completing my PhD at University College London I worked for a period of time in the Middle East on urban development and planning in a number of cities in Iran before returning to the UK in 1997 to pursue my academic career. I taught at UCL and London South Bank universities before joining Brookes in 2003 to lead research and teach in the then Department of Real Estate and Construction and its successor School of the Built Environment. I also led the Real Estate and Land Policy research group of Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development between 2007-2019.

I am on the steering committee of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign and the Global Network for Sustainable Housing. I am also the Founding Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development.

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

I have taught at different levels (UG, PG and PhD) since I started my academic career in 1997. These are outlined below:

  • Member of Programme Development Team for the MSc Infrastructure and Sustainable Development - OBU
  • Module Development and Leader for Governance and Political Economy on MSc Infrastructure and Sustainable Development - OBU
  • Module Development and Leader for Applied Research Methods and Dissertations on MSc Project Management in the Built Environment and previously for Real Estate Management and International Real Estate - OBU
  • Module Development and Leader for Applied Research Methods on BSc Real Estate Management - OBU
  • Contributing to the Research Methods course for PhD students - OBU
  • Module Development and Leader for Development Studies modules, Years 1, 2 and 3 on the Human Geography BSc (Hons) course - LSBU
  • Comparative international housing conditions and policy on the MSc Housing course


PhD completed:

  • 2017 – Erick Omena de Melo  – Omena de Melo, E (2017) Exerting state power in core and semi-peripheral countries: land clearance and domination strategies in London, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg – Oxford Brookes University
  • 2017 - Turki Shoaib – The impact of globalization on urban development in Saudi Arabia – Place promotion in new economic cities – Oxford Brookes University
  • 2016 - Zaharadeen Al-Khaleel – The use of off-site construction methods for low income housing in developing countries – the case of Nigeria – Oxford Brookes University
  • 2012 - Leyon Nanayakkara – Impact of site plans on productivity in public sector construction projects in Sri Lanka.- Oxford Brookes University
  • 2012 - Xu Yunqing - Property-led urban development in China’s transition to market economy – Oxford Brookes University
  • 2011 – Austin Ngombe – Modernisation of land tenure in Zambia: Focus on privatisation of customary land rights. – Oxford Brookes University
  • 2010 - Lei Zhou - Achieving Sustainable Development through the Private Finance Initiative Procurement Process – Oxford Brookes University
  • 2004 - James O’Brien - The effect of environmental legislation and policy upon the business community of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE and the potential contribution of ecological modernisation theory to the development of sustainable environmental, economic and trade policies at Emirate and national level – London South Bank University

Currently supervising three PhD research scholars at Brookes

  • Juliet Sakyi-Ansah – BIM based capacity building for sustainable housing  upgrading in informal settlement
  • Ifonima Essien - The impact of environmental influences on private sector housing development: the case of Lagos, Nigeria
  • Yuanze Gao -  Affordable and social housing in the context of urbanisation in  China: case studies in Beijing, Xi'an and Urumqi

PhD Examination

I have also been external and internal examiner for 13 PhDs in different universities including UCL, Heriot Watt, Asian Institute of Technology and University of Cape Town.

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Tobias Vokuhl Built back better? Exploring end-user perceptions of Economic, Symbolic, Cultural and Social capitals gained or lost in Nepal Government grant qualifying post-earthquake reconstruction housing. Active


I have a strong research track record in international comparative urban research producing over 50 publications including papers in premier international journals and 4 research books. My projects have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), European Union, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, University of Oxford, British Council, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations University, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Government of Iran and Government of Sharjah. As part of these activities I have worked on land, housing and urban development challenges in many locations around the world including the UK, Central/Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Brazil, China, Africa and Asia Pacific.  I have also acted as a consultant on the Urban Upgrading and Housing Reform Programme (UUHRP) in Iran advising on the City Development Strategies (CDS) component of the work for the then Ministry of Housing and the World Bank.

Overall I have generated circa £1,124,000 external research income (£1.5 million FEC) and circa £12,000 from CPD and workshop activities for external clients. In addition to date I have produced 56 research publications including 35 papers in international journals, 4 research books, 11 book chapters and 6 major reports.

Research grants and awards

  • 2019-2021       ESRC (£50,000)- Enhancing housing affordability and social care in Japan and UK - comparative evaluation of policy and practice. Co-Investigator.
  • 2019               Brookes Global Challenges Collaborative Research Awards (£12,286) -  Research Network: Nexus of Housing and Labour Markets in Southern Africa. Co-Investigator.
  • 2018-2021       EU Horizon 2020 Programme- Marie Curie Global Fellowship (£233,153)  (Un)Just Neighbourhoods: Socio-Spatial Justice in Urban Neighbourhoods -  Scientist in Charge.
  • 2016-2019       ESRC Urban Transformations Programme (£329,653) -  BRAZIL-UK Healthy Urban Mobility (HUM).  Co-Investigator.
  • 2015-2016       Santander (£2000) – Follow up on the Olympics Legacies project in Rio de Janeiro. Joint Principal Investigator.
  • 2014-2016       EU Framework 7 Marie Curie Fellowship (£229,063)  The contribution of compact neighbourhoods to social sustainability in London and Berlin - Scientist in Charge.
  • 2013-2014       Joseph Rowntree Foundation (£74,000) – Planning Obligations: what factors deliver affordable homes and what alternatives are there? Co-Investigator.
  • 2013-2014       RICS (£7,500) – More doesn’t mean better: inefficiencies in China’s affordable and social housing sector. Co-Investigator.
  • 2012-2013       Brookes Central Research Fund – Globalisation and local economic development in Rio de Janeiro. Joint Principal Investigator.
  • 2011-2012       Santander (£5,000)  - The Olympics Legacies in London and Rio de Janeiro. Joint Principal Investigator.
  • 2010-2011       Future of Cities Programme, University of Oxford (£47,000) – Research Network: Globalisation, climate change and urban governance: balancing the scales for both efficient and pro-poor urban futures – The case of Brazil and UK. Principal Investigator.
  • 2009-2011       The British Council (£44,000) - Cityform-India. Co-Investigator.
  • 2007-2008       International Labour Organisation (£5,000) – Creation of green jobs through sustainable refurbishment in developing countries. Principal Investigator.
  • 2005 – 2006    World Bank (£2,000 personal consultancy) - Advisor on the Urban Upgrading and Housing Reform Programme in Iran – Initial feasibility study on City Development Strategies.
  • 2004-2006      RICS (£54,000) - The role of property markets in supporting economic and social development in China. Joint Principal Investigator.
  • 2001-2002      RICS-Research Foundation/NUS/Government of Sharjah (£50,000) - Emerging Global Cities: a comparison of Singapore and cities of UAE. Co-Investigator.
  • 1999-2000      ESRC, R000222786, (£40,000) -  Globalisation of Real Estate Markets and Urban Development in Central Europe. Co-Investigator.
  • 1997-1998     Inter-American Development Bank/FINEP(through University of Sao Paulo) (£4,000) - Modes of Housing Provision in Sao Paulo. Co-Investigator.



Projects as Co-investigator

  • UK-South Korea Ageing in Place Research Network(01/02/2022 - 29/02/2024), funded by: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £50,405, funded by: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Member of steering group of UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign (WUC)
  • Member of steering group of the Global Network for sustainable Housing (GNSH)
  • Member of ESRC Peer Review College including Urban Transformations and GCRF programmes
  • Member of UK Research and Innovation Peer Review College – Future Leaders Fellowship Programme
  • Member of Scientific Committee of the Silk Cities International Conference, July 2017, University College London
  • Member of Scientific Committee for the International Conference on Urban Change in Iran, November 2012, University College London


  • Session chair (2018) at Cities-IPCC Conference, Edmonton, Canada
  • Invited talk (2018) at World Urban Forum 9, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Invited talk and panel member (2016) at the Habitat III global conference Quito, Ecuador
  • Invited talk (2016) International Land Policy and Urban Development, The Institute of Spatial & Environmental Planning's seminar series, Queens University, Belfast
  • Invited talk (2015) A historical review of housing policy development in the Global South: Successes, failures and future prospects, Cities Research Group Seminar Series, Kings College London
  • Invited talk (2015) Iran Nuclear deal – Implications for global integration of cities in the regionSilk Cities Workshop, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit 
  • Invited talk (2012) The potential for a cross-border growth corridor between Iran and the UAE, International conference on Urban Change in Iran, UCL
  • Invited talk (2012) Going global and the scope for pro-poor urban development, Conference on Port Cities as Hotspots of Creative and Sustainable Local Development at University of Naples – Federico II
  • Invited talk (2012) Geographies of insecurity or geographies of opportunity? Urban Labour Network, World Urban Forum, Naples
  • Moderator (2012) Workshop on Urban resilience: learning from experience and moving towards a more common understanding, World Urban Forum, Naples
  • Invited talk (2011) E-Forum: an effective tool for long distance research collaboration? to the Global Meeting of the UN-Habitat Partner University Initiative
  • Invited lecture (2011) Economic globalisation and urban development at GAU – The American University, Cyprus
  • Invited lecture (2010) Globalisation, urban form and sustainability at University of Naples – Federico II
  • Expert talk (2008) Housing provision in developing countries - Private Sector Consultation Meeting at the World Urban Forum IV, Nanjing China
  • Invited talk (2008) Green jobs and construction industry at the World Urban Forum IV, Nanjing China
  • Invited talk (2008) Green Jobs for Asia and Pacific – The Role of Green Refurbishment, ILO Research Conference, Niigata Japan
  • Key note talk (2008) Globalisation and urban competitiveness in the cities of developing countries: Challenges and opportunities for municipal authorities, Tehran Municipality conference on Municipal Finance
  • Invited contribution (2007) ESRC-British library workshop on research resources for social scientists working on globalisation
  • Invited key note (2003) - Institution of Surveyors, Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur


  • Reviewed professorial applications for University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and University of Lagos
  • Reviewer of funding applications for ESRC, European Union, the Wellcome Trust and the National Research Foundation of South Africa
  • External Examiner (2009-2014) MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL
  • Chair of Best Paper Award Committee Sharjah Urban Planning Symposium between 1997-2003

Further details

  • Dean’s award for outstanding contribution to research in 2005
  • Jorge Hardoy Honuorable Mention Paper, 2000:
    • Keivani, R and Werna, E (2001)  Refocusing the housing debate in developing countries from a pluralist perspective, Habitat International, 25(2), pp191-208
  • Paper selected for submission to the AESOP 2002 competition by CITIES:
    • Keivani, R; Parsa, A and McGreal, S (2002) Institutions and urban change in a globalising world: the case of Warsaw, CITIES, 19(3), pp183-193

My papers have also been used as part of reading list for courses in a number of leading universities including:

  • Foundations of Sustainable Development Practice, Sustainable Cities, Columbia University.
  • Transforming Cities in Emerging Economies, Urban Planning and Design Programme, University of Harvard.
  • 7,796 - Urbanisation in Developing Countries, University of St Gallen.
  • MIT report for the Rockefeller Foundation on curriculum development for the Indian Institute for Human Settlement
  • UR30, Regeneration Module, Institute of Urban Planning, University of Nottingham
  • UP 219,  Housing in Developing Countries, Department of Planning, UCLA
  • Geography 21700/31700, Geography, The University of Chicago
  • PLAN 7614, Urban Management and Governance in Developing Countries, The University of Queensland
  • GEO475A, Geography, Miami University
  • ENVSG J11, Housing Module, DPU, UCL